UAE fitness facilities have been responding to that by offering short and snappy high intensity interval-based workouts, such as the Japanese scientist-approved four-minute Tabata circuit, and 30-minute metabolic exercise craze Metafit, created by a former Royal Marine Commando.
Both of these trends not only get you some of your life back and decrease your gym exposure, they make sure you use what little time you do spend there efficiently through a strategy of alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods.
This basically translates to mean that because you work harder to tire your muscles quicker, you get to go home earlier.
Want to know what’s even wilder than this? The fact that there is another training method out there that goes one better.
If you want your exercise regime to result in quicker than the average quick gains, why not try Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training, offered by Abu Dhabi’s luxury new private facility The Body Company. Thankfully, it doesn’t feel as “shocking” as it sounds.
You’re strapped into something that resembles a partially wet scuba suit which is wired with strategically-placed electrode patches to send the gentlest flow of electric current to 90 per cent of your muscle fibres while you exercise.
You might technically be getting shocked, yes but EMS technology is far from new and has been proven to be perfectly safe. It doesn’t hurt, you’ll merely experience a weird massaging or prickling sensation on muscles as you work up a sweat training them.
These ‘pulses’ (which can be dialed up or down for desired intensity in different parts of the body) go on and off for a few seconds apart during the whole session, and the length of stimulation can also be decreased or increased.
The beauty of an EMS training session – which can consist of anything from yoga to interval training bootcamps – is that it lasts no longer than 20 minutes.
Thanks to the German technology of this weird workout suit, the effectiveness of that 20 minutes supposedly equates to three to four hours spent doing standard gym work.
Another shocking find is that performing squats, for example, while plugged in to the EMS system is said to be 18 times more effective than doing them without it.
How? Electrically stimulating both your superficial and deeper lying muscles in this way wakes them up a whole lot more and forces them to contract (more intensely than they would if you were prompted to physically contract them yourself during any exercise).
Not to mention, you’re also working a little extra harder during the workout to regain control and stability of your muscles while holding or performing poses.
All of this is why EMS has been credited with promoting faster muscle growth, better muscle quality, rapid and easy weight loss and fat reduction, and radically increasing your all-round strength and endurance.
In fact, this technology has been utilised as a strength training tool with athletes, including those in rehabilitation, since the early 1950s. Today, everyone is in on it, and menus now cater for those looking to meet weight loss goals, who have a specific body shape or muscle build in mind, or just want to trim up for bikini season, and The Body Company has a flexible assortment of packages and memberships to match.
Company founder Lena Dobschall says: “It’s all about personal fitness training at The Body Company. We offer semi-private (up to three persons) and private trainings, and during all of them we utilise the EMS technology.
“Sessions being so short means we get a lot of 9-5 office workers and business men coming through, as well as busy mums who don’t want to stay away from the kids too long. But hey, even if you’re just too lazy to join a normal gym, well… we’re here.
“Another plus is that every session offers a full body workout and reaches out to nearly all the muscles of the body, including the ones that often get overlooked in general exercise.
“Even though EMS is about increasing muscular performance, it doesn’t mean that you grow big muscles; it just means you grow strong muscles. What you’ll get here is more lean muscle, and this sort of muscle burns more fat,” she adds.
“Generally what we’re striving for is a bikini body type – one with a low fat percentage and quality, strong muscle.”
How soon and how many sessions you need to get your bikini body obviously depends on your body type, but Dobschall says usually six to eight classes should initiate a shift. “You might feel it already after the first class,” she says, “because your muscles will be feeling pretty tense or tightened.”
For that reason, your body needs more rest days in the week than usual, she warns. “Only 2-3 sessions a week are suggested. If you over-stimulate or over-challenge your muscles with more than that, it’s just not going to be very effective. It needs time to return to a state of normalcy. And actually, the muscle uses that recovery time to grow. We always say here that you trigger your muscle in the gym, you feed your muscle in the kitchen, and you grow and strengthen your muscle in your relaxation or recovery time.”
What: Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) Training
Where: The Body Company, Bin Hamoodah Building, ADNEC Area, Capital Center (Landmark: Aloft Hotel / Centro Hotel)
Cost: A test session is Dh200, which will be free of charge if you choose to sign on to a package. Because it’s impossible to get your money’s worth after one or two sessions, the smallest package available at The Body Company is a 10-class pass, valued at Dh2,490 (semi-private, and Dh4,450 (private). Your own EMS training suit is also required once signed on (available at the facility).