Posted On Jul 27, 2016
DROP THE DUMBBELLS AND STEP OFF THE STAIRMASTER. IOBELLA, THE NEWEST WAVE OF WORKING OUT, HAS HIT THE STATES, STRAIGHT FROM THE BEST BODS IN THE WORLD. BY LAUREL HOUSE
While we spend hours spinning, treadmilling, and downdogging, doing our same-old same-old exercise routine, Argentineans are sweating and shrinking at high speeds with the latest futuristic fitness regime known as Iobella. Combining a heated pod, electric stimulation, and oxygen therapy, this new body-shaping method is designed to trim, lift, tone, and smooth almost instantly. . . and it’s finally hitting the states!
When it comes to fighting fat and slowing the proliferation of cellulite, there are a slew of workouts, diets, creams, and procedures that I’m willing to endure. I have sampled my share of the “latest and greatest,” “scientifically proven,” “celeb tested,” and “guru approved” promises to weigh less and look better. Hot yoga provides a heat-generated metabolism boost, toxin elimination, muscle toning, and the instant gratification of dropping a few pounds (of water weight) by the end of class. But the possibility of passing out in a puddle of my own sweat has never appealed to me. Cellulite reducing massages that finger-force those rogue fat cells away from the skin dimpling surface may work, but bruises dotting my thighs seem somehow worse. I have always liked the focused waist-whittling moves of Pilates and even get a kick out of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) devices that kick fat-burning into high gear.
So, take the heat of hot yoga, the focus of Pilates, the lymphatic drainage of cellulite massage (minus the bruising), and the electrical muscle stimulation technology, then add Oxygen 3 therapy to accelerate the results, and you’ve got Iobella. Known as the “silhouette secret of the most beautiful women in the world,” Iobella is a method of body reshaping created in Switzerland, moved to Italy, and popularized in Argentina. It forces fast fat-burn, muscle shaping, and fluid drainage, while increasing circulation and minimizing cellulite. Each session includes a personalized 30-minute workout executed in a 98-degree thermal capsule equipped with weighted bands, followed by 20 minutes in the Oxygen 3 pod to enhance toxin and fluid elimination. I was cautiously optimistic about this one, and prepared to be put to the test.
I stood in a bra and old panties, wishing I had selected the newer black hip huggers instead of the ratty white-ish thong that exposed entirely too much of the one thing that I’m most self-conscious about: my butt. The gorgeous technician, wearing a long sleeve black shirt delicately hugging her curves to slimming perfection, positioned me a few inches in front of the full-length mirror and carefully took my measurements. My arms, waist, butt, thighs, and even calves were sized up. The scale was next. Then my height was taken into account. That was the only good news: I was one-half inch taller than I thought! A few minutes later the technician and I went over my assessment of fat and muscle content, bone size, and the computer-generated suggestions of where I should be, based on the calculations.
Every workout begins with a weigh-in. To make sure no extra pounds were packed on to my scale count, I stripped down, again, to my underwear. The number was noted on my ever-growing chart.
After my weigh in, I dressed and entered a room with three body-length Plexiglas capsules heated to 98 degrees. At the end of each capsule hung a white towel closing the entrance and maintaining the temperature inside. I entered a capsule, secured my bare feet into straps, and then pulled my head through a hole in the white towel. My trainer led me through a fast-paced series of abdominal exercises like bicycle and scissor kicks while the straps added resistance and the heat added intensity. After abs, we switched to legs, focusing on my inner thighs—my prime reducing goal— followed by arms. Thirty minutes and a puddle of sweat later, the capsule opened, cooling my skin with fresh air. After a quick shower with black charcoal body wash (which helps eliminate toxins), I was ready for the next step.
Optional bioelectrical stimulation therapy stimulates specific muscles to reduce localized fat while tightening muscles like a girdle. Upon entering the private toning room, I had electric nodes secured to my thighs. My goal was to increase the space between my legs. Clips were clamped to my earlobes with a light, calming current to ease my mind during the muscle stimulation. Lights were dimmed, relaxing music was turned on, and the machine was powered up. The first sensation felt like scratches on my skin. Two minutes later the scratching stopped. Suddenly the nodes took control of my muscles, like giant hands grabbing my quads and inner thighs, forcing them to flex and hold, and then slowly release. The cycle repeated several times. I fell asleep and 25 minutes later woke to the sound of the door opening. My time was up.
OXYGEN 3 LOUNGE
Feeling like my thighs had just run a marathon, I was led to the Oxygen 3 lounge where a 20-minute treatment of three oxygen atoms deeply penetrated the pores of the skin, boosting hydration, encouraging toxin elimination, and helping to reduce the appearance of cellulite. I relaxed into my private pod—body in, head out again. Once the chamber was closed, cucumber pads were placed on my eyes, a headset with calming music set over my ears, and I was left to rest in the oxygen-rich environment.
After moving, shocking, manipulating, and relaxing comes nutrition counseling, which is an essential component to Iobella’s body beautifying experience. Whatever your diet is, Iobella’s nutritionist can accommodate and shape a plan that works for your specific needs. While body work provides immediately gratifying results, the nutrition portion is about the long-term. Every client has the option of having one or ongoing consultation, with tips and meal plans catered to each person’s specific needs.
Every session ends with a second weigh-in which typically shows weight loss. Immediate results may be water, but the real satisfaction comes when you feel it and see it on the scale, and notice a change in the way your clothes fit.
After six sessions, three days a week for two weeks: I lost 4½ pounds and 5¾ inches overall. My thighs looked and felt more toned and lean, as if they were girdled, but the girdle was my muscles. I slipped my skinny jeans on without having to suck it in! I’m not stopping.
IOBELLA at home
With six locations in Buenos Aires and one in Santa Monica, getting the full experience might be a plane trip away. But you can mimic some of the experience at home.
AN EXERCISE MAT, LIGHT HAND AND ANKLE WEIGHTS, AND A ROOM SET TO 98 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT: If you have temperature control or a space heater, turn it up. 98 degrees might be a bit much for your home, so stay comfortable. Just create some heat.
Keep in mind:
REPETITIONS: Do each move on each side 20-40 times depending on your strength. Another way to count is to do it until it hurts, then do five more.
SPEED: These moves are quick. The weight is low, the reps are high, and the speed is fast. However, that doesn’t mean get sloppy. Maintain control and do the exercises correctly in order to avoid injury.
NO BREAKS: Roll from one exercise to the next to keep your heart rate elevated to burn maximum calories. Your goal is 30 minutes straight.
THE MOVES YOU WILL DO
ABS: Lay on the mat and start with crunches, then bicycles, side crunches, and flutter kicks. Channel Jane Fonda, circa 1981.
LEGS: Strap on ankle weights. Lay on your side and start single side leg lifts, lower side leg lifts, then roll over onto your hands and knees for donkey leg lifts with both bent and straight legs.
ARMS: Grab your hand weights and do bicep and tricep curls, presses, and side lifts. STRETCH: Yoga stretches like Cobra will help release the muscles in your stomach. Down Dog will release your entire body, plus simple twists on your back to open up your chest.
HIT THE SHOWER with some charcoal soap. You can buy it online or you might be able to find it at your local beauty supply store. We like Collective Wellbeing Charcoal Body Wash. Use an exfoliating sponge or wash cloth to help remove dead skin cells and open up your pores to remove even more toxins.
FUEL YOUR BODY with as much fresh oxygen as possible. Take five minutes to breathe slowly and deeply in through your nose, expanding your belly. Hold for three seconds, then exhale it all out through your mouth. Continue this ab-toning breathing style until you get into a rhythm which is said to help flush the body of toxins, energize the blood and brain, and assist with digestion.