EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulation) has long been a favourite workout among professional-athletes and its starting to grow in popularity for the masses. We went to GoGo Muscle Training in Toronto to try out the latest workout craze.
What is EMS?
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) is the elicitation of muscle contraction using electric impulses. It can be used as a strength training tool, which is what GoGo Muscle Training uses it for. It can also be used as a rehabilitation and preventive tool for partially or totally immobilized patients. The funky suit that’s worn during these 20 minute session send impulses that are generated by a device and are delivered through electrodes near the skin to the muscles being stimulated. The impulses cause the muscles to contract.
#Goal: To see (and feel) the results of a 90 minute workout in just 20 minutes.
The training: On my first visit to GoGo Muscle Training, located in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville neighbourhood, co-owner Mani Khajehnouri had me change into a thin black cotton shirt and leggings (with no underwear and bra—okkkkk?!) before he did a body assessment. It was far more comprehensive than any other analysis I’ve ever done. It measured my fat, muscle and total body water. It also showed me how different parts of my body (right arm, left arm, core, right leg and left leg) performed—and where I could improve.
Next, it was time to put on the techy-suit, but first I was sprayed with warm water, along with the electrode adorned suit. I was told by by Khajehnouri the reason for the very thin clothing (and no undies) is that the suit must be as close to your body as possible—and the water is applied because it's a conductor. Next he calibrated the suit to my body. In other words, he gauged how intense I could handle the impulses.
These electrodes targeted my arms, abs, back, butt and upper thighs and it felt like the most intense cell phone vibration, ever. I could definitely feel my muscles engage and discovered some muscles I didn’t even know I had. I wouldn’t attribute the sensation to pain, but it was slightly uncomfortable.
Now it was time to start the HITT (high intensity interval training) workout with the EMS suit on. Different movements, mostly using body weight and dynamic movements, with intense pulse (for 20 seconds) alternated by short periods of recovery (for 6 seconds). Within in a few minutes I achieved a glow. After 20 minutes I was dripping sweat—but no goal was ever met without a little sweat!
The result: I’m a very fit person, I run or go to the gym everyday, so I was very skeptical. It was really hard to believe that 20 minutes of body weighted movements and a Lara Croft-looking suit was going to change my body. But it did. Right after I left the gym my core felt tighter, almost like I actually lost some inches. Which was true, but this was just a temporary effect due to the impulses pushing against my body. I really became a believer when all-over soreness started to revel itself the next morning and continued to blossom over the next few days. When Khajehnouri said I needed to do lots of stretches after the workout I didn’t take him seriously, but I learned my lesson. Ouch! I liked the workout so much I did it two more times over the following weeks, increasing the levels on the suit to make sure that good pain (soreness) returned. No pain, no gain!
The cost: $99 for a single session or $499 a month (up to 12 sessions). gogomuscletraining.com.