Cary, NC — Two days before COVID-19 made its way into the U.S., sisters Rachel and Amy Stewart signed a lease to start up their own fitness business in Morrisville’s Park West Village.
After a long wait, the doors to Elite Core Studios opened on January 2, 2021.
Starting Up & Choosing Morrisville
Tired of her usual routine of gym, running, and weight lifting, Rachel was the first of the two sisters to take a class at a Lagree Fitness Studio in Manhattan Beach, California.
She signed up thinking it would be similar to pilates, but instead she found a 45-minute full-body workout that was all-encompassing of core work, cardio, muscle resistance, endurance, flexibility, strength training, and balance.
She loved it and soon encouraged Amy, an avid runner to give it a try. For Amy, it’s all about efficiency. She’s a busy mom and business owner and wants a “get in and get out” experience for her workouts.
“I saw a huge difference in my flexibly and increased muscle strength,” said Amy. “It is a full-body workout from head to toe. I never feel slighted.”
Fast forward a few years and a permanent move to North Carolina for Rachel, and the two began the process of planning their own studio under a licensing agreement with Lagree Fitness Studios. The search for a location took them nearly 6 months to find the right fit and feel at Park West.
Balancing a Business on Opposite Sides of the Country
Navigating through a pandemic and leaning on technology, Rachel and Amy have learned to divvy up the responsibilities of running a business while living 3,000 miles apart.
Living in California, Amy handles accounting and works remotely to interact with clients, trainers, and vendors while keeping a pulse on the studio’s advertising and social media. On the local front, Rachel manages the daily operations and leads classes as an instructor.
“We’re definitely learning to balance it and I’m able to stay connected to what’s going on in nearly real-time,” said Amy.
While far apart, the two sisters agree that their studio is about much more than a few exercise classes a day. A driving force for many of their clients is to make a positive choice for their wellbeing — mind, body, and spirit.
“When COVID hit, we realized that family and community are super important and health and fitness are super important,” said Rachel. “We want to bring awareness to health and physical fitness, but also mental fitness.”
An ‘Elite’ Method of Working Out
So what exactly is this “Lagree Method?” It is a form of exercise created by Sebastian Lagree of Los Angeles, California that’s making its way around the world.
The method is carried out on a machine called a Megaformer that can accommodate anyone from 4’11” to 7′ tall.
“Some people get very intimidated by the machines, but if you take two or three classes, you get to understand how it works and the mechanics of it. You will quickly get very comfortable making your own adjustments,” said Rachel.
At Elite Core Studios, there are 10 machines spread out to accommodate ample social distancing in the 2,100 square foot space.
Designed for all Ages & Levels
Since opening last month, Rachel has seen a range of clients from teenagers to folks in their 60s attend classes. This diversity of participants comes from a unique combination of intense, effective exercises with very low-impact movements, making it easy on joints and prior injuries.
Whether a beginner or a pro athlete, there is a spot for anyone to learn, grow and excel. Rachel said, “I’ve done this for five years and there’s never a plateau or getting stuck in a routine.”
To accommodate all skill levels, the machines have adjustable spring tension and variations can be made to each of the movements to lessen or heighten the intensity.
It’s All in the Slow Movements
One surprising element of this intense workout is that it is rooted in slow movements and a controlled pace. This is to ensure all muscles being used are truly engaged.
“You get stronger so fast. We have clients who start as beginners and don’t think they can do anything and within a month they’re so strong and they feel it and get super excited about it,” said Rachel.
Class Fees, Video Demonstrations Online
When it comes down to the decision of whether or not to give a Lagree workout a try, the Stewart sisters make it easy, offering a free first-time class to everyone.
“It’s a workout that’s hard to describe until you do it,” said Rachel.
“It’s intense but it’s fun and it’ll change your body faster than anything I’ve ever seen.”
Classes are offered daily from as early as 6 AM to evening classes at 6:30 PM, located at 3022 Village Market Place in Morrisville. To see all class pricing, seasonal offers, and videos showcasing the method, samples of workouts, and testimonials, visit the Elite Core Studios website.
Story by Ashley Kairis. Photos courtesy of Kairis and Elite Core Studios.
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