When you meet Sebastien Lagree, you quickly realize that he’s not just about sports or nutrition or his revolutionary Pilates machines. No, the man who invented the Lagree Method that slims down Hollywood's waistlines from Alessandra Amriosio to Sophia Vergera sees the fitness movement in a more intelligent way.
Tall, blond, handsome and well built, Sebastien left France for Hollywood at the age of 25. Going to auditions, he saw that he needed a Plan B. "I thought I was unique and different and would get an acting job in no time; but I’d walk into castings and there’d be twenty guys looking just like me," he recalls with a smile.
He was sleeping on friends' couches in West Hollywood, and after a month of living the life of the starving actor he started to notice something: "Every day, someone would come up to me and ask if I was personal trainer. I was always into fitness, lifting weights and reading everything to do with sports and nutrition, so one day I just said ‘yes’.” That was the turning point. "In the first week I had three clients, the second week six, and the third week nine." In no time he was a full-time coach, finding pleasure in a newfound profession that had always been part of his life. While renting a space in a Pilates studio, the owner approached him to become a instructor. "I was skeptical," he admits, "but a little later I watched my body transform and become stronger without lifting weights."
As his passion grew, he began experimenting and testing new machines and developing his own method. Today, he has several breakthrough reformers (a system of training that is efficient like none other) licensed to studios all over the world. "Movement is crucial for human beings. Sports aren’t just for slimming—they activate your brain, give you discipline and structure, hone your intelligence, and act as anti-depressants that provide peace of mind. For me, fitness is metaphysical."
Most of the people who started doing his method thank him not only for changing their bodies but their lives. "You empower yourself," he says, laughing at the whole fitness industry. "People do one thing and they think they’re healthy—they think doing either yoga or just running is fitness." It isn’t helped by the fact that society is sometimes guilty of showing us images of health and fitness that are not really healthy: "Many celebrities and models I train eat just 1,200 calories a day with a private chef to prepare their meals. I don’t think this is healthy."
Lagree’s secret is to combine strength, endurance, cardio, core, balance and flexibility in every movement. When it comes to diet, it’s simple: "Don't eat anything processed. Even bread has sugar now. Eat organic fresh fruit and veggies. Drink a lot of water. Don't rely on protein bars or shakes – those are shortcuts. We all know what to do to be healthy." Yes, indeed. Now all we have to do is just do it, right?