nope, it’s not the new version of beauty and the beast (though the plan is that it helps the beast turn into the beauty) – it’s the latest craze in easy weight loss.
Whilst I’ve always been relatively skeptical of gimmicks to lose weight easily (if it were that easy, surely we’d all be doing it), I’ve also been eager to try them. You gotta be innit to winnit right? And let’s face it, years of working out and dieting (you name the diet, I’ve done it) have made me relatively happy with my body, but there’s always something to improve. In my case it’s the tummy. My stomach most be the most persistently flabby area of a body known to humanity. Therefore, when I read about the hypoxi and vacunaut systems, I was all over it. I decided to check out HypoxiZone, since it was the most proximate to my work and I thought my boss might like to let me go there at lunchtimes …
sounds weird. what is it?
They’re types of machine. Basically, depending on which particular area of your body you want to whittle away, you can choose to do twelve sessions of hypoxi (bums and thighs) or twelve sessions of the vacunaut (waists and tummies) and the idea is that over the 12 sessions (13 if you do a taster too), then the fat around the problem area breaks up and disappears – for good.
If you chose hypoxi (which seems to be the most popular, judging by the number of people I’ve seen doing each) you change into your normal gym kit and get strapped into a sort of skirt-type thing. That skirt then attaches to a machine which looks exactly like half an egg, and you get all sealed in. After that, you pedal away gently for 30 minutes while the machine works its magic on your bum and thighs.
I’m quite happy with my bum and thighs (I subscribe to the Sir Mix-A-Lot school of thought when it comes to bums) so I didn’t feel the need to try this, but the people doing it look very chilled out during the process, reading magazines and in one case falling asleep. Looks kinda fun. I could use some extra sleep.
The vacunaut works on your tummy, so it was right up my street. From the outside, it looks exactly like you put on a wetsuit, get plugged into a petrol pump, and walk on a treadmill. From the inside, it feels exactly like you put on a wetsuit, you plugged into a petrol pump, and walk on a treadmill. However, the wetsuit is unbelievably tight (you can barely move your arms or legs) and it does feel very restrictive at first. Once you get used to it though, it loosens up and you look – and feel – a bit less as though you’ve been put in a body cast.
You’re meant to go at a speed which keeps your heartrate in the fat-burning zone – so no breathlessness, and definitely no hard-core jogging. For me, I was meant to keep it at around 145 bpm, but that’s basically impossible for me unless I run because walking just can’t get it up high enough (I want to believe that’s ’cause I’m fit, but I suspect some other factor is at play). I did manage to keep it over 120 by making the incline on its highest level and pumping up the speed to – oooh – 6.5kph. Speedy. Apparently that’ll be okay – if I’d run, my muscles would’ve been using sugar instead of fat for energy and it wouldn’t've been as effective. Okey-dokey then – taking it easy it is. I can do that. I’m even really good at taking it easy – I got practice.
The petrol pump tubes also do weird things. They give off electrical pulses which feel as though giant unseen hands are massaging your tummy from top to bottom in rolls. It’s actually quite nice although really peculiar to start with! But massages are good. People pay for them and this machine gives you one for free and burns your fat. What’s not to like?
The half-hour passed pretty quickly and I signed up for a course after today’s taster. Naturally I don’t think I’ve lost any fat from it at all, but it was only one go – bring on the other 12! I’ll report back on my progress as I get on – I haven’t had my first day measurements yet but when I do I’ll post them and then compare them to my results at the end. Simples!