German fitness company My30Minutes is now open in Dubai and claims to help clients tone up in just half an hour. Holly Sands learns some more about the firm’s electrifying claims and gives the service a go.
Judging by the number of new fitness clubs and gyms opening in Dubai, there still aren’t enough exercise outlets to satisfy demand. Every month, at least one new temple to muscle toning throws open the doors, declaring themselves to offer something different to the rest. German export My30Minutes is the latest to join the ranks, setting up shop on Al Wasl Road in Jumeirah 1. The claim? To offer a 20-minute training session that delivers the equivalent results of 18 workouts in the gym (for the mathematicians out there, five minutes’ setup and five minutes’ wind-down add up to the advertised 30 minutes).
Determined to know just what 18 sessions in the gym feels like, my inner masochist arranges an appointment to try a session. Upon arrival, Mehdi Ayari, the centre’s Tunisian manager, explains how the workout manages to be so unbelievably effective: the sessions involve donning a special Lycra outfit and vest, before being plugged into the Miha Bodytec – a machine that delivers electromuscular stimulation (EMS). In other words, the muscles in your thighs, glutes, abs, back and arms are forced to tense, while you perform low-impact exercises, such as lunges.
Mehdi himself has become part of the company’s pitch, having allegedly lost 40kg as a result of doing two sessions every week for ten months. As he flashes me the before and after pictures on his iPad, the aesthetic difference is certainly startling.
Jemima Steinhart, the German founder and owner appears beside me and introduces herself. Despite the centre only having been open a week, the client list is already growing, particularly among female Emirati clients, who she notes have been tipping one another off about the concept. Jemima herself is another success story, claiming to have used the programme to tone up. Before joining the fitness industry, she admits to having spent much of her childhood and teens overweight, as a result of coming from a ‘fat family’.
For my first session, Jemima runs me through a short, five-minute workout. The sensation is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, with my muscles being tensed for four seconds every other four seconds. At first it feels ticklish, but Jemima demonstrates that the power can be turned up to the point where it almost takes my breath away.
Fast forward to the next evening, and I realise my glutes and triceps feel incredibly stiff, a sensation that is even more pronounced the next morning.
According to Jemima, most of her clients so far are amazed by the results, and their love of sharing snaps has helped spread the word. ‘I’ve never found anything as efficient – it fits perfectly here where people are suffering from the effects of fast food diets and laziness.’
Dhs150 trial, Dhs500 single session, packages available. My30Minutes, just after Life Pharmacy, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 1 (04 385 5353).
What the trainers are saying
Two Dubai personal trainers weigh in on the technology ‘I put electromuscular stimulation in the same category as most other alternative health strategies: If it worked, it would be mainstream. Exercise is still exercise, diet is still diet – people are always looking for shortcuts, but there is no getting around it. I think EMS ignores the psychological benefits of exercise. Do something difficult, and you feel accomplished. Sometimes that’s more important than the actual workout. That said, I do think it’s a viable strategy for special circumstances such as rehab, or with limited movement individuals.’ Nick Bismack, co-owner and head trainer.
Pride Fitness Center, Al Quoz (055 663 2124).
‘Electromuscular stimulation is a well-supported tool in the rehabilitation of athletic injuries. However, many research studies conclude that EMS combined with low-impact exercises doesn’t develop greater strength, muscle size or functional capacity than traditional strength training exercises in the gym.’ Bernadette Abraham, personal trainer and Adidas ambassador.