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Last week, in a fit of misguided exercise bravado, we agreed to try out SLT—a.k.a. Strength, Length, and Tone—the latest exercise craze to cross the country from Los Angeles, opening its first New York City studio in midtown a few weeks back. We should have known we were in trouble the minute we walked into class—everyone else, all four other people in the room, were talking animatedly about how they're Tracy Anderson-devotees. Us, well, we're better versed at the walk-to-Momofuku-Milk-Bar-once-a-week school of fitness.
For a $20 first-class special price (regulars can book single class sessions for $40 or buy reduced-fee packages on the SLT website), you can sign up for group sessions (there are ten or less students per class).
The key piece of equipment in the SLT workout is the Megaformer, a large piece of machinery complete with sliding platform, front and back panels, pulleys, resistance bands, and moving panels that hide an undercarriage of resistance weights and springs that can be adjusted by the user mid-workout.
During the 50-minute class session—which is set to high-energy "heart-pumping" music—students (we) perched on, squatted with, knelt over, stood on, and lunged using this megaformer. Between the moves themselves—which are designed to give you a total-body, muscle-rankling workout melding ultra-effective classic Pilates techniques with cardio training—and the sliding platforms and adjustable resistance, we definitely got worked out to the point of muscle fatigue. We knew this when we had to stop for a second, about 40 minutes through, because our legs were shaking and we felt like we might vom—in the best possible way, of course.
Things we loved about the SLT Megaformer workout: It's not for beginners—you won't breeze through it—so we definitely feel like we got our money's worth. The Megaformer is kind of mindblowing; it's ultra-steady and super-smooth, which makes using it a fun novelty—like a giant gadget, and we love gadgets. Also, the super-small classes mean tons of personal attention from the instructor—we had Jamie Lugo, who was awesome—which is great, especially if you're a newbie and aren't totally sure if your form is right, etc. We also really liked that the SLT workout is non-aggressive—i.e. there wasn't any shouting, you got to move at your own pace, and we weren't sweating like animals five minutes in (even though we definitely felt it within the first five seconds).
Here's who we'd recommend it for: Gym bunnies who are looking for something new and super-effective; People who like Pilates but thrive in class formats that are a bit more upbeat; Busy men and women who don't have hours upon hours to work out, but can fit 50 minutes into their schedule; People who don't like schlepping stuff—all you need to do at SLT is show up in comfy clothes, sneakers aren't even required; Sadists (just kidding, just kidding). Warning: We hurt for many days afterwards (but then again, we are terribly unfit) but we did feel better for it.
· SLT NYC [Official Site]