When it comes to creating sustainable health improvements, there are no magic bullets or quick fixes. Unless you’re a member of Shock Therapy – a workout studio that uses Electro Muscle Stimulation to safely condense the benefits of three hours of exercise into one 30-minute class.
New York has its fair share of unusual fitness concepts, from a refrigerated studio to a workout with bungee bands, but Shock Therapy is in a league of its own. It’s a semi-private class which utilizes a technology called Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) to contract and release 300 muscles simultaneously and consistently. Most exercise moves are designed to isolate a specific set of muscles. Performing them with the addition of EMS keeps the muscles firing at all times, making it an incredibly efficient full-body workout.
Shock Therapy founder Esra Cavusoglu, who was previously working as a psychologist and entrepreneur in Istanbul, was amazed by how quickly EMS gave her the body she wanted.
“I’m almost 47 and I’m very muscly so whenever I was doing hardcore workouts to get thinner I would find myself getting bulkier,” she explains. “When I found EMS it was like a magical pill to me, because it didn’t make me bulky but very defined. When I saw the type of muscle fibers the machine activates and the way it affects your posture, it made sense why I benefited from the system.”
EMS has a substantial presence in Europe, but Cavusoglu couldn’t find a studio in her current home of New York. She decided to pour her own money into devising the first wireless, group-fitness EMS concept and launched it on the Upper East Side in early 2018.
When you arrive at the studio you’re handed a pair of special undergarments – a black long-sleeved top and matching capri leggings. Once you’ve pulled those on the instructor hoses down a Power Suit – an all-in-one that looks a bit like sci-fi body armor – fastening its zippers and velcro straps around your body.
The room is dark aside from a few spotlights and a large screen with a male avatar who will be demonstrating each move. Our instructor turns on the EMS system and adjusts the power until we feel comfortable but still challenged. It’s a strange sensation. A strong vibrating and pulsing that’s completely beyond my control.
As we perform basic compound exercises like squats, hamstring curls, rows and lunges, everything is firing. There’s no opportunity for a single muscle fiber to be lazy. We diligently copy the avatar as our instructor corrects for alignment, and suddenly half an hour is up. I’ve hardly broken a sweat but my body is warm and fired. I can tell I’ll be sore tomorrow, which is why Shock Therapy recommends taking a day or two between sessions to ensure proper recovery.
“It’s much safer, it doesn’t hurt your joints, you don’t over-exhaust yourself in a short time, but you get a lot of benefits from it,” Cavusoglu explains. “I see us as an incredible complementary support to people, whatever type of fitness activities they have. If you are a runner in Central Park, it will make your core much stronger and give your muscles more endurance. If you’re going to SLT [megaformer studio] it will protect your lower back and your arms will be stronger.”
She also believes Shock Therapy can be a great asset to those who aren’t fitness obsessed but want to improve their overall health in way that doesn’t disrupt their schedule. In New York, where time is a luxury, squeezing an effective workout into two or three 30-minute sessions a week is ideal. Perhaps it’s even worth the cost of $55 per class.
Those who claim they’re just too busy to workout are going to need a new excuse.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.