GTG's Marissa Montgomery checks out the latest way to get nimble in the Big Apple with SLT

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They had me at Strengthen, Lengthen and Tone – isn’t that all we ever ask from gym classes and personal trainers?

I went to SLT’s megaformer class, which is described by some as ‘Pilates on crack’ - sounds totally terrifying yet fabulous at the same time. If Alessandra Ambrosio is doing it then I want in on the action. Its studio is situated in the heart of Soho in a bright airy venue with fabulous views of NYC’s rooftops and water towers. I was lucky enough to take a class at sunset, which made it all the more breathtaking.

I have been taking Pilates for the past five years so didn’t really think SLT would be too much for me to handle. However, I had heard a rumour that one of the instructors from Barry’s Bootcamp had come in for a class and almost cracked halfway through.

I chose my reformer -  they are all lined up in one row. We started with a series of slow killer moves and I felt like I was using muscles I had never ever felt before; it was nothing like regular relaxing Pilates, this was an intense burn. Planking, squatting and lunging on the megaformer for just minutes at a time felt like eternity.

The teachers are amazing; I was lucky enough to try three different instructors and all were incredible at making sure my technique was in line and giving encouragement along the way.

I instantly felt a difference after the first class - everything just felt tighter. I noticed after incorporating it into my exercise regime that it made a significant difference to problem areas like my tummy, thighs and arms.

There’s no gimmicks; it’s you doing all the hard work and it’s tough but truly rewarding. If you are in a fix and need to tone up for something I would definitely recommend a few classes to whip you into shape.

I caught up with owner Amanda Freeman and quizzed her in-between lunges...

How did you start in fitness?

My first foray into the fitness space was via the broader wellness space.  I had been working as a consumer insights consultant and trend forecaster for many years and we had started talking about the emergence of a more well-conscious consumer - someone who prioritises wellness as a part of their lifestyle. I didn't think this consumer had a resource for getting the information they wanted in a way they wanted, so a friend and I started Vital Juice.  Vital Juice was the first daily email devoted to delivery the latest and greatest information in the areas of fitness, nutrition, beauty and wellness to the inboxes of well-conscious women.

I was particularly interested in the fitness coverage we did and was drawn to a workout that I felt was missing in the NYC market, so I created SLT.  I brought the Megaformer to New Yorkers who I thought would appreciate a workout that is best described as Pilates on crack!

What are the key benefits you notice personally from SLT?

I am truly personally addicted to the SLT workout.  I love the results it gives me; a strengthened, lengthened and toned body (thus the name).  I like that it's efficient - only 50 minutes and you get a full body workout - and effective - I can feel and see it working pretty instantly. I appreciate that the workout doesn't create bulky muscles.

You've just opened in the Hamptons, how is it being received?

Our new SLT studio in the Hamptons is in Water Mill.  It's nice and bright and airy and convenient to many folks who live or visit everywhere from Southampton - Montauk.  We've had a great welcome out there with full classes and a great buzz.  We've been featured in most of the local press and are thrilled to be so busy so soon.

What makes SLT so unique?

SLT is a unique combination of Pilates, cardio and strength training that leaves nearly every muscle fatigued.  The fun music, group vibe and fast-pace transitions from move to move help to get your heart rate up and the sweat going.  The long, lean results are possible due to slow movements that work the slow twitch muscle fibers, rather than the fast twitch muscle fibers that lead to bulking.

What's your favourite SLT move?

I love how well the Megaformer (the machine we use for SLT classes) works the obliques.  My favourite move is called French Twist... it really zones in on the side of your waist and creates a toned look.

How do you keep balance in NYC?

When you run a business that is open 365 days a year and long hours, it's hard to truly feel balanced.  I am very low maintenance when it comes to beauty and am probably getting too old to go out of the house without make-up and undone hair. I am not too strict with my diet, but I actually enjoy healthy foods much of the time. When I'm not taking classes at SLT, I like to workout outside - walking, running, paddleboarding or tennis.

What makes an SLT Pilates instructor different from all the rest?

Our instructors are amazing, the best around in my opinion!  They are charismatic, creative, fun, knowledgeable and talented DJs.  They are both motivating and meticulous when it comes to form and safety.