The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday

‘There is a downside to packing a 90-minute workout into 20 minutes: you’ll feel it the next morning”

- Exerceo Training – EMS suit

I have never felt more like a superhero than I do as I stand in front of the mirror in the Exerceo studio. I’m wearing a very tight set of shorts and a T-shirt and, over that, a sci-fi style exo-suit (don’t worry – everyone who attends gets their own under-suit so you won’t be sharing a sweaty outfit with other gymgoers) which is going to zap my muscles with electricit­y while I work out.

Electro-muscular stimulatio­n (EMS, for short) workouts have existed for decades, but previously in the form of plates on which users would stand or lie. The advantage of the suit is that my muscles are getting a double-whammy: stimulatio­n from the workout as well as the electricit­y. According to some studies, a 20-minute workout in the EMS suit can burn as many as 500 calories – comparable to an hour-long HIIT class or 90 minutes in a convention­al gym – which sounds almost too good to be true.

Having said that, I can see why the idea of being electrocut­ed in the name of fitness might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’ll confess to being slightly nervous when my trainer, Alin Ciobotaru, switches on the suit. The sensation is a strange one at first. If you’ve ever had a phone with a very aggressive vibration when it rings, imagine that feeling all over your body, or perhaps a severe case of pins-and-needles. When Ciobotaru dials up the machine I have to focus on my breathing as it really does knock the wind out of you.

The actual workout, though, isn’t particular­ly intense. The focus is on slow, deep movements – squats, lunges and stretches – rather than dynamism. I’m instructed to perform a gentle squat, over six seconds, while the EMS suit is on, followed by a four-second breather, then repeat between six and 10 times.

From the outside, it certainly doesn’t look like a very difficult workout, but it isn’t long before sweat is pouring from my brow and I’m feeling the burn. What might look like a gentle stretch actually feels doubly difficult as your muscles have to work against the electrical stimulatio­n. There’s a degree of focus necessary, not just on the movements but on your breathing. After just 20 minutes, I’m thoroughly exhausted.

Of course, there is a downside to burning 500 calories in 20 minutes with very gentle exercise and feeling like a superhero while you do it: you’ll feel it the next morning.

Ciobotaru recommends people do EMS workouts no more than once a week because it is so intense on the muscles. “It won’t cause serious harm, of course,” he explains. “But you’re packing a 90-minute workout into 20 minutes, so of course you’ll feel it more, especially after your first time.” As I write this article the following day, I can confirm he isn’t exaggerati­ng.

According to Ciobotaru, a typical programme of EMS workouts generally lasts six to eight weeks, and as long as users are prepared to think holistical­ly about their diet and overall health, as with any other exercise regime, they can see real results in that time. While the EMS programme I attended was in London, studios exist all over the UK and Ciobotaru expects it to become a major trend over the next few years.

Using the EMS suit was a huge amount of fun, relatively easy, and I felt stronger just doing it. I can think of worse ways to spend 20 minutes. Exerceo Training’s EMS workout, from £165 for four sessions.

 ?? ?? i It’s electrifyi­ng: Jack Rear tries out an EMS suit for size
i It’s electrifyi­ng: Jack Rear tries out an EMS suit for size

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