Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hypoxi - hype or hot?

So there I was. Trussed up in what felt like a rubber mini-skirt, heart-rate monitor attached to my chest, heat monitor tied around one thigh.
Was I:
A. Indulging in some kind of bizarre sexual activity?
B. Undergoing a strange and kinky medical examination?
C. Being probed by aliens?
Actually, the answer is None of the Above.
Always keen to jump on a Quick Fix when it comes to diet and exercise, I was trying out a unique form of exercise called Hypoxi.
To be honest, I’m always sceptical about magical solutions to weight loss. And Hypoxi sounded like some rare kind of medical condition. “Bronwyn’s come down with a terrible case of Hypoxi.” Or perhaps a trendy way to put someone in their place. “Now come on, that idea is completely Hypoxi!” Or even an insult. "Hi Poxy".
But my mate, media personality Bianca Dye swears by it, and with celebrities like Robbie Williams, Cheryl Cole, Anna Friel, and Jordan talking it up, I thought Hypoxi was worth a try.
So how does it work?
Basically, Hypoxi is much like riding an exercise bike, except your lower body is encased in a chamber from the tummy down – using the above-mentioned rubber skirt as a seal. The idea is that low pressure within the chamber forces fatty acid into the blood stream, where it is burnt up by the muscles during the exercise. The makers claim the exercise helps improve circulation; detoxifies; boosts metabolism, targets stubborn fat on tummy, butt and thighs; firms skin; causes weight and centimetre loss; and improves the appearance of cellulite and veins. Some women have been able to go down two dress sizes in just a few weeks!
I did my session at the Body Designers Mt Gravatt clinic in Brisbane (
The personal trainer was friendly and positive, and didn’t make me feel like a Frumpy Mummy at all.
And once inside the chamber, I was surprisingly comfortable. With a telly on featuring the latest video hits, a glass of water at hand, and the personal trainer slipping in and out to chat, my 30 metres went by quite pleasantly. I basically cycled for 30 minutes, monitoring my heart rate to ensure it didn't work too hard, or too slow. Afterwards, I felt energised, as I always do after exercise. Plus, my lower body temperature had risen by 7 degrees, which meant my circulation had been given a significant boost.
I didn't expect immediate weight loss, and there wasn't. Apparently, at least 10-12 30-minute sessions (three per week) are necessary to show the best results.
My introductory session was free, but I’m impressed enough by the comfort, the testimonials, and the research behind it, to want to give it a try. Hypoxi is already popular in Europe and is much cheaper than liposuction or surgery. Plus, I have arthritis, and gentle exercise in a warm environment is much safer for me than, say, gym or running.
The down side? Hypoxi costs AUD65 a session, though there are discounts available for bulk purchases.
Even so, I’m seriously considering trying it in a few weeks, once school holidays are over.
Am I crazy, or should I go for it?
Let me know your thoughts – and tell me what kind of exercise has worked for you.

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