The gym itself is hidden in the basement of a commercial building in Toronto's exclusive Yorkville neighbourhood. It is run by owner Aman Hasebenebi, who does the XBody training, as well as regular personal training. She also offers yoga and dance classes in the small space.
While I might be a skeptic, I am also happy to admit when I am wrong and folks, I was so so wrong! I definitely should have done some homework on exactly what XBody is before going. Despite the lofty claims that it can give you crazy results with just 20 minutes 2x a week, it is not what I thought at all!
I thought it would be like my Omron Electrotherapy Pain Relief device, which just makes the muscles pulsate. That certainly isn't going to give you results comparable to doing strength training or cardio, that's for sure! I thought I would lie down on a table and basically get what a massage. I was actually excited to relax. Ha ha ha...
If I had known just what I was in for, I definitely wouldn't have booked my session for a Monday, the day after I do my mega weight training and teach my spin class at the gym. I am usually sore until Tuesday from the heavy lifting.
In a 20 minute session, this freakin' machine, and Aman, kicked my ass!
First off, you have to put on the undergarments (no clothes of any kind allowed), which basically are like cotton long underwear. Then Aman puts the suit on you and secures all the straps, making it feel like a pressure garment, and you get hooked up to the machine with electrodes:
Then the torture starts. You are definitely not relaxing on a table. You are standing in front of the monitor:
While thing is VERY STRONGLY stimulating all your major muscles (the intensity can be adjusted depending on your ability and fitness level), you are doing exercises: squats, military presses, bicep curls, standing crunches, planks, push-ups, etc.
It is awesome! When I left, I already felt it in my biceps, triceps, quads and abs. In fact, the short bike ride home afterwards was incredibly tough as I felt extremely wobbly.
Of course, even though I was impressed with the whole thing, I had to check the research to see what the scientists say. Sure enough, there are indeed legit studies showing that EMS training improves muscle strength and endurance even more efficiently than doing the same exercise without it, for both obese, sedentary individuals, as well as already fit, active folks.
Here is what they say on the XBody Website:
XBODY – YOUR ALL-ROUND EMS TRAINER
As all muscles work
simultaneously, you’ll spend only just 20-25 minutes with training.
The electrodes are
placed directly on the body to each important muscle group; so all the impulses
reach their target. It’s easy, and you can’t go wrong.
As there are
electrodes built into the training suit along the spinal column, those rarely
trained muscles get worked as well. So muscles get stronger which can lead to a
better posture and enhance lower back muscles.
Achieve toned body
Since it is an
effective strengthening workout, it transforms how the body uses up calories.
It is a very effective tool for the shrinking of body part circumferences and
fat deposite under the skin.
The electric impulses
work on the muscles directly, there is no pressure on the joints, so they are
not over worked – as it is often the case with weight workouts.
Balance out the muscular system
The built in
electrodes can stimulate and develop all the muscle groups or just selected
ones if desired, so the otherwise ’weaker links’ of the body can be
If you want more visuals of how a session works, check out this article.
Aman has the portable version and offers office place and home training sessions for clients. You can get packages of sessions for as low as $60/session, which is actually cheap compared to regular personal training sessions. If I had the money to spend on my fitness, I would so do it 2x a week! But since I am a trainer, have a home gym and a free gym membership, I can't justify it...or afford it even if I didn't have all that. If you are already spending on personal training on a regular basis, this is a fabulous alternative way to spend that money.
I actually thought about buying a machine for our home until Aman told me the cost (more than many people make in a year!), but she also said its so popular that its already almost paid for itself in less than a year. Wow! She also said her clients using it range from those who just want to lose weight to very fit people who love the challenge and the fact that the sessions are so short.
I admit it, I was wrong, this kicks ass, its legit and you should definitely try it if you have the chance!!