We Zapped Our Muscles To Try And Get Fit & Here’s What It Was Like
It all sounded too good to be true: a workout designed to deliver hardcore gym results in only 20-minute sessions.
Known as the “smarter” workout, EMS training involves the machines sending electrical impulses that contract your muscles. The workout boasts that in just 20 minutes it’ll give you the results that spending several hours at the gym would get you.
The benefits that come from regularly doing the workout also include improved posture, reduction of cellulite, and it’s also low impact on joints and tendons, and lets weaker muscles be targeted and strengthened so the overworked muscles can carry less of the burden (which makes it great for people who have previously had injuries or strains).
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Needless to say, curiosity got the better of us here at Punkee, so we (Tahlia and James) went along to a session at one of Sydney’s Speedfit clubs to try the workout for ourselves.
Here’s what happened when we tried an EMS workout at Speedfit:
“I am a fairly regular gym-goer but I am a sucker for anything that promotes results with what feels like minimum effort. It’s why I love pilates so much or only doing 30-minute circuit classes. It’s all over before it even feels like it begins and that’s the way exercise should be.”
“Currently my fitness routine is gym 2-3 times per week, mainly weights, and a lot of skateboarding (yes, I am 12 years old).”
Before the session:
We sat down with the team at Speedfit and they helped us understand what the session would entail while also providing us with a drink (that smelt vaguely of Red Bull while tasting more like Gatorade) that would help with our hydration levels throughout the session.
We talked about our fitness levels, what we were looking to work on/improve, and any previous injuries that could impact a workout. All bases are covered to get you ready to go and hooked up to the equipment.
The team then provides your workout gear for you – some tights and a shirt that have to be sprayed with water before you strap into the vest that hooks up to the machines.
“I was super nervous going into the workout but once we got started it was pretty straightforward. The weirdest part was if you didn’t keep your arms or legs bent a certain way before the electrical impulses hit, it’d be virtually impossible to be able to move again, so it’s important to pay attention to everything your instructor is telling you!
“The exercises we undertook were relatively low-key: squats, lunges, the typical stuff you’d do in a gym, just while getting zapped the whole time. The most important thing to note is that it’s definitely not painful and it’s not like stepping onto a Powerplate machine either where you feel like your brain is about to vibrate out of your skull sometimes – they set the pulses to a standard that suits you so you can get the best out of your workout.”
“I was a little bit nervous about the session at first. The thought of being electrocuted whilst working out was pretty daunting. However the work out was actually quite fun in a challenging way! I felt myself working out muscles I didn’t even know I had! Your whole body would tense up as the electric shock kicked in creating a very surreal experience.”
After the session:
“We downed a delicious protein shake (that boasted 22g of protein and was gifted to us from the Speedfit team) and went back to work, revitalised and ready for the day ahead.
“As the day went on I noticed a certain tightness in my abdomen and pelvis that was constantly lingering. It got to the point where every time I laughed (I have extremely funny coworkers, ok?) the muscle tightness felt more pronounced… which was concerning for how much I might be hurting the next day.”
“I took it as a good excuse to cancel my circuit class at 6:30am the next morning. It’s called self-care, sweeties!
The next day I was a little sore but it felt like the usual muscle soreness from an intense gym sesh. But two days on, the pain really hit and I cancelled another gym class (self-care!) and groaned loudly every time I had to stand up or sit down, much to the joy of everyone around me.
The only way I can describe it is like having sore muscles from a regular gym session but that penetrates a deeper level you never knew existed. I described it to someone as though it was ‘my abs having their own abs that were hurting’ and they just looked at me weirdly (probably because I don’t actually have abs).”
“The day after the session I was extremely sore, particularly in my legs. It had felt like the aftermath of a great workout though.”
“Overall I enjoyed the session and felt like it was more beneficial and time-saving than doing a normal workout. I enjoyed being able to change the level of intensity and being able to focus on individual muscle groups. I’d love to try it again.”
One session a week instead of multiple gym ones? Sign me TF up. It’s hard to say result-wise if it’s worth it until you actually committed to it for more than one session, but it’s definitely an interesting experience if you’re into the whole fitness schtick.
Plus, you can check out some other people’s results on the Speedfit Instagram page in case you need a little more convincing. TL;DR – it only goes for 20 minutes, so really, what do you have to lose?
(Apart from your ability to sit down the next day.)