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When it comes to any kind of fat-blasting or body sculpting treatment I'll be the first to admit that I've always been pretty skeptical, particularly having seen and experienced what can be achieved with nutrition and exercise.
But when Cutera got in touch about the global launch of the TGA-approved truSculpt flex+, a muscle-building machine that uses unique Multi-Directional Stimulation (MDS) technology to offer the equivalent of up to 54,000 crunches in just 15 minutes, I was intrigued to say the least.
As someone who is an avid gym-goer and has had to find the time to exercise within a busy lifestyle, the idea of getting a workout in while lying down, and that is over in a quarter of an hour, definitely peaked my interest.
Last month, I was given the opportunity to try out Cutera's truBody treatment, which included four truSculpt flex+ (15 mins) sessions, as well as a truSculpt iD session, which is designed to reduce fat, using radio frequency to target and heat stubborn fat deposits.
The total treatment boasts the capability of achieving 30 per cent muscle growth, over at least 4 truSculpt flex+ sessions, and an average of 24 per cent reduction in fat in just one truSculpt iD session.
How does it work?
Before each treatment it is recommended you don't exercise for 12 hours prior as it can affect your tolerability. I was also told to stay well hydrated - which made sense once I realised how sweaty the situation still got.
When I first arrived and spoke to my provider Danielle, she explained the truSculpt flex+ machine is adjustable and can be dialled in to my fitness levels, body shape, and individual goals.
There are up to 16 TruSculpt applicators that can be placed on the body to target multiple small and large muscle groups. For me, we decided to target my tummy across all sessions (and threw the thighs in there for one because she reckoned my quads were already pretty toned) but you can also treat your butt and flanks.
The truSculpt iD treatment we did first was also non-invasive, and involved applying heat to certain areas to target the fact cells. There was a little redness on my skin afterwards but it went away quickly.
Each truSculpt flex+ session then rotated between three different modes that went for five minutes each.
Prep which emulated a twisting motion to build up your tolerance for the muscle contractions, Tone which felt a bit like holding a plank in that it contracts and holds the muscle, and then Sculpt which almost felt a little jumpy with fact and sequential contractions to help build muscle mass.
The simplest way to describe the feeling was 'WEIRD'. It didn't hurt (unless a muscle started to fatigue in which case Danielle was able to adjust the level of each individual applicator to account for sore spots). But it wasn't painful - it was the kind of hurt you get from holding a squat for 60 seconds. And there was definitely a mental side to it, and just let the muscles do what they are going to do without tensing yourself.
What were the results?
Cutera says results can include the strengthening, toning and firming of the abdominal muscles, glutes and thighs, and can be achieved in as little as four treatments.
It can also boast other health benefits with clinical studies showing the technology aids in the improvement of chronic low back pain and core muscular endurance and strength. It can also help prevent muscle atrophy for those who cannot exercise due to an existing medical condition or are undergoing post-op rehabilitation.
Danielle explained to me that maximum results are generally visibly 8-12 weeks after the last session.
I am still a few weeks off that mark but even now I will admit I have noticed some changes.
I did one InBody scan before I started the treatments and one a few weeks after the last treatment to see any potential progress in numbers. During the period I continued my normal fitness routine of 5 -6 gym sessions a week, and ate at around maintenance calories.
According to my 'after' scan, in that time I gained 900g of muscle and reduced body fat by 0.7% (my weight fluctuated around 1-2kg.) I've also lost 1.2cm from my abdomen.
There are also a pair of gym tights I bought, which before my treatment felt a little tight around my waist and are now sitting much more comfortably. And I am also noticing the shape of my abs becoming more pronounced. Time will tell I guess if anything else happens there.
How much does it cost?
One truSculpt iD treatment starts at $1500 per session, while a truSculpt flex+ treatment starts at $750 per session. I had four sessions, which is the recommended minimum number.
You can have as many truSculpt flex+ treatments as you want (and you can afford) as the machine has a huge range to continue to build strength - I only reached between 25-40% of its max capacity for example.
But given the relatively huge expense and the changes for me, while being visible were still relatively small, I think I can say that while I have the time, the gym is probably where you'll still find me.
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