Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Fitness: Exerceo EMS Review

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last few weeks! After 2.5 years of looking for our forever home we are finally moving this weekend! Very exciting, but it has also been very stressful with builders  (not) working and putting holes in the wrong wall, missing furniture deliveries, packing... and still working full time. I am forever grateful to be lucky enough to have a house in London, but just a little frazzled!

Keeping in mind how time starved our generation is with long working hours and never ceasing FOMO I thought it would be useful to speak about time saving ways of keeping fit. With so many moving parts and evenings filled with transporting boxes (kinda exercise right?), chasing builders and trips to Homebase I have found it really difficult to keep up with my usual fitness routine. Instead I have been squeezing in lunchtime EMS training sessions at
The studio near Liverpool Street. With the EMS machine ready to go.

EMS stands for ‘Electro Muscle Stimulation’. From a technical point of view, it’s a full body training exercise using impulse current. During traditional exercise, the brain sends signals to the muscles to bring about contractions. EMS mimics the action of the central nervous system, activating muscles in the same way, but using external impulses delivered via electrodes onto the skin directly above the muscles. The impulses reach deep muscle layers which are hard to activate through conventional training. Your muscles will not tell the difference, but work out much more effectively.
I had heard about EMS training before (think Slendertone), but never in combnation with actual exercise, so I was excited to be given the opportunity of experiencing it for myself! It's not nearly as complicated or technical as it sounds. Each session starts with you putting on the black t-shirt and leggings provided (fantastic if you are in a rush as you don't need to bring anything for the sessions!). You are then strapped into a vest and cycling shorts style suit with electrodes. When the suit is turned on you can feel the electric pulses contracting your muscles. This is not at all painful, but can feel a little strange and quite intense until you get used to it. The best way I can describe it is like a light internal vibrating or prickling sensation. The strength of the pulses is adjusted to your comfort/ tolerance for different muscles. Somehow my abs and legs were always at max, but my arms were barely on! During the session you work with some very basic exercises eg. squats, lunges, shoulder press for about 20 seconds at a time with a rest of 8 seconds. The weights are very light (2-6kg). Though, trust me, while it sounds super easy holding a plank while your body is pulsing can be quite the challenge, even for just 20 seconds!
Trying to take a photo of the activewear provided at each session, while being photo bombed by Head Trainer Nooroa (who is very camera shy).

The best thing about EMS at Exerceo for me was the time and convenience. No gym bag to drag around and knowing that a 25 minute session was enough to get my muscles really firing and challenge myself. It's amazing that I could work out, shower and eat lunch within the hour and be back at my desk!
The trainers are great in customising the workouts for you so it really depends on your goals, whether that's generally toning and losing fat or improving speed, strength, endurance, mobility, balance or posture. Mine was to strengthen and stabilise my back as I have multiple spine issues and using simple exercises and light weights I could really work deeply and effectively without overloading my back. EMS also works amazingly for rehabilitation as you only need very light resistance so you do not put strain on your joints or tendons. It's also great for those suffering from other problems such as osteoporosis or even for ladies who have recently given birth as the pulses target deep muscles that help to rebuild pelvic floor strength.
Even though I try to work out 4/5 times per week after each short Exerceo EMS training session I could definitely feel the DOMS the next day. After my first session concentrating on lower body my quads and hamstrings were more sore than they are after a 150kg leg press or 100kg deadlift, and I think the max weight used was 6kg! As much as I love my weight training for building lean muscle and strength the EMS method is truly effective for strengthening, endurance, core work and really rounding off your training. It's great for any fitness level or age so whether you are a beginner or a seasoned gym bunny it can be customised to your needs.
Have you heard of EMS training before? I would love to hear your thoughts! If you are interested do check out Exerceo. The first trial session is FREE so there's nothing to lose!
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