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Train Smarter, Not Longer: BODY20 Aims To Transform Your Workouts With EMS

Train Smarter, Not Longer: BODY20 Aims To Transform Your Workouts With EMS

The boutique fitness concept uses EMS to deliver the muscle-building benefits of a full strength-training program in one 20-minute workout

Getting all the benefits of several long, intense gym sessions in one 20-minute workout might seem too good to be true, but for BODY20, it’s all a matter of science. 

The boutique fitness concept puts members through 20-minute long workouts while wearing an FDA-cleared electrical-muscle stimulation (EMS) suit. EMS essentially works by using electrical stimulation to create frequent muscle contractions, mimicking the natural action potentials your body sends to your muscles to tell them to move.

The whole-body EMS technology used by BODY20 produces over 150 times more muscle contractions than a conventional workout. That allows users to build muscle and burn calories in a fraction of the time, all while promoting better recovery through increased blood flow and other advantageous physiological responses.

“It’s biohacking you and your body,” explains Christopher Pena, BODY20’s president. “That’s where we get our tagline, ‘Every.Body.Unleashed.’”

During a typical BODY20 workout, members perform compound, strength-training movements, like squats, without weights while wearing an EMS suit. 

“We do offer cardio, but at our foundation, we’re a strength training concept,” Pena explains. “We don’t replace spin class, we replace lifting weights.”

The EMS-induced muscle contractions activate opposing muscle groups in the body, turning BODY20 exercises into full-body movements. 

“You go down into a squat and when you go to stand up, your body says, ‘Nope, I’m staying right here,’ and it’s contracting to stay there,” Pena explains. “You have to use opposing muscle groups to fight that.”

The EMS makes it feel like you’re working against external resistance even though most BODY20 workouts are bodyweight only. 

“If I’m going to do a bicep curl with EMS, it feels like I have weight in my hands because my triceps are saying, I would like to keep the arm straight. I’m essentially fighting my triceps,” Pena says.

credit: BODY20

Performance and recovery benefits

Among several benefits, BODY20’s whole-body EMS workouts are designed to increase blood flow and circulation in the lymphatic system. That helps you recover quicker from the body’s natural inflammatory response to strength training. 

“Whole-body EMS helps get you less sore, faster,” Pena explains. 

Whole-body EMS has also been shown to increase the amount of testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH) your body produces in response to strength training. 

“With EMS, we’re training every major muscle group in your body at the same time, which is going to lead to a significantly higher rate of release of testosterone and HGH, typically about three to four times higher,” Pena says. 

According to a 2007 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology that measured the effects of electrical stimulation training on the quads during isometric movements, EMS exercise resulted in significantly greater HGH response and muscle damage than traditional, non-EMS exercise.

HGH helps with muscle growth, known as hypertrophy, meaning BODY20 members can build significantly more muscle per minute during EMS workouts than they can with traditional strength training. 

“Since HGH is the primary factor of tissue remodeling inside of the muscle, we’re creating three to four times the ability to create hypertrophy in your body, which is typically why people are going to lift weights,” Pena notes. 

HGH also helps with muscle repair, so whole-body EMS helps you recover from your workouts faster. 

The physiological changes EMS produces can also help higher-level athletes with performance. 

“We have bodybuilders come in – we’re not going to replace weightlifting for a bodybuilder – but when you hit a plateau that you just can’t get past, come train with us for six weeks, once a week, and all of a sudden you just blow past your plateau,” Pena says. “Because we’ve increased the amount of muscle fiber you can contract naturally.” 

Targeting a specific female demographic 

EMS can certainly benefit gym-goers on the higher end of performance, but BODY20 classes are primarily designed for clients who want to get the aesthetic and physiological benefits of strength training without spending hours a week inside of a gym hitting the iron.

“We’re for the person who says, ‘I know that I have to pick up weights to look the way I actually want to look, but I don’t want to spend three to five days a week in the gym lifting weights,’” Pena says. 

Since the typical BODY20 member can get all the strength-training benefits they need from one 20-minute session per week, they regain valuable time to focus on fitness activities that bring them joy. 

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“BODY20 allows you to go do that spin class five days a week or go hiking three times a week,” Pena says. “Because you only have to come here once.”

The average BODY20 customer is a 40-plus-year-old female, according to Pena.

“We like to say we’re on the ‘Mom loop,’” he says. “That’s not to exclude any strong, professional women, but I say ‘Mom loop’ because that’s where we try to place studios. It’s somewhere close to home and convenient to everything in a mom’s busy and demanding day.”

credit: BODY20

Expansion plans

BODY20’s strategy is paying off so far. 

The boutique fitness concept currently has 22 studios opened in states across the country. It expects to have 30 locations up and running by the end of the month. All locations are franchised except for one corporate-owned facility in Houston.

Expect to see more BODY20 studios pop up in spots around the country soon. The boutique fitness concept has already sold around 280 locations, and it’s just getting started.

“This has all happened in the last 18 months,” Pena says of BODY20’s franchise growth. “We just started scaling the brand.”

BODY20 is on pace to have 100 locations open by the end of 2023 or the first quarter of 2024.

The boutique fitness concept has specific plans to expand or increase its presence in locations including New York, Chicago, Seattle and California. 

While BODY20’s core customer base may be approximately 70% women, EMS training is proving popular with people of all genders, ages and fitness levels. 

“We walked into our studio in Boca Raton one day, and there was an NFL pro athlete training next to a 92-year-old woman, and they’re getting the exact same workout, doing the exact same movements,” Pena says. “Where else can you find that?”

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