Katalyst Fitness opened in downtown Kirkland (127 Lake St, next to Via Lago) on October 12th and I have been lucky enough to try it a few times. This is unlike any other workout you have experienced. It is a personalized experience using Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) which gives you a full body workout that engages over 90% of your muscle fibers in only 20 minutes. Yeah, really. It kinda feels like you're cheating!
So here's the low-down on how this works. When you walk in, you're greeted by a trainer that will have you fill out some forms and then hand you a 'base layer' to change into. You have to be COMPLETELY naked under the base layer. So if that freaks you out stop reading now and go back to your sweaty hour-long workouts. If you can live with the idea that this suit needs to be the only thing between you and electrical impulses keeping your muscles contracted without you doing any work- keep reading. Anyone can do this workout since there is no external load (unless you have a pacemaker). And, this technology is also FDA approved for 18+ yr olds.
After the base layer is on (nice changing area/shower/lockers btw) your trainer sprays down your Katalyst suite with warm water for conductivity. The Katalyst suit looks like a jump suit (photo) for zip lining or rock climbing and your trainer will ever so kindly vice strap you into this corset-like contraption and drop the wireless jet pack battery in the sleeved pocked in your back, so you are wirelessly connected to the machine that will be delivering your EMS. Shoes/no shoes= your choice.
<-Friends don't let friends workout alone
Your trainer will start to activate each muscle group with an electrical impulse one by one until they are all buzzing in harmony while you grip a rolled up washcloth in each of your clenched hands. Then you spend the next 20 minutes going through a series of movements that your trainer demonstrates for you. You need to remember to breathe (duh, right? not so easy actually) as the impulses cycle through about 4 seconds on/4 seconds off. Even doing punches into the air seems difficult while your muscles are already contracted (photo). Occasionally my arm would involuntarily jerk upwards- ok, yes I almost punched myself in the face, but it takes focus to control your movements under these circumstances. It's also difficult to concentrate and follow the instructions the first time because your mind/body is so busy wondering what the heck is going on. After my 2nd and 3rd visit I knew what to expect and my brain was better able to manage the full body buzz . The trainers also knew what to expect out of me and therefore the movements get more challenging and the dial that controlled my current seemed to be twisting up incrementally. I like this workout b/c I also get to laugh at myself a lot.
This whole shabang only takes 20 minutes. But leave some more time for your first visit to get suited up and oriented. The best part is that you throw their clothes into their dirty laundry bin and walk away feeling unscathed. You are supposed to wait 72 hours before your next Katalyst workout. After the first time I was sore a few days later, but subsequent visits have allowed me to walk freely without groaning out loud which was fabulous. This workout has lots of applications- from complimenting existing workouts, returning from an injury, athletes wanting to push past their max, just starting your fitness program or even anyone that is tight on time. No cardio piece to this one, so for some you that may be a relief. Katalyst also uses the InBody scale that gives you your body composition analysis - how much of your weight is bones/body fat/water/etc- and it gets broken down by each appendage so you can track your progress. In case you were wondering my right arm weighs 6.04 lbs
RUMOR ALERT- there may be a bridal shop moving in just north of Katalyst on Lake S. Unconfirmed. But you know how I like to stick my nose in and chat with workers. :-)