Last Monday, I did a workout class at Fhitting Room, the workout class Meghan Markle reportedly goes to. I decided to go because Brooke Alpert, the author of The Diet Detox (a book I am currently reading about why traditional diets are making us all fat), is crazy about it. Now before you ask, no, I did not see Meghan Markle there. Obviously. But I did see my life flash before my eyes numerous times. Here’s my honest review of Fhitting Room.
First of all, the color scheme of the studio is black and green, so I kind of worried for a second that I was walking into an Herbalife pitch, but that’s probably just because I spent my weekend bingeing Betting On Zero. To be clear, there was no MLM involved—I just spend too much of my free time googling multi-level marketing companies. Otherwise, I walked into the room where the class was held and saw kettlebells, resistance bands hanging from the ceiling, those bikes with the moving handles that create a bunch of wind, and other stuff that generally signaled “interval boot camp-type class.” I should have guessed it by the name, but I tend to go into these (and most) experiences like a wide-eyed newborn baby. Due to a bad experience at another interval boot camp-type class that will not be named (*cough* Body Space Fitness), I was triggered. I re-evaluated my life and my choices and wondered what I’d willingly signed myself up for, other than probable death.
There were two instructors (mine were a guy and a girl—I feel like the girls’ name was Trixie or Lacey or some name that all female trainers have), so as Say Yes to the Betch already said, there was no room to hide. And these instructors didn’t let you hide, either. It was like from the moment you walked in, they immediately pinpointed your biggest insecurity and playfully called you out on. Like, I hate being put on the spot or drawing attention to myself in any capacity, so the guy instructor immediately came over and gave me a hug. Naturally. One of my friends who attended the class with me has really tight hips that she’s apparently insecure about, so the instructors commented on it also. Other than their ability to pick up on everyone’s weaknesses with the acuity of a group of popular 13-year-olds, the instructors were actually very nice and upbeat, and once the workout got started, they didn’t push anyone to go harder than they could and didn’t embarrass anyone for taking a quick breather. They were also really willing to help the struggling people (me) who couldn’t figure out how to do the moves or suggest modifications to make them easier.
The class started, and I died during the warm-up. I’d like to take this time to say that I go to the gym and least three times a week, and I’m not just Snapchatting on the mat just so I don’t feel like I’m wasting $20 a month, but clearly whatever I’m doing at the gym ain’t shit.
Not sure if I’ve communicated this effectively enough so far, but the class itself literally killed me. Yes, literally. I’m currently writing this from beyond the grave. Heaven is exactly like San Junipero. Anyway. We did two circuits at a bunch of various stations, like battle ropes, a ski machine, kettlebell swings, and other shit that seemed like it was designed in a medieval torture chamber. I would say my favorite part was when they periodically dimmed the lights without informing us they were doing that, so I wasn’t sure if I was slowly blacking out. As a fun trivia fact, passing out in public is one of my top three fears (there was one time on Yom Kippur when I fainted in the lobby of my synagogue mere minutes before the fast was due to end). The moves themselves were pretty easy to get the hang of, and judging by my inability to move my limbs for days after, they were extremely effective.
After the intervals, there was one final death push at the end, followed by stretching. The air must have been infused with some kind of drug because immediately after I left the class, I wanted to book another one. I got a really good workout—the endorphins were pumping right after I left, and like I said, I was sore for a good two days. I always measure the effectiveness of a workout by my muscle soreness. Is that a good way to do it? I don’t know.
My main criticism of the class was that the circuits weren’t planned out as well as I thought they could have been. For one, there was a group of stations, and when they were explaining how to do each one it was like, “Okay, so this group is doing push-ups over here. But don’t stand one inch to the right because you’ll get hit in the face with the battle ropes, and don’t stand one inch to the left because you might get hit in the face with a kettlebell.” Call me crazy, but I prefer my workout classes without a serious risk of bodily injury except for the injury I may inflict upon myself by doing the moves incorrectly. The other thing was that the stations were organized in such a way that you didn’t really get a break. You’d do like, three arm stations in a row and by the second one your arms were Jell-O so by the third one, I was just devising how to do the bare minimum while still giving the appearance of participating. I feel like they should have switched it up a bit so I could have done my arms, then legs while my arms recovered a little bit, and so on.
Overall I really enjoyed the class and already want to go again, like the psychopath/glutton for punishment I am. If some rich benefactor reading this wants to gift me the money to attend unlimited Fhitting Room classes, let me know and I will include my Venmo handle in the comments.
If you’ve read my articles in the past, you may already know that when it comes to health and fitness trends, I’m down for anything. I’ve tried every extreme fad from Intermittent Fasting, to Kourtney Kardashian’s supplement routine, to basically all of Gigi Hadid’s favorite workout classes. Anything’s fair game. I live in New York City and there are bizarre workout classes at every turn, so when I first heard of this new Shock Therapy workout that uses Electric Muscle Stimulation to shock your muscles, I obviously signed up immediately. The experience was one of a kind and I’d like to share every detail.
Before you start attacking me about the legitimacy of this workout, let’s establish that EMS training (aka the shock therapy workout) is actually pretty well known in Europe, and while it’s new to America, it’s been popular in other countries for a while now. In fact, some celebs even travel abroad to make shock therapy workout classes a central point in their trip. I mean, Romee Strijd literally swears by it, so I think we can all get on board with her. (I heard she does car commercials… in Japan.) Other celebs who do EMS training include Ashley Graham, Roger Federer, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Penelope Cruz. Some people claim the science behind it hasn’t been universally confirmed, but nonetheless, it’s a 30-minute class and the concept is fucking weird, so I thought I’d give it a shot anyway.
Shock Therapy, also known as EMS (electric muscle stimulation) training, is designed to stimulate the nerves that make your muscles contract, so your body is basically doing a lot more work than you’re actually putting in. The claim is that you’re getting the results of a three hour workout condensed into one half-hour because of these electrical impulses that are activating 90% of your body’s muscles *at once.* This is accomplished by wearing a special power suit that connects your muscles to a machine that “supercharges” your body through EMS. For reference, in a usual bootcamp-style class, your muscles will contract somewhere between 3000-6000 times, but in this half hour shock therapy workout, the technology allows your muscles to contract anywhere between 36,000 to 45,000 times. It’s shocking. Literally.
I looked into a specific studio that just opened and has been starting to get some recent press, so I bravely took the risk of signing up even without any Yelp reviews available. Thanks to social media, I learned that Ashley Benson and I are pretty much pioneers of the place, and I’d like to get that in writing, please. After stalking the website and reading about the EMS method benefits, I reserved a spot in the 10am shock therapy workout class and managed to drag a friend along. Poor girl. She was even hungover that morning.
We showed up in our usual workout attire, but we were immediately told we would need to change into the studio’s plain black long-sleeve shirt and leggings they handed to us as we arrived. I was pretty pissed about this because I wore my favorite Bandier two-piece set, but whatever. We got dressed and were then buckled into our “power suits,” which felt like some heavy wet suit you would wear to go swimming with dolphins or something. It felt super bulky and tight, and yes, it was wet. Apparently the electrical impulses connect better to your muscles that way. I shrugged and went along with it.
The classes cap at six people to ensure personal attention, and you definitely get that. Like, our instructor couldn’t have been nicer and more attentive. But then again, at $55 a class it would kinda suck to be ignored. When we got into the room, our power suits were turned on and suddenly the whole “shock” part made sense. It kinda felt like I had little firecrackers all over my body. It wasn’t painful, but more like a full-body tingling. The instructor even asked us if we wanted to turn up the resistance on certain body parts to feel the burn in specific places. I told him to raise the resistance on my legs and abs, which I ended up regretting the next day when I was too sore to sit down or laugh.
The actual workout wasn’t too difficult, but this goddamn wetsuit with the shocking technology made everything a thousand times harder. We went through a few different circuits, first doing bodyweight moves like squats and high knees, and then peddling the shit out of these Airdyne bikes—which, by the way, are like spin bikes that ate three edibles and can’t get off the couch. This thing makes your Peloton bike look like a toddler’s plastic tricycle.
By the time the class was over, I wouldn’t say I felt completely defeated, but it definitely kicked my ass more than I thought it would. I mean, it’s not like my hands were too shaky to reach for my water bottle (see me separately about my first Tone House experience), but I was pretty dead. I apologized to the instructor for saying “fuck” 50 more times than the average New Yorker, and I unbuckled my wet suit and bounced.
Overall, I’d say this was a cool experience but I’ll probably never go back. I mean, not only because I’d go broke after a few more sessions, but because it seemed like more of a one-time experiment than a regular workout spot. Also, I really don’t think I can bring myself to putting that power suit on my body again without experiencing some sort of PTSD. It was a good workout and I was sore the next day, but it’s hard to say if the whole EMS magic really lives up to its claims. So, I won’t be booking another shock therapy workout class right now, but I’m happy I did it.
(For the record, Ashley Benson, if you’re reading this, I’d go back with you if you’re down.)
Images: Chris Fanning / Shock Therapy, Giphy (5)