Finding the time to get and stay in shape is a luxury. The reality is, squeezing in an hour to get your daily dose of exercise just isn’t always possible. But if a lack of time is your excuse for not working out, the sessions at My30Minutes will change your life – and your body – fast. As the name suggests, in just 30 minutes you’ll squat, jump, and punch yourself into shape, whilst working up to 90 percent of your muscle fibers (a “good” gym workout uses less than 40 percent) and blasting fat. You’re probably wondering how? It’s all down to an EMS (electric muscle stimulation) machine that passes an electric current through your body and to your muscles. This means you can be performing your usual moves, but your workout will be up to 18 times more effective. Sound too good to be true? I went to find out…
Located in a Jumeirah villa just off Al Wasl road, My30Minutes is all white walls and bright colors, a big open space with private rooms so you can work out without the worry of anyone seeing you get your sweat on. Each session takes place with just you and your personal trainer in a large room with its own bathroom, complete with power shower, towels, and toiletries – perfect if you’re heading straight to the office or out for a date-night dinner. The other advantage is you don’t need to bring anything; special leggings and a long-sleeved top are provided, so there’s no using the ‘I forgot my gym kit’ excuse to skip a workout.
Stepping into my training room, I’m surprised to see, well, not much really. There’s no fancy gym equipment – just a mirrored wall, a matt on the floor, and a small machine. My trainer and founder of My30Minutes Jemima Steinhart explains the process whilst strapping me into what can only be described as a harness-meets-corset. Bands are also strapped around my arms, thighs, and hips, leaving me looking like a cross between Robocop and Lara Croft (I’ll take the latter) and, once I’m well and truly strapped in, she uses cords to connect me to a small machine that is responsible for sending electrical currents through my body. I have to admit that by this point I’m nervous. She explains that, for a “strength” workout (there’s a cardio workout too), electric pulses will stimulate my muscles for six seconds, then stop for six seconds. When I feel the pulses, I am to tense everything up and hold, then relax my muscles when they stop. Sounds simple enough.
Jemma starts the current at a low level so I can get a feel for it, and I’m pleasantly surprised. When the current is ‘on’, I feel a minor tingling sensation across my muscles, like mild pins and needles, but nothing too uncomfortable. As I get more and more used to it, the machine is cranked up a notch, and when I’m at my personal maximum level I can actually feel my muscles tensing without me having to do anything. During the strength program I hold various positions, like squats, lunges, and lateral raises, and, working with the machine, I tense every six seconds. I’m not moving that much, but by the end I feel like I’ve been in the gym for an hour, and I’ve definitely worked up a sweat. My legs feel shaky as I walk down the stairs to leave, and I wake up the next morning feeling the good kind of sore.
It may sound gimmicky, a machine that helps you tone and lose weight 18 times faster than a normal workout, but it’s a technique that’s been used in physiotherapy since the 1950s. Athletic stars like Usain Bolt use it to help with rehabilitation and strength, and it’s favored by models to help them get in shape in minimal time. What the machine does is give bodies a boost with something they do on their own anyway. Our brains send electric impulses through the central nervous system to our muscles, causing them to contract. The EMS enhances this so you’re working muscles harder than ever before, but in less time than your regular exercise routine. It’s also amazing for people suffering from back pain, as it engages deeper muscles that are hard to reach with more conventional treatments, literally making you stronger from the inside out.
After just one session I can feel an addiction coming on, and I can’t wait to try the cardio workout, where you’re required to perform your usual running, star-jumps, burpees, etc., but with a constant current passing through you. Note that you’re only recommended to do a maximum of three sessions a week – it’s that good. Bikini body, here I come.
My30Minutes ‘Trial Session’, AED 250/SAR 255, Jumeirah. For appointments and information, call (+971) 4 385 5353.
Ladies-only days take place on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.