I can’t be the only person to have stopped at the lights on the Kingsway junction with Princess Way and seen the sign for Body Street with its tagline “20 minutes is enough” and thought ‘What is that all about?’
Being nosy I went onto their website and was intrigued to discover it was a fitness studio like no other. Here they use something called EMS – Electro Muscle Stimulation to have a full body work out in just 20 minutes.
This interested me on several levels, firstly because I don’t get very much time to spend going to a gym – at least that’s my excuse, in truth it’s because I don’t have the inclination to go and spend hours every week doing something I don’t enjoy. Secondly, because it doesn’t put any strain on the joints, my dodgy knee couldn’t be used as an excuse. Thirdly – 20 minutes a week with the promise of a toned body in time for my holiday sounded pretty tempting.
I made my first appointment and hot-footed it down to town. My first impression was how little equipment was on show – just a couple of lectern type stands with a scart lead.
After my medical history had been taken by owner Veronica and we’d confirmed that I had neither high nor low blood pressure it was into the changing room to put on my shorts and top. Another thing that had attracted me to Bodystreet was the fact that they provide all the kit – no need to buy Lycra active wear or expensive trainers – no smelly kit to wash either – they even provide the towel for a shower afterwards.
Once kitted out, my height and weight was measured and my body was analysed for hydration, muscle mass, visceral fat (this one is important as it is the measure of the fat around your vital organs) and my BMI was calculated. They can also tell you what your metabolic age is – mine is actually 15 years less than my real age, so from now on if I’m asked how old I am, I will give my metabolic one!
Now it was time to don the body suit which involved squeezing into a waistcoat reminiscent of a scuba-diving jacket. Further strapping was put on my legs, arms and bottom – this all fitted very snugly. I was then connected to the lectern and the scart lead was plugged in.
I could try and explain what happens next but this is what the website says:
In everyday life, your body stimulates muscles naturally by sending bio-electrical pulses down the spinal cord and into your nerve fibres. Muscles need this stimulation in order to move.
Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is nothing more than an amplification of the body’s own electrical pulses. The extra stimulus causes your muscles to contract more and work harder.
Combining EMS with exercise is a very targeted way of super-charging the effects of your workout. Deep muscles are stimulated far more effectively than through conventional exercise alone, making every move stronger and delivering visible improvements more quickly.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND EMS
We all have two types of muscle fibre – slow-twitch and fast-twitch. Understanding how each of these works, is the key to ensuring a workout that will really get results.
Slow-twitch muscle fibres support endurance activities like walking, swimming and cycling. These fibres are always stimulated first during exercise. They contract slowly so they can keep moving for a long time without getting tired.
Fast-twitch fibres support quick, powerful movements, like jumping or sprinting. They contract quickly, consume a lot of energy (in other words – they burn fat!) and deliver the strength and power you need to spring into action.
To improve your overall strength, fitness and body tone, it’s important to flex both types of muscle fibre. EMS specifically targets those harder to reach fast-twitch fibres, boosting the effects of your workout.
A FULL BODY WORKOUT
During an EMS training session at Bodystreet, we can configure a wide range of training parameters to suit your individual needs. However, an important difference to other forms of exercise is that we are able to activate ALL of the muscle groups simultaneously. This makes a Bodystreet workout much more time-efficient than conventional strength training or gym sessions, which typically only work a few muscle groups at a time.
EMS training has also a quick and deep-acting tightening effect on all the core muscle groups. That means you can achieve the same strengthening of low-lying muscle fibres that we’d normally associate with Yoga or Pilates exercise, without any of the time-consuming holding moves (e.g plank).
Firstly it doesn’t hurt – the level of the impulse is controlled at all times – if it is too strong it can be turned down. It’s a bit weird to feel your muscles contracting in places you didn’t know you had muscles, but it isn’t unpleasant. I found it quite hard to find my muscles to contract them at the same time as the impulse was running through them – but apparently that will get easier as my muscles get their memory back. My Personal Trainer, Myles was on hand at all times to make sure that I was getting into the correct position for each set of exercises.
The 20 minutes passed by really quickly, and before I knew it Myles was telling me that I only had 2 minutes left. Once finished and with the waistcoat and straps removed, all I had to do was take a shower, get dressed and back to work. This is something I could easiIy do in my lunch hour.
I booked my next session before leaving.
My second session was even better – I knew what to expect and felt as if I was benefitting more from the work-out. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’m sure it will take a few sessions before I can actually see the difference. I’ve signed up for six months and feel confident that this is something I’ll be able to stick to – 20 minutes a week should be very doable. I’ll keep you posted.
Contact BODY STREET ADVERT for their HALF PRICE trial session, simply give them a call and say that you’ve read about it in Bay. There is NO upper age or weight limit.
37/39 Princess Way, Swansea / www.bodystreet.co.uk For more information tel: 01792 476925