Podcast

How Tech Can Help To Get Ripped Abs

20 Minute Fitness Episode #73

This week, the 20 Minute Fitness crew really starts to get ready for summer. Because the #1 summer must-have that will never go out of fashion is your abs. So on today’s episode Charlie gets into some magical products that can help with building the abs of your dreams this summer. 

But of course, it’s important to mention that while all these apps and gadgets are there to support you, they won’t do the work for you. So firstly, lay down the number one rule, which is to burn more calories than what you consume. Secondly, decide in your head that you’ll push hard to see results. 

And finally, press play to learn how technology can help to get those killer abs that will go perfectly with your swimwear!

Three Things You Will Learn

1) Apps For Abs

After you put your nutrients in order, it’s time to hit the gym. But instead of trying to come up with some DIY exercises, download an app and make sure you’re doing everything right. 

How Technology Can Make Your Workouts Fun

The perfect app for this is iMuscle 2, which has won several awards before for a reason. iMuscle 2 is an extremely visual and detailed workout app that uses an anatomically correct 3D human model for illustration purposes. You can for instance identify muscle groups on the model and view specific exercises that target those muscle groups. And of course watch the model completing the exercises to learn the correct form.

Another excellent app is the Daily Ab Workout – Abs Fitness, which specializes in core exercises. The Daily Ab Workout app currently only has a limited number of workouts, but each of them are accompanied by instructional videos and text. This way making sure that each of your moves are on point. 

Tune in to learn more about how you can use each app and which one would fit more your workout routine! 

2) How To Use Electrical Muscle Stimulation

If you feel like going beyond the traditional sense of building muscles at a fairly reasonable price, check out SIXPAD’s Ab Fit 2!

This gadget has 6 wings, which are designed to be fixed to your abs. Through the wings, the device uses electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to create involuntary muscle contractions. All you have to do is stick the specially designed gel sheets onto the wings and you can train your abs anywhere at any time with the SIXPAD Ab Fit 2.

Learn more about why the EMS technique was originally created and why SIXPAD’s device is superior to other EMS devices! 

3) The FDA Approved Abs Building

Finally, if you’re ready to drop a larger amount on your sculpting the perfect abs, EmSculpt will be your solution. 

EmSculpt is an FDA approved technique that supposedly builds muscle and burn fat at the same time. It makes use of high intensity focused electromagnetic field technology. This technology creates a rapidly changing magnetic field that induces electric currents in the tissue causing concentric contractions with the target muscles. 

Read The Ultimate Guide To Killer Abs

During the EmSculpt treatment your abs are exposed to supramaximal contractions which increase the workload and forces your muscle tissues to adapt & respond. As a result the technique claims to have outstanding results of 20% body fat reduction and 15% abdominal muscle increase in as short as 2 weeks.

Press play to hear more about the EmSculpt, where you can get the treatment, and what the skeptics & the users say!


THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSOR: PROFOUND-PERFORMANCE

Profound Performance have been formulating and producing innovative and cutting-edge nutrients, supplements and health products since 2001. Regardless of your chosen sport, exercise or training, their unique supplements allow your body to work to its optimum performance.

Visit www.profound-performance.com to order your supplements today and start living a healthier life tomorrow


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Full Transcript

00:05 Speaker 1: Hello and welcome back to another episode of 20 Minute Fitness, the How Technology Can Help series. As we know, summer is right around the corner so for me, obviously, that means starting to maintain a caloric deficit, increasing the level of cardio I do and trying to lean down. So it’d be interesting to know who else is looking to work on their summer body, lean down and get those abs they’ve always dreamed of. Well, if that’s you, then this episode should help because this week we are looking at how technology can help you to get killer abs for summer. But before we dive into the episode, don’t forget, if you are finding this information useful and you want to get those killer abs for summer, then please don’t forget to give us a five star rating on iTunes. It will only take you five seconds, you literally have to go on to the podcast app, click the five stars, it’s as quick as that but it obviously goes a very long way for us. So if you could do that, we would be very, very appreciative indeed.

00:56 S1: And then obviously, if you want to get notified when the next episode of 20 Minute Fitness goes live, then you can subscribe in whichever podcast player you listen to your podcasts on. Before we dive into the episode, it is of course important to say that 20 Minute Fitness is powered by ShapeScale. ShapeScale is a 3D body scanning scale and you simply step on it and a robotic arm will move all round and up and down your body capturing all sorts of useful body insights. This data will then sync to your app on your phone and it will reveal not only a photorealistic 3D visual of your body but also lots of incredibly detailed body data such as your body fat percentage, your lean muscle mass and your muscle circumferences as well. So it really does make ShapeScale a truly comprehensive fitness tracker. It is now available for pre-order at shapescale.com. So definitely go and check it out.

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01:46 S1: So before we begin, it’s worth mentioning that obviously no technology is going to magically help us reveal our abs without increased efforts on your part. And this effort obviously comes in the form of maintaining a caloric deficit. So obviously that’s expending more energy than we take in. And this can be done by reducing the quantity we eat or increasing the amount of exercise and cardio we do. And this process is obviously not an overnight formula. Generally speaking, we look to lose around one pound of fat per week so that’s about a 3500 calorie deficit per week so 500 calorie deficit per day. And we can’t reveal our abs if we have a layer of fat on top. And so this goes back to the old age saying that abs are made in the kitchen as dieting is often the easiest way to help us reveal our abs rather than trying to do increasing amounts of cardio and exercise and things like that. So if you really want to try and progress towards having a more lean physique, then you need to sort out your diet. It’s also worth noting that genetics also play a massive role in how the shape of our abs look, how pronounced they are and all sorts of that and what extent we get them and so on.

02:51 S1: So in theory, we could actually look at tech that helps us start reducing our body fat so all the calorie contracting apps and calorie counting apps like MyFitnessPal and things like that or Lose It! However, we wanted to broad branch out and consider the tech out there that’s obviously been designed to work your abs. So the tech we’re about to look at will help you to shape and strengthen your core once you’ve obviously lost that fat on top by maintaining a caloric deficit but now let’s start looking at the tech that will help you get those killer abs for summer. So at the low end, again, as usual, the most accessible sort of end of the spectrum, we’re going to start with a couple of apps and the first one is the iMuscle 2. And make sure when you’re looking this up, it is the iPhone edition because they also have an iPad edition. And the iMuscle 2 is extremely detailed and highly visual app. And I got really excited when I looked at this. I’ve not really heard it before but it looks very, very comprehensive and intuitive. It’s received a number of awards such as being recognized as app of the week in previous times by the App Store. It’s also been rated the number one health and fitness app on the App Store during the rewind and it’s been listed as one of TechCrunch’s top 20 apps. So a lot of prestige this app’s already received.

04:01 S1: So within iMuscle 2 you’ll find an anatomically correct model of a human that’s in 3D so you can rotate it much like with a… Obviously ShapeScale’s photorealistic 3D avatar to see the different parts of the body, the back, the front and so on. And you’ll be able to identify particular muscles and view a selection of exercises that will either help you to develop that muscle or work out how to stretch it or if you have an injury, for example, it will help you understand how to do rehabilitation for that muscle as well. And there are 152 muscles mapped within the app, with around 600 suggested exercises for them. So plenty of different exercises to be getting on with as you complete your workouts. These exercises also have the avatar that we mentioned, the anatomically correct avatar complete in the exercises. So you’ll be able to understand how to complete each one with the correct form and there’s also instructions underneath as well if you want to take your time and read and analyze them in that way. You can also look at which muscle groups are targeted so you can look at the primary muscle group. So for example, if you’re doing a chest press, the primary muscle group will be your chest. There’s also going to be the secondary muscle groups, the accessory muscles within that movement, such as the tricep as well. And you can also add your own exercises into the app as well, which is obviously great.

05:11 S1: So not only is this app going to help you develop your body or recover faster, it’s obviously extremely educational as well because you can literally see all the different muscles and the scientific names of the muscles that you never previously knew. Again, another great function is you can also track your workout progress within the app as well and you can see whether you’ve gained muscle or lost body fat and you can see statistics and strength and endurance and calories burned for example for an entire workout, as well as, obviously, during individual exercises as well. So how it would work if you want to train a particular muscle group is you would rotate the model and zoom into the particular area of the body you want to reveal more data for and also to find, in particular, muscles as well. And if you are having trouble locating the muscle you want to train and there’s also filters as well to help you identify exercises quickly and this is based on the area of the body, the equipment used and also the type as well.

06:05 S1: And the interface makes it incredibly simple to actually create your own workout within the app. So if you zoom in and click on the abdominals as obviously we’re looking at how to get killer abs, then you’ll get a number of different exercises suggested that you can do to help strengthen your core. So these might include the V sit-up, the 90 degree crunch or… Or 90 degree wipers, alternate hand to toe, for example, so your leg would in the air and you’re using the opposite hand to the opposite leg to touch each one and all sorts. And you can even have different exercises that involve stability balls as well. And if you don’t want to create your own structured workout there are also preset workouts as well. So if you potentially are more of a novice or you just want to get in there with a pre-existing plan, then there’s an option for you as well to just get in there and crack on. But I definitely recommend checking this out, because it looks really interesting to me, and I’ve actually downloaded it myself. So make sure you do that as well.

07:00 S1: The second app we’re going to look at is, again, fairly obvious, it’s in the name really. It’s called, the Daily Ab Workout-Abs Fitness. So, as you can guess, it’s specifically targeted at towards strengthening your core, and again, an instructional video is presented to show you how to do each exercise, and there’s text underneath as well to help you ensure you get correct form. And there’ll be an on-screen timer as well, so you know how long you should be doing each exercise for. The limitations of the app are that there’s only two different workouts that can be completed. And they both last five to 10 minutes. But if you’re someone like me, who just likes to do a five, 10 minute blast of abs at the end of the odd session, then you can do them in the comfort of your own home. There’s no equipment needed, and obviously, that really presents you with no real excuse that you can use. It’s also good to know that there is some credibility behind the app, because it has been developed by a certified personal trainer, and his aim was to really target all the major abdominal muscles as well.

07:54 S1: Next up, we’re going to look at the sort of a mid-end category of the tech we’re going to consider today, and we’re looking at the Sixpad Abs 2. When you look up online the Sixpad Abs Fit 2, you might instantly recognize it. And this is because there was a viral ad of it being endorsed by Cristiano Ronaldo. So obviously you might have some pre-existing knowledge of what this is, but we’re still going to look into it. So the device basically consists of six wings, that are designed to fit to the abdominal muscles, and it uses electrical muscle stimulation, or EMS, to simulate signals that would normally be transmitted from the brain, to create voluntary contractions to actually create involuntary muscle contraction.

08:34 S1: So EMS technology was actually initially created as a means to stave muscle atrophy in spinal injury sufferers. And it’s also been used for muscle re-education as well for those that were having trouble with muscle contraction. So, for example, that’s stroke suffers. So, how does it work then? So when you put on the Sixpad EMS training gear, you can in theory train your core, obviously anywhere at any time, because you just connect it on and you’re good to go. And this is done by sticking specifically designed, high conductivity gel sheets onto the wings, and obviously they are aligning with the core. And then these result in a reduction in electrical resistance, and the electricity gets delivered to the body evenly with a high level of accuracy. So Toshio Moritani is one of the foremost experts in the field of sport science, and he’s conducted over 40 years of research on the effects of electrical muscle stimulation, and his studies resulted in him discovering that a frequency of 20 Hertz is the most effective in training the muscle when considering electrical muscle stimulation. And when using EMS with a frequency of 20 Hertz, he found that muscle tension is maintained over time, so that ensures sustained training.

09:45 S1: We also know that when we exercise obviously muscles use energy in the form of ATP and consume oxygen. And it was found that more oxygen is consumed and training efficacy was higher at 20 Hertz than any other frequency. And the reason this is important, is that because there are many other EMS devices on the market and they all operate using different frequencies, so when the team behind the Sixpad Abs Fit 2 considered this, they wanted to ensure that they had the most effective means of training, which was obviously to use Toshio Moritani’s expertise and work out that it was 20 Hertz which would result in the most efficient and effective training measure. They’ve created a training program and that was developed under the supervision of Toshio Moritani, and also with Cristiano Ronaldo, and it lasts 23 minutes, and the exercise will basically increase in intensity over time. If you download the Sixpad app you can actually visualize your training, and through the app you can control the level of intensity of the device.

10:40 S1: And what’s quite cool as well is that there’s a questionnaire, which asks you how often you exercise and questions along those lines as well. And his will lead to a personalized training program being created for you of how to use the Sixpad Abs Fit 2 as well. You can even collect badges through the app, which again, adds to your sense of achievement and also keeps you motivated as you want to get more badges than your friends. And within the app as well, you can also track your body weight and BMI, as well as your training. So I wanted as well to look at some more reviews of the Sixpad Abs 2, because I’m quite skeptical about EMS training in general. I remember lots of talk about Slendertone in the past. You might be familiar that as well. And so, I looked into Trusted Reviews, and Richard Easton from Trusted Reviews found that testing the Sixpad Abs for more than two months, he definitely experienced an improvement in strength and conditioning, but he found that the downside was that on top of the around $300 price tag, you need to replace the gels after 30 uses or so, and a set of new gels will set you back $30 per pack. So, as you can imagine, the costs do add up.

11:43 S1: And then I wanted to consider other peer-based reviews on Amazon, and they are very mixed and most of the complaints are really over how flimsy the gel pads are and people complaining it didn’t stick enough. So potentially look into that some more, but there are a number of reviews as well which people have said that they have actually experienced significant muscle gain and their core strengthening as well as a result of the Sixpad Abs Fit 2.

12:11 Speaker 2: This episode of 20-Minute Fitness is brought to you by Profound Performance: Tomorrow’s Supplements Today. Profound Performance have been formulating and producing innovative and cutting-edge nutrients, supplements and health products since 2001. Regardless of your chosen sport, exercise or training, their unique supplements allow your body to work to its optimum performance. Even though I workout four to five times a week, I have actually not been using supplements before, but I got a chance to try out the Profound Performance product, and have been using them for a couple of weeks now and can really feel the difference. It’s like getting an extra energy boost and being able to push harder during every single workout, which is an absolutely amazing feeling. So as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, one of my favorite Profound Performance products was the Boost Pro, but besides the Boost Pro, I’ve actually started to really feel the benefits of the Nitric Pro as well.

12:58 S2: The Nitric Pro is a pre-workout drink that has been scientifically formulated to naturally elicit a strong release of nitric oxide within the body to aid training, endurance, recovery, and a lot more. All you have to do is drink it before exercise, and let your body enjoy the benefits in as short as 30 minutes. So where this product really, really helped me is my bootcamp workouts that include a large proportion of endurance exercise as well, which is usually running. Even though I’ve never been a great runner, since I started drinking the Nitric Pro, I can feel my body performing much better. So if you’re into running, or do any sort of endurance training, I can only recommend this drink. And if you’re not into endurance training, but still live an active life, which you should really do, check out the rest of their products. Simply go to profound-performance.com, and let your body reach its maximum performance. That’s profound-performance.com.

13:50 S1: Moving on to the high end of the spectrum. And we’re looking at something called EMSculpt. So EMSculpt is a professional FDA-approved procedure, that supposedly builds muscle, and burns fat at the same time. Something obviously that is the dream goal of anyone that’s getting into health and fitness as well. So, EMSculpt is based on high-intensity focused electromagnetic field technology and this has the ability to induce super maximal muscle contractions.

14:20 S1: So what’s actually going on here? Well, there’s a rapidly changing magnetic field that induces electric currents in the tissue and it basically causing concentric contractions, where it targets muscles, so during normal voluntary muscle contractions when we’re actually doing it, obviously we’re working out ourselves doing a bicep curl for example, the muscle fibers relax between each nervous stimulus due to the central nervous system’s inability to signal another impulse while the previous one is still in action. However, with EMSculpt, it generates an impulse that’s obviously independent of brain function, and at such a rapid frequency that it wouldn’t actually allow a relaxation phase.

15:00 S1: So, under normal conditions, when we’re actually doing the workouts ourselves, the highest amount of tension that can be developed is called maximal voluntary contraction. But, through EMSculpt, contractions that are sort of a higher tension and the maximal voluntary contraction are called super maximal contractions. And EMSculpt has the ability to generate them and hold them for multiple seconds, obviously, which significantly increases the workload on the muscles, so supposedly when exposed to super maximal contractions, the muscle tissue is forced to adapt and respond and it remodels its inner structure. So there’s gonna be lots of muscle hypertrophy going on here, and there’s also a sort of a synthesis of new muscle fibers and new protein strands and that’s called muscle hyperplasia, and there’s also going to be increased muscle density and volume leading to better definition and greater muscle tone.

15:51 S1: Dr. Ryan Neinstein does EMSculpt procedure in his own practices and he’s a board-certified plastic surgeon and he said the procedure can be uncomfortable, but it’s not too painful. There’s going to be a little soreness after the procedure, but it’s like an intense workout. And after four visits in just two weeks he said his clients often see results. So a clinical study was done of 22 users, and they showed that patients experience an average of 20% reduction in body fat in that time, and also alongside that a 15% increase in muscle in their stomach and bum as well. Naturally, if these results are true, then the procedure is going to be very expensive, it’s actually going to cost for four visits to, for example, Dr. Neinstein’s office, it’s going to cost around $3000. He says, though, within two weeks you should be able to get the equivalent of a year’s worth of gains in your core or your buttocks. He does emphasize, however, that he doesn’t want the procedure to become a sort of substitute for exercise, it’s more supplementary.

16:51 S1: Men’s Health conducted an interview with Dr. Howard Sobel, and he told them that studies showed that it actually increased muscle density by 16% and he obviously offers this treatment himself, at his offices in New York City, but he said that basically the way that it’s breaking down fat is because by causing muscle contractions it causes a release of epinephrine, which helps to break down fat. Next terminology is called lipolysis and Dr. Sobel also found that through the lipolysis the EMSculpt actually helps to reduce fat by up to 19% in his clients.

17:25 S1: Naturally there’s a lot of skepticism about this sort of technology, despite Dr. Neinstein saying he doesn’t want it to be a substitute for exercise, many people might see it as a substitute and say, Russ Greene for example, a Director of Government Relations and Research for CrossFit said he was extremely skeptical despite the fact that the FDA have approved it as well. And I think, personally, based on my understanding of health and fitness as well, I would be inclined to be skeptical about it as well, just because surely we would have heard more about it if it was this revolutionary piece of technology as well.

17:56 S1: Next up, we previously spoken about it in the previous episode on how technology can make your workouts fun, but it also applies significantly here as well, and this is ICAROS, and that was, if you remember correctly, our regular listeners the machine that’s simulating that you’re flying and you’ve got a VR headset on, you’re playing all sorts of different games, and there’s a gyroscope design and it’s helping you to do three-dimensional movements as you fly through rings and things like that, but it’s also an incredibly hard workout.

18:23 S1: So obviously, if you say it’s hard to describe audibly, but you’re lying forward and you’re holding handles and you’re flying through rings and you’re in a plank position, and it’s really focusing on training your multiple muscle groups and your core and your upper body in particular. And they found that actually the ICAROS plank has proven to burn 30% more calories and to double the muscle activity compared to an ordinary plank. So, again, it fits in very well here, we are talking about the different bits of technology that can help you get killer abs for summer.

18:57 S1: Unfortunately, that’s all we have time for. I hope some of these different bits of tech might make you consider the fact that summer’s coming around the corner, and that it’s time for us all to start really focusing on getting that summer body. I know I will be. So do let us know if you’re well on your way if you’ve started your cut, if you’re already trying to lose some weight, or if you’re ignoring the fact that it’s summer around the corner or if it’s not your summer season are you still looking to bulk, would be very interested to know what are your plans, how do you usually cut, do you have a routine you usually stick by? Do you incorporate other bits of tech that we haven’t listed here. We’ll be very interested to know. If you have found some of this tech useful and you are enjoying this series, again, please do not forget to head over to our podcast and click the five-star rating, it will take a matter of seconds, but it’s extremely beneficial for us. So thank you very much for listening, and we look forward to the next one.

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Lilla Laczo

Lilla is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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