This unique -- and somewhat stylish -- method of exercise that two local women have brought to Darien could change the way you get fit. It happened for them.
A former finance professional in Manhattan, Felice Marcy gave the Megaformer a whirl at one of the certified facilities in New York City. She was hooked.
"I was always into trying new types of exercise classes, (but) the Megaformer was like no other class I had ever taken," she said.
The Megaformer is an all-in-one exercise machine that offers a full-body experience -- cardio and simultaneous muscle workout, while at the same time giving a low-stress impact on the body. The 50-minute workout sessions are led by trained instructors, and include an ever-changing range of exercises.
Marcy, who has been taking exercise class since she was 16 and teaching them for many years, said she had never walked away from a class with such a combined impact for cardio, strength and toning.
"And the best part," she said, "no impact to the joints."
"We thought, `Wouldn't it be great to bring it to Darien,'" said Annabel Marisca, who along with Marcy opened in May CST50, the Megaformer affiliate, that stands for "Cardio, Strength, Transform, in 50 minutes" at 9 Old Kings Highway North.
"Felice and I knew each other since high school," Marisca said. "We both grew up in Greenwich."
By chance, both ladies chose to raise their families in Darien and have five children between them.
"I always loved fitness," Marisca said, so it felt like a natural change to move from her background in finance, to having a go at overseeing an exercise shop.
"This is a perfect balance for us," she said, "(and) we don't have to commute to the city anymore."
"Also, I love being part of the community and meeting so many new people," Marcy said.
In November, after both decided they really wanted to pursue this business, they flew to Los Angeles to get certified. "We purchased the machines from Sebastian Lagree," Marisca said. "He's the founder and the person behind the design and make of the Megaformer.
"He's the one that you basically contact to set up a studio, and you can name it whatever you want," she said. "We purchased the territory in Connecticut," which includes Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and New Canaan.
"I have never done any workout like this before," said Jennifer Bickerton of Darien. "I used to do five days of very intensive, high-impact classes and I was injured over time."
She explained that the Megaformer machine -- and CST50 -- have given her a solution.
"I understand now why so many of my friends in New York City go and rave about it," she said. "When it opened in Darien I was first in line to try it and I was hooked immediately."
She also commended the instructors, whom she said mix up the exercises during the classes, making them challenging and fun each time. There are also usually two instructors in a room of 10 people, she said, aiding in the workout, making every class feel "like a personal training session."
"There are so many things I love about having my own studio," Marcy said. "It gives us the ability to create the workout the way we think it's most effective and to implement it that way."
With a range of classes and, thus far, a range of clients, from ages 18 to 72, Marisca said, "We're open seven days a week."
For information, visit www.cst50darien.com or call 203-309-5333.