Electrical Muscle Stimulation used to train at Edinburgh’s newly opened workout studio

For a man who is partial to a pizza and hasn’t stepped foot in a gym in two years I was very wary ahead of my visit to Edinburgh’s newly opened workout studio.

Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 6:00 am
Evening News journalist Kieran Murray is put through his paces at Bodystreet, an innovative workout studio that combines personal training with Electrical Muscle Stimulation. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

Bodystreet combines personal training with Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) as impulses are delivered to the body while training through a specially designed training suit containing electrodes.

I was told ahead of my session that a 20 minutes training once a week would be the equivalent of three gym sessions. I thought that can’t be right surely? Oh dear, how wrong was I!

Stepping into the studio I was met by the team and got changed into my figure hugging lycra shorts and top.

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Before beginning the session I stepped on a machine which delivers a full body composition analysis by running a series of electrical currents through the body. The results are complete and ready to digest in a matter of seconds.

While my body weight of 77.2kg, or about 12st 2lb, is seen as ideal for my age and height, my body fat percentage certainly is not.

At 22.4 per cent, I am above the desirable range of eight to 20 per cent while my fat mass came in at 2.3kg over what is expected.

The most alarming result was my metabolic age is in fact 38 - yeah, you’ve read that right. This being 12 years older than my actual age it is clear I have serious work to bring that daunting figure down.

Personal trainer Jason Bertschinger goes through the workout with Kieran

Bodystreet 20 minute sessions are designed for the every day person who does not have the time to designate for multiple gym sessions on a weekly basis.

My personal trainer, Jason, helped me into my vest and hooked me up to one of two machines in the Morningside studio before setting the level of impulses at different areas of their body including arms, legs, core and back.

The Edinburgh location is the only EMS provider in Scotland, showcasing the technology used by professional athletes including those of Team GB.

The extra stimulation creates stronger, more intense muscle contractions than conventional training, which is said to be more effective in developing strength, stamina and improving body shape.

The 20 minutes is split between a five second burst of shocks while alternating positions from squats to lunges with five seconds in between to rest. Admittedly on some occasions my body failed to take a double dosage which turned my legs to jelly and I embarrassingly hit the deck - twice.

The intense session left me with sweat dripping from my brow like I’d just done a few miles on the treadmill. It takes a couple of minutes for your body to adapt to the impulses and by the end of the 20 minutes you can really feel your muscles aching.

The combination of both the results from the earlier test and my not so impressive performance on the EMS would then allow Jason to attune a fitness programme to maximise my results.

Bodystreet launched with a single micro-studio in Munich in Germany in 2007. Now, the number of studios has grown to almost 300 across Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK training more than 40,000 people every week.

Mark Holland, master franchisor for the UK, said: “Because the training is so effective and requires just 20 minutes once per week, we see huge growth potential in Edinburgh. EMS has many health benefits including helping people suffering with back pain and reducing their diabetes medication.

“The reality is that the UK population is getting busier and more overweight. The NHS cannot keep picking up the bill and people need to change their lifestyle. Bodystreet, through EMS training, offers the perfect solution to help these people.”

Body analysis done. Fat body and frightening metabolic age released to the world. Pizzas binned. Now, the real hard work begins for me.