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Quick fitness boost: Get in shape for Christmas

Written by Fiona October 20 2014

Sorry to mention the “C” word but it’s less than 10 weeks until the big day and many people will see this as a target for getting in shape. While festive season brings with it lots of tempting treats and big meals, it’s also a time for looking good for parties and family get-togethers.

The run up to Christmas is always stupidly busy, which means that exercise sessions can sometimes go by the way side. So what is the solution?

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While I believe that keep fit it best enjoyed all year around and that hard work and consistency reaps the best benefits, I have come across a great fitness workout that does seem to offer speedier results.

You will have no doubt heard of Power Plates. The fitness machine can usually be seen in gyms and gives the body’s muscles a high-speed workout by using vibrations to stimulate them to contract and relax.

Muscles generally contract once or twice a second, but by standing on the Power Plate, its vibrations cause an automatic reflex muscle contraction of 30 to 50 per second.

Power Plate is claimed to be a great time-saver because of the effectiveness of training and the fact that many muscle groups are activated at the same time.

It’s said that 10 minutes on the Power-Plate will have the same results as 60 minutes of conventional strenuous training.

On test: Power Plates work out

Now I can be sceptical of such claims. I’m a bit old-fashioned like that. However, I was willing to put the Power Plates workout to the test. One thing that is worth noting about the Power Plates: For the most effective workout you are better joining a class or being shown how to best use the machine by an expert.

At Fitness Studio EH1 in Edinburgh you’ll find a great Power Plates set up, including small group classes that last only 25 minutes and personal trainers who know how to make best use of these fitness machines.

I was put through a 25-minute power plates session. The workout includes a warm up, a range of exercises to improve strength, flexibility and tone and a cool down.

I was stunned by how quickly my muscles tired with each exercise. For example, I can normally hold a squat position for minutes before feeling a muscle burn but when I was instructed to do this on the Power Plate I started to feel it intensely after only 15 seconds.

The same happened when I held a plank with my feet on the Power Plate, performed a lunge, held a bridge, did triceps dips, sit up etc. The muscles shake associated with fatigue happened so quickly that I could hardly even complete the 10 reps.

The personal trainer was great at keeping me going, however. He gently persuaded me to hold the position just a little longer or complete each reps set. He didn’t push me too far but assessed my ability and cajoled me to get the most out of each exercise.

But still I was sceptical. Although the Power Plats has definitely made me feel like I was getting a great muscle work out I wasn’t convinced this would have any longer term benefits. How could something so short have big benefits?

Later that day and into the next day or two I changed my mind. I know how it feels to have worked my muscles. A long run or bike ride leaves my muscles feeling pleasantly “worked”.

Although the Power Plates workout lasted only 25 minutes and exercised many of my muscles for only a short while in that time I felt that it had given me an excellent strength and toning session.

If you only have one or two 30-minute slots available for exercise each week, Power Plates could be your solution. Make sure you seek professional guidance for the best effects.

The atmosphere at Fitness Studio EH1 is also to be recommended. It was relaxed enough not to feel intimidated. The trainers are friendly and professional. The set up is focused on Power Plates and they know their stuff. Give it a try.

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