When I heard that there was a piece of technology in town that promised not only to tone muscles, but to do so in half the time a gym session would normally take, I started feeling excited. When I also heard that Madonna is rumoured to be a fan, I dug out my trainers – and when I found out that the person showing me the equipment was to be a hunky instructor named Sebastian, I was on my way out the door… But then I found out that it involved doing squats on a vibrating machine.

After determinedly casting aside the horrific visions floating before me, which mainly involved my spare tyre wobbling out of control and knocking innocent bystanders off their treadmills, I hit the gym to check this piece of wonder-kit out. The theory is that the Power Plate, which oscillates between 30 and 50 times a second, naturally causes your muscles to contract in reaction to the unusual motion. The result? A sweatless workout that takes a fraction of the time of a regular toning session. So far, so good.

Gamely climbing onboard the innocuous-looking bit of kit, Sebastian told me that I’d be holding various different toning poses for one-minute periods. First up, the dreaded squat. I got into position, and Sebastian hit the button, the machine immediately whirring to life like a particularly powerful pneumatic drill. By the end of that first minute, I was feeling a little achy, but nothing to write home about. ‘Wow, this is the easiest way to lose weight ever!’ I thought – not realising that things were about to get a whole lot tougher. On my second exercise, which was also a thigh-toner, I got the burn so bad I thought my quads were about to spontaneously combust in a juddering explosion of beer and late-night manakish grease.

Next came a cellulite-melting pose, which involved having a nice sit down, my rear end rippling peace-fully away like jelly at a brunch. Burning fat while sitting on my arse? Great – until Sebastian struck up a conversation. As I chatted back, I became acutely aware of the fact that my face was reverberating at about 100kph, my second chin doing something entirely different from my first. Not a good look.

The good news was, though, that by the end of the session I genuinely felt that my muscles had worked hard, but I wasn’t too tired to hop on the treadmill. The even better news was that it wasn’t free: my spare tyre had behaved itself, so I had no choice but to give up and go home, comforting myself as I tucked into dinner with the knowledge that I would have done more exercise if I could… Maybe…
The Power Plate is available at the gym at The Harbour Hotel & Residence in the Dubai Marina. Call 04 319 4000 to book. Costs Dhs180 for a 60 minute session.