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Product of the Week: Katalyst Brings EMS to At-Home Fitness
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Product of the Week: Katalyst Brings EMS to At-Home Fitness

Woman standing in Katalyst suit
The suit with a long waitlist for a short-but-effective workout, Katalyst is changing how the fitness industry approaches innovation

There have been many “get fit quick” fads in the last fifty years, with companies making empty promises and consumers left feeling dejected. Katalyst has a seemingly similar promise: to provide the equivalent of a 2-hour workout in just 20 minutes. But Katalyst’s difference is that it features electrical muscle stimulation technology, and actually delivers on that promise.

Katalyst was founded in 2015, and has been backed by investors like Incisive Ventures, Unlock Venture Partners, Robert Nelsen, Cindy Crawford, and Rande Gerber. The company’s mission is to remove barriers to fitness and make a healthy lifestyle more attainable for everyone. As Katalyst has a long product waitlist, Athletech News wanted to try the product and report back on the hype.

Katalyst is the first and only FDA-cleared full-body EMS (Electro Muscle Stimulation) workout for consumer use. It activates up to 90% of muscle fibers compared to ~40% in a typical workout. The product is a first-of-its-kind in bringing this technology into consumers’ homes.

Onboarding to Katalyst involved preparing the suit and the software that accompanied the workout. The suit had multiple pieces for my legs, arms, and chest, and I had to spray down the pieces thoroughly prior to use for the EMS component. A Katalyst trainer walked me through the whole setup process, which took around 20 minutes. After I was suited up, my trainer encouraged me to play around with the EMS settings through the digital component. The Electro Muscle Stimulation was more intense than I had been expecting. I felt my muscles contract intensely during their activation. I started low for my initial settings, but felt my body getting used to the stimulation throughout the workout and beyond.

The Katalyst workouts are all 20 minutes, and are grouped into categories for strength, power, cardio, and recovery. While suiting up may take longer than getting ready for other workouts, the efficiency of the workout is worth it. The strength workouts feature small, static movements followed by rest, which activates muscle fibers that take longer to fatigue. Even though the workouts themselves were not particularly difficult, the EMS made the poses very hard to sustain.

Because of the effectiveness of the workouts, Katalyst recommends waiting 48 hours between workouts, which could also reduce the number of workouts one completes each week.

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Katalyst is a considerable investment, at $2,385. It also requires a compatible iPad, and has a product waitlist.

In addition, the experience of using Katalyst was uncomfortable at times. Muscle contraction is not a pleasant experience, despite its effectiveness. As one is condensing a longer workout into a short amount of time, that comes with increased muscle discomfort. While it may be worth it for the effectiveness and efficiency, it’s something to consider. In addition, it may not replace cardio workouts in the same way as it could replace strength workouts.

Katalyst is best for anyone who loves a fitness challenge, and is short on time. It’s also perfect for someone who values innovative and technological workouts, who are willing to make an investment into new tools.

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