Does EMS really burn more calories and fat?

NYC is always ahead of the curve when it comes to fitness so I was surprised when I discovered something new in Israel a few years ago — EMS Training. EMS works by sending impulses generated by a device, delivered through electrodes on the skin directly above the muscles you’re working out (basically, you’re getting electric shocks while you work out). The impulses cause the muscles to contract and work harder than during conventional exercise. The training lasts for 20-30 minutes depending on where you do it, but is said to result in the equivalent of up to five hours of conventional exercises at the gym.

I checkout a studio that’s very popular with models in NYC a few weeks ago, NOVA Fitness (above is model Caroline Lowe). It’s a beautiful facility and unlike most EMS spots you’re not attached to a machine, you wear a suit with everything you need to be “shocked” meaning that your workout is not just strength training, but cardio as well as you move around the space equipped with everything from medicine balls to rowing machines.

So I know what you’re thinking… electric shocks sound scary, but it’s not actually pain, it’s really just a tingly sensation and at NOVA the instructor controls how much of that sensation you’ll be feeling based on your individual needs. You can do private sessions or they have classes (again the instructor controls the levels for each person in the class). While EMS is popular with athletes and people who are time-crunched, it’s also a good option to look into if you’re older and trying to get fit or recovering from an injury (EMS has long been used for rehabilitation).

Personally I don’t see this replacing my addiction to Barry’s Bootcamp or Megan Roup’s workout, but I do see it as a complement. It’s perfect for days where I either don’t want to run at Barry’s or don’t have an hour to workout. The only downside? The suit you have to wear really isn’t very flattering if you’re not a model!

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