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'The pulsing current means the simplest exercises become excruciatingly difficult'

Exerceo class

The blurb:

Exerceo—the name conjures up an image of personalised workouts tailored to the time-critical demands of city CEOs honing their Christian Grey torsos, sweat glistening like the sheen on the leather seat of a Lamborghini… Or is that just me? Anyway, the reality is decidedly different. It is personal tuition, fast-paced and results-based, with electric shocks and lots of straps and buckles—very popular in Germany apparently.

An electric current is conducted to all your major muscle groups via electrodes built into a specially designed suit, which you wear for the 25 minute session. The pulsing current goes deep, working layers of muscle mass you never knew existed. Cardio, weight loss, toning and bashing the dreaded cellulite—this programme claims to tackle it all.

The process:

The studio is in a little mews street just opposite the White Horse pub in Parsons Green. As I arrived an ambulance was backing out, blue lights a go-go—not an encouraging sight. Chrissy, the wide-eyed blonde instructor—with buns clearly made, if not of steel, then some sort of high-density polystyrene—zipped through the health check, pausing only to ask if I had any electric plates in my body. ‘Why?’ I enquired querulously. ‘Oh, because sometimes people can feel them move,’ she replied breezily. I gulped nervously as she chivvied me into the changing rooms. Conveniently they provide all the kit—so no carting a gym bag about. Clad in black T-shirt and leggings I trotted obediently over to the studio.

If bondage is your thing you’re definitely going to like the suit. Chrissie proceeded to spray water over the electrodes inside the waistcoat and shorts. Putting it on somewhat gingerly, the whole caboodle was pulled tight and secured with an array of nylon straps and clips until I was firmly swaddled. Catching sight of my reflection in the mirrored wall of the studio, I resembled a small, slightly alarmed-looking, beetle.

Movement felt somewhat restricted, but before I had time to mumble that perhaps I’d changed my mind, Chrissy grabbed two substantial-looking wires and plugged me in. Striding over to the machine she sparked it up and cranked those dials until I was humming like a bird on the wrong sort of wire. It can best be described as a deep pulsing prickle, and if I’m honest not an entirely pleasant sensation—even my wrists were vibrating, but on the inside—just weird!

To the accompaniment of pounding music we were off. Reps of squat thrusts, lunges with kettle bells, press ups and sit ups. It was high energy stuff with the current coming in ten-second bursts followed by a mere four seconds of alleged recovery time. Your muscles are essentially being blasted with a barrage of shocks—think ‘Slendertone’ on steroids.

The results are extraordinary—somehow the pulsing current means the simplest exercises become excruciatingly difficult. A session of repeated running on the spot reduced me to a grimacing wreck. Closing my eyes with effort, my fried brain forgot I was supposed to be staying still and I stumbled forward like a newborn Frankenstein, crashing into the machine. Chrissy looked shocked and nervously gathered up the cables to avoid any further incident.

Panting and gasping, I was praying for the end. ‘Now for relaxation,’ said Chrissy, who seemed to be enjoying controlling those dials, ‘You’ll love this bit’. I lay on the floor and then—whoomph!—the current pulsed through me and I was flapping like a dying fish on a marble slab. My hand jerked involuntarily ‘Is this usual?’ I gasped. ‘Oh yes,’ replied Chrissy, ‘I’ve seen people’s arms waving like snakes’. Truly I couldn’t say it was relaxing, but at least I got to lie down for a bit.​

Finally she turned the machine off and wrenched out the cords. I clambered out of the suit tomato-cheeked with high-voltage hair. ‘Thank you… err ch, cha, err… Cherry, or is it Cheryl?’—brain completely gone. ‘Chrissy,’ she replied brightly, before zooming off to usher in the next client.

I collapsed on to the bench in the changing rooms convulsed in hysterical giggles. This went on for an unusually long time, verging on hysteria I’d say; apparently it’s the endorphins, happy hormones, generated by all those volts. It took all my effort to get changed—I have never done a workout quite like it. I felt slightly sick but weirdly euphoric. Showering was exhausting, drying myself a trial and the walk to Parsons Green tube seemed longer than the last 100 metres of an oxygen-free Everest ascent.

The results:

‘You will ache,’ warned Chrissy, and she was right. The following day was tolerable but the next I felt like I’d been kicked in the thigh by a carthorse. All sorts of muscle groups I never knew existed reared their ugly heads and screamed. Apparently it’s the equivalent of a 90-minute workout condensed into 25—the only problem being you’re too exhausted to really enjoy that extra hour you’ve just gifted yourself and will probably spend it whimpering on the floor of a pub while your closest friends tea spoon you a soothing mug of Chablis. Hold a glass? I could barely scratch my nose. If pain means gain then this is a winner.

A trial session costs nothing, so try it—I dare you. You’ll be hooked on those happy hormones before you know it.

The details

Trial sessions are free, after that sessions cost from £35 to £50, depending on how long a course is booked.

Absolute Studios, Unit G, 19 Heathman’s Rd, SW6; 0207 205 4285; www.exerceotraining.co.ukhello@exerceotraining.co.uk

Tried & Tested |