It’s been quiet on the Fitphernalia front of late. But I haven’t forgotten you or instantly donned my tiger onesie and refused to move from the sofa since autumn hit. No, I’ve been stateside in California – possibly the healthiest place on the planet – exploring the exciting new fitness crazes sweeping La La Land and beyond. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing my pick of the top ones to know about, name drop, and petition the founders to bring to the UK. First up, something with a touch of the sci-fi about it…
IOBELLA: LA’S HOTTEST NEW WORKOUT (LITERALLY)
WHAT? You exercise in a clear ‘pod’ that’s heated to 37°C (your natural body temperature), using resistance straps to do moves such as bicep curls and leg raises. The workout is tailored to you (where you store fat is analysed before you start) and is delivered one-on-one by a trainer. Post-shower you’re sealed in another pod-like ‘oxygen cabin’ where you’re surrounded by O3, or ‘triple oxygen’, which promises to improve the tone of your skin.
WHY? The heat in the first pod maximises fat and calorie burn, while boosting metabolism. The O3 in the second penetrates your skin to eliminate toxins, reducing the appearance of cellulite. Apparently.
WHAT IS IT LIKE? After having my wobbly bits pinched with ‘tongs’, while in my bra and pants (for shame!) I was informed that my thighs were the main areas where I stored fat. (Sad face). So my trainer focussed on – a.k.a. destroyed – them. I was worried I’d feel woozy in the heated pod, but for most of the moves your head sticks out of a hole in it. So while your body is a sweat-fest, feeling faint is not an issue. The workout is hard – think 20-something reps a time – but the whole thing is over in 30 minutes. By which time I was sold.
I’m more sceptical about how the 03 element works. Can years of stubborn lemon peel really respond to warm air being puffed at it? That’s where it got all a bit too ‘LA’ for me. But relaxing in the chamber with a cooling cucumber eye mask and earphones pulsing out calming music for 15 minutes made me forget the hard work bit and come out feeling like I’d spent an hour at the spa. So for that, it’s kind of brilliant.
WHERE TO DO IT? Originally invented in Switzerland 40 years ago, it landed in LA’s Santa Monica (via Italy and Argentina) in 2012 – and there’s been a serious buzz about it ever since. There are currently no plans to expand in the UK, but here’s hoping. Still, as it costs around $125 a pop, at least for now you can afford your rent. In the meantime about the closest you can get is hot pod yoga or running the hot tap while doing sit-ups on your bath mat. But that would just be weird.