I tried a bodysuit that promises a better workout through electrocution, and here’s what happened

I tried a bodysuit that promises a better workout through electrocution, and here’s what happened

Want to toughen up your workout? Try electrocuting yourself. That’s (basically) the premise of the Xbody, a techy Hungarian workout suit available for use in Toronto at Lucid Fitness in Yorkville. The suit creates muscle resistance by delivering electric pulses through strategically placed electrodes, making it harder for you to move. I visited Lucid Fitness to see if X-Body is as effective (and as tough) as it purports to be.


The claim

In Hungary, athletes use the Xbody in order to enhance the effectiveness of a typical workout. By applying an electronic surge to the muscle during exertion, the workout ostensibly accomplishes in 20 minutes what would otherwise take two hours.


The cost

$50 to $80 per private session with an instructor, but first-time trials are free.

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The procedure

The Xbody itself is a black bodysuit worn over a skintight black top and bottoms made of a neoprene-polyester-nylon blend—no underthings allowed—with built-in electrodes that align with your body’s major muscle groups (there are extra-large electrodes around the core area). It’s connected either wirelessly or using a magnetic cable to a futuristic-looking white console. The instructor programs a simple workout—curls, planks and pushups—on the console, then waters down the suit to stimulate the charge. When I tried it, Lucid’s gentle instructor warned, “Here it comes” every four seconds before an electric surge sent a contraction my muscles. It was hard.


The result

The Xbody workout is an unpleasant experience: you’re bracing yourself for each zap, trying to use correct form, sweating your butt off and getting electrocuted all at once. But it led to a terrific soreness in my core muscle group that was as satisfying as the workout was grim (despite friendly and patient instructors).


The verdict

I like exercise, but some people view it as torture. After using the Xbody, I get what they mean. I’d be keen to try it again now that I’m familiar with the workout and know what an electronic boa constrictor feels like. It’s uncomfortable, fast—and totally effective.