Monika Schnarre tries a stimulating new workout with the latest fitness craze to hit Toronto, the X body vest
New workout zaps Monika into shape
This is the most efficient and unique 20-minute workout you will ever try. I walk into the Yorkville gym in my new outfit only to be given a cotton one to replace it. The owner of Lucid Fitness and my trainer for the day, Aman Hasebenebi, hands it to me with instructions not to wear any undergarments. Nothing???
Out of the change room I emerge feeling a little self-conscious. The Xbody vest is lightly sprayed with water then fitted to me. The vest is made out of microfibre and is covered with electrodes. I feel like I’m in a sci-fi movie and ready to shoot my green-screen sequence.
What is electric muscle stimulation training? EMS is a conditioning and strengthening tool for your muscles that enhances your workout.
The electronic impulses are generated by a device and delivered through electrodes directly above the muscles to be stimulated. The impulses cause the muscles to contract, so the result is similar to the actual movement of the muscles. The workout is adjustable according to your own fitness level.
I’m a bit skeptical. How can you only work out for 20 to 25 minutes and have a full-body workout? Hasebenebi says the workout is short because the whole muscular system is activated at the same time through the vest, therefore the workout is more effective at burning calories.
After I’m hooked up to the computer, we start with some simple jumping jacks. It is completely shocking at first (pun intended) when you feel the first impulses. They are not painful at all, but it is an odd sensation. The jumping jacks (in four-second intervals) are incredibly hard because the vest is in cardiovascular mode, which provides a lot of resistance. This non-sweater is already glowing with perspiration.
We move on to bicep curls, and if you miss a beat, the electrodes remind you to curl or you get zapped. This was followed by squats, military presses, standing crunches, planks, push-ups and some abdominal work.
Hasebenebi travelled to Montreal to undergo extensive training and theory to become a certified EMS trainer. She is able to adjust everything — the intensity and the length of the breaks as well as which muscles are stimulated.
“The workout appeals to everyone looking for a highly effective, fast and convenient workout. By no means is this a lazy person’s workout, but it will get that lazy person into top shape,” she says.
Hasebenebi says EMS training also eases back and joint pain and strengthens bones through the pulling effect ensuing from the work of the muscles.
At the end of our session, Hasebenebi treats me to a “massage.” I lie down on the floor, and the vest is put on “massage mode” (this was my favourite part).
I leave the session feeling a bit shaky, and days later I still feel sore in my abs. So it’s safe to say my post-baby tummy got a great workout. I will definitely be back.
Monika in her Xbody vest trying out electronic muscle stimulation XBODY STUDIO: Lucid Fitness ADDRESS: 99 Yorkville Ave., Unit B15 PRICE: $70 for one session
Monika Schnarre is a model, actress, entrepreneur and television personality. She has appeared in over 50 television shows and films and on over 100 magazine covers.