Photos courtesy of NOVA Fitness Innovation
People will do almost anything to get in shape. The choices are endless–the challenge is making that choice consistently enough to see a difference. Want to diet? I hope you have time to cook. The gym? That is an hour a day, and you had better have a shower option. And sports? You need to commit to a league to really get those results. Want a loophole? So does everyone.
NOVA Fitness Innovation takes a mad science solution to quick fitness. They cram 90-minute workouts into 30 minutes (20 with some short breaks) through the subtle art of electrocuting your muscle groups as you work out. Yup. They use Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) technology to target your muscles while they work, tricking them into thinking you are doing a lot more work than you are.
I know: this sounds like every late-night easy-fitness infomercial ever. You have probably seen the ads for belts that shock you into a six-pack while watching tv on the couch. Well, never fear: Nova’s methods are not easy–just fast.
How It Works
Leave your gym bag at home. Every Nova workout is done in Nova’s own jumpsuits, which are comfortable if revealingly form-fitting, as well as equipped with a bunch of pads packed with electrodes. It looks a bit like a space combat training outfit from a sci-fi action flick, but tighter. It is short-sleeved and goes down to your knees. You throw the rest of your stuff in a locker, set the lock, and head to class.
I did the strength-building class, but every class starts the same: the instructor straps a battery to your hip, and then begins the warmup. On top of loosening up your muscles for the workout, your Nova instructor wants you to build up a sweat. The suit, you see, only works when it is wet. It makes sense if you think about it. If it takes you a while to work up a good sweat, they keep spray bottles handy–refreshing and effective.
It took maybe the first 10 minutes to really feel the EMS system, but when I did…oh man. The shock didn’t hurt, exactly, but you definitely felt it, especially when you were working on that muscle group. It is not dramatic–more like tingles of varying intensities. Jackie, my trainer, had me doing circuits, and she was relentless. We cycled through until I was about to break and then took 5 min for water and recovery. We had to keep up that sweat, you know.
True to their word, the class was over in 30 minutes, and I headed to the shower. Their showers come with towels, soap, shampoo, and conditioner, so you don’t need to bring those either. I almost wouldn’t bother with the shampoo, though–after my workout, trying to get my hands over my head felt like lifting a car.
You might still be skeptical about the electricity. Does it hurt? Does it help?
Hurt? No. Uncomfortable? Yes. But even the pros would never call exercise “comfortable.” If you’re working hard enough, you don’t even feel the suit half the time. As for helping? I’m not a scientist, but even if the EMS suit did nothing but tingle, the workout left me sore for days. Definitely worth checking out.