Harder, Better, Slower, Stronger: Two boutique studios offer the yin and yang of high-intensity Pilates-machine conditioning.
Ritual is the only place in town practicing the cult-favorite Lagree Method.
Considering fitness in Aspen, there’s always room for more and more. So when two boutique studios specializing in full-body, high-intensity, low-impact, 45-minute, Pilates-inspired workouts opened at the turn of 2019, locals embraced both enthusiastically.
“What we do in Aspen, it’s not a workout; it’s a daily habit—we live fitness here in the mountains,” says personal trainer, physical therapist and Pilates instructor Jen Metcalf, who launched Higher Terrain (601 E. Hyman Ave.) in February. Her frills-free, basement space is licensed to offer the celebrity-favorite Lagree Method using a patented spring-loaded, souped-up machine called the Megaformer, allowing individuals to perform slow, controlled movements for an intense, low-impact workout.
“We’re all athletes here; we want something that’s gonna challenge us, but not break us down,” Metcalf explains. Hence why her clients at FLEX Pilates Aspen (where she’s been teaching since 2016) seeking a more intense workout flock to Ritual. (A separate fitness studio at Ritual offers infrared heated classes, such as hot Pilates and heated stretch, as well as nonheated conditioning classes.)
The Tonic Method was developed by Aspenite Madeleine Hasulak.
Meanwhile, Aspen native and 11-year-certified Pilates acolyte Madeleine Hasulak adds in a deliberate dose of mindfulness at Tonic Method (720 E. Durant Ave., Unit E-4), which she created in December 2018. Using a custom-modified, Reformer-inspired machine and enhanced with props such as balls and blocks, Hasulak’s proprietary Tonic Method focuses on form, posture and alignment to—like Ritual—build balance, increase flexibility and carve lean muscle.
“We want you to leave here feeling invigorated and restored,” says Hasulak, suggesting that deep inhalations, the warmup “Tonic roll down” and snow-globe view of Aspen Mountain inspire mental clarity. “Breath is so intricately connected to core strength and deeper engagement; it’s where all functional movement stems [from]. Our mission is to add longevity into your life.”
Whether your mood calls for a music-pumping Lagree session beneath colored lights or sunlit conditioning set to mellow music, both tough-as-ice toning modalities hasten heartbeats and leave limbs trembling—not your grandfather’s Pilates.
Photography by: Courtesy of studios