Review: Impulse Training
Zap calories fast with this high-tech, new-age workout. No weights necessary
THE WORKOUT: Impulse training, RM75 for a trial session and RM175 for single sessions thereafter (packages are available) at Impulse Studio Changkat, KL.
THE CLAIM: Impulse training uses Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) to build muscles and burn fat through 20-minute workout sessions. The electric stimulus is able to activate deeper inner muscles that are rarely trained through conventional exercises, including muscles along the spinal column. This helps to balance out the body's muscular system as 'weaker links' of the body are strengthened, relieving back problems and even improving posture. The workout causes zero stress on joints as it relies solely on body weight.
THE VERDICT: Upon arrival, I was directed to a changing room where I was told to remove every item of clothing and change into a pair of black cotton tights and matching top. Then my trainer lightly sprayed me with water from chest to knee (water helps conduct the electric energy).
It was super cold, so I was relieved when I was told to step into the Impulse training suit – a futuristic looking vest covered in electrodes, wires and straps. My trainer hooked me up to a tall white dock via a wire on my vest and handed me a pair of rubber stress balls to grip, "to keep your hands from shaking." When the current hit my body it first felt like a tingling sensation of pin pricks, and then more like tiny ant bites.
Once my muscles were engaged and I could feel the electric impulse, I began warming up with a round of cardio exercises: jogging, jumping jacks, squats and ab crunches. As my body got used to the electric sensation, it began to feel oddly therapeutic. After that, the trainer ramped up the intensity with lunges, pull-ups, chest presses, bicep curls and tricep kickbacks – all the while cranking up the electric stimulus on targeted areas of my body. Within minutes, I had worked up a sweat. All the exercises were doable, but my arms were shaking so much from the electric pulses that I could barely move them for the tricep kickbacks. We continued with another round of jogs and sprints, followed by core training (push-up planks, twist planks) to complete the workout.
By the end, I was heaped over the mat a sweaty, hot mess. For someone who believes that weight-training's an essential element in any fitness regimen, I'll admit that the idea of an electric suit that will zap me into weight loss at a 'gym without weights' felt gimmicky at first. This was a challenging, all-body workout, and the 20-minute session is great if you're on a tight schedule, but you'll definitely need a few sessions to start seeing results. And at least you'll never have to worry about having nothing to wear to the gym.
Shelve the neons and rock up to your session in khakis, cloudy greys and blush pink instead.
This article first appeared in the June 2016 issue of ELLE Malaysia.