Fitness aficionados will know that getting a set of chiseled abs requires more than just white-knuckling through cardio and compound exercises. The adored yet elusive feature is largely determined by an individual's body fat percentage. Even if you have an tremendous core strength, it would not translate into a six-pack. They just wouldn't show up even if you add in more ab work into your routine; like getting back together with an ex that adds (abs)olutely zilch to the relationship. On the contrary, as someone who had visible abs his whole life, mustering 30 sit-ups during IPPT is like starring in the next Mission Impossible sequel.
The popular “abs are made in the kitchen” mantra thus makes a whole lot of sense. You need to be disciplined enough to count your calories and fats meticulously, making sure that your BF percentage hovers around 7-12%. But is that truly sustainable in a long run, especially when the festive month is just around the corner? What if there is a treatment that could burn off stubborn tummy fats while simultaneously strengthen your abdominals?
EmSculpt does exactly that. The non-invasive body-shaping treatment utilises high-intensity focused electromagnetic field technology to create intense contractions that penetrate the skin to blast adipose and build muscle tissues. The contractions mimic the engagement of your muscles when performing a standard crunch and greatly shortens the time you spend in the gym—approximately 20000 crunches in 30 minutes. The treatment supposedly enhances lipolysis or fat metabolism which burns fats in the process as the influx of fatty acids permanently kills off any latent and stubborn abdominal adipose tissues.
Sounds too good to be true right? So we spoke to Dr. Ewen Chee, co-founder of The Chelsea Clinic to find out more about the science behind the wondrous muscle building technology.
ESQ: The festive season is a good excuse to overindulge in food and alcohol, are there any side effects from doing so?
DR. CHEE: While the end of year spells a celebration that calls for good food, it is important that everything should be eaten in moderation; too much of everything is bad. Overeating gives you indigestion and also piles up calories and sugars in your body. This results in a prolonged and sustained weight gain and can lead to long-term health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Excessive alcohol binging can lead to intoxication and have serious health implications in the future.
ESQ: Any ways to minimise these side effects?
DR. CHEE: It is alright to let loose occasionally as I love indulging in wine too. However, the key is to control your intake. If beer bellies are of concern, you could always try EMSCULPT, the world’s one and only FDA-Approved body sculpting treatment that burns fat and builds muscles at the same time.
ESQ: Speaking of EmSculpt, is it a replacement for ab workouts? How should we maximise the results?
DR. CHEE: EmSculpt can be seen as an alternative for a good old-fashioned workout at the gym. EmSculpt uses high intensity focused electromagnetic fields to stimulate muscle contraction in the abs. Each 30-minute session induces supramaximal contractions that equate to 20,000 sit-ups. A treatment plan of 4 sessions within 2 weeks is highly recommended to increase muscle mass, strength, and tone. Results will usually peak within 1-2 months after the fourth treatment when combined with mindful eating and/or regular exercise.
ESQ: CoolSculpting is another popular treatment for weight management. How do we decide whether CoolSculpting or EmSculpt is more suitable for our own body types and lifestyle?
DR. CHEE: While both treatments are non-invasive and have zero downtime, they work differently to help manage body weight. EmSculpt builds muscles and tightens the waist while decreasing fat in the buttock and the abdomen while CoolSculpting decreases fat in any part of the body, even the double chin.
The technology implemented in both treatments varies as well. EmSculpt uses High-Intensity Focused Electro-Magnetic (HIFEM) while CoolSculpting uses cryolipolysis to freeze the fat. The average fat loss for EmScuplt is 19% while increasing muscle mass by 16%. On the other hand, CoolSculpting offers up to 23% of fat loss which is visible 3 months after a single session.
CoolSculpt targets difficult areas such as love handles, muffin tops, upper arms, and hips while the latter burns fat, tone and strengthen the abdominal muscle or firm the buttocks. You need to complete 4 sessions of EmScuplt within 2 weeks, while CoolSculpting could be done once a month until satisfied.
ESQ: Are the muscle gains from EmSculpt temporary? What should we do to keep our gains?
DR. CHEE: EmSculpt permanently destroys fat cells via an increase in fat metabolism. However, weight gain can cause remaining cells to grow. Muscle mass is not permanent and can only last for 6 months or longer. For maintenance, we recommend patients to come back for treatments 6 months after their 4th session. It is definitely not a substitute for a healthy and balanced lifestyle. There is no way it will transform an out of shape person into a toned athlete overnight. You should cultivate good habits of eating right and incorporating exercise to maintain your figure.
EmSculpt is not a walk in a park. If you do decide to get the treatment, prepare to feel some discomfort in the treatment area. Dr. Chee forewarned that it feels like an intense workout; as if your muscles are on the verge of cramping up. One of his assistants quipped that it feels almost like labour pain. As uncomfortable as it sounds, the body should quickly adapt to the foreign sensation within the first two sessions. After four sessions, I could say that the contractions were bearable and the results were pretty convincing. It'd be perfect for bodybuilders having a hard time with their stubborn belly as a supplement to their current workouts or even as a precautionary treatment for beer and food bellies when the season of food gorging begins.
Would I be back again? Hopefully not, as I'm determined even more so to keep what I have.
A package of 4 EmSculpt sessions is priced at SGD4000 at The Chelsea Clinic, located at 501 Orchard Rd, 05-08A, Singapore 238880.