I've heard for a while that Hypoxi is one of the easiest ways to shed unwanted centimetres, but I tend to be skeptical of any exercise that claims to be a "lazy girl's" route to a killer body. As if, right? We all know the formula that works: portion-controlled meals, healthy snacks and regular exercise — there's nothing lazy about the quest to get fit and active. That said, when the idea of trying Hypoxi presented itself, I jumped at the chance. I like testing new things and whether this one worked or not, I was keen to mix up my tired, boring fitness regime.
Perusing the website, I was kind of confused by the whole Hypoxi concept. Described as a balanced blend of technology, nutrition and exercise, it's "the first and only patented device to incorporate vacuum technology with exercise to achieve real targeted fat-burning" — all of which sounded very fancy but didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I did take three important things from the site, though: it's three times more effective than traditional exercise (good!), you only do it for half an hour at a time (great!) and it targets stubborn areas like hips, thighs, your bum and tummy (excellent!). By this point, I was pumped to try it — read on for my experience with this futuristic form of exercise.
Before I Started
Having spoken to a colleague who'd tried Hypoxi before, I knew I had to wear at least quarter-length tights (no compression pants or shorts), so that the vacuum pressure wouldn't leave marks on my legs. A simple tee or tank was fine to wear and, as with all exercise, it's not a good idea to go to a session after a big meal. I also couldn't do any additional exercise before a session — in fact, no extra exercise is allowed on Hypoxi days, weee! Once I arrived to my session, one of the lovely staff took my measurements — waist, hips, bum, both thighs together, single thigh, relaxed knee and flexed knee — which would be checked every two weeks during the four-week period. Once all that business was over, it was time for the machines!
Using the Machines
First up was the part that "feels like a massage," according to my experienced work buddy. I'm not ashamed to say this was the bit I was most excited about. A massage? During work hours? Disguised as fat-burning exercise? BRING IT. I hopped into the astronaut suit (best way to describe it, truly) and once my colleague had taken enough embarrassing photos to share with everyone, I lay down on what looks like a massage table, complete with a comfy pillow. The Hypoxi staffer plugged some serious-looking tubes into the front of my suit and pushed down on my chest until it was completely airtight in the suit. Once this is done, the vacuum starts. It sucks the air in the suit until it's skin-tight, then gently pushes air back into little pockets along your tummy, hips, thighs, bum and calves. Let me tell you, it feels amazing. Like the gentlest damn massage you've ever had. It's 20 minutes of pure heaven (a lot of people fall asleep) and you'll feel really sad like I did when your time is up.
Once that part is over (it's called the HDC-Dermology, FYI), it's time for the second and final machine of the session. This is the part where you actually have to exert some energy (boo). Called the S120, the machine is a stationary bike, just like in spin class, only it's surrounded by a plastic capsule that you have to open to access the bike. I felt like the world's most uncoordinated human in my first Hypoxi session, because everything is completely foreign. Before I got in the S120, I had to navigate my way into a belted heart-rate monitor (under my clothing, around my waist) and a fitted neoprene skirt-type contraption that sits around your waist and fastens up tight. Once the skirt is set, you hop awkwardly onto the bike and the capsule is closed, leaving you free from the waist up, but with your lower half locked in an airtight chamber. As I'm writing this, I feel claustrophobic — I promise it doesn't feel that way in real life. Once I was all set in place, the Hypoxi staffer pushed some fancy buttons on the S120 and I could start pedalling. My heart rate was shown on the screen in front of me — I simply had to pedal enough to hover around the 120 mark, being mindful not to go over 135. While 120 is the ideal fat-burning stage, there's no minimum amount. So you can pedal as slow as you like, no sweat. It's almost too easy! The only part I found uncomfortable was the feeling of the pressure in the chamber pulling my bum onto the bike seat — it kind of hurt but after a few sessions I was used to it.
After a Session
Once your 30-minute ride is up, the chamber is opened and the heat that escapes it is actually shocking. It's like opening a sauna door! While you're using the S120, your legs are peddling away in up to 37-degree heat, so there's a lot of sweat. Totally normal, and totally makes you feel like you've worked really, really hard. The thing I found most challenging came after my actual sessions — and it was to do with eating. To make each session as beneficial as possible, you're not allowed to eat a thing for two hours after a session (water and peppermint tea are OK), and you can't have carbs or caffeine of any kind for four to six hours afterwards. This is tough, but not impossible — just try and work your Hypoxi sessions into times that suit you and don't leave you starving for six hours. If you eat after a session, it's the food that'll be burnt off, not your actual fat cells — not ideal. And remember, no additional exercise!
After the easiest four weeks of my exercising life, doing three Hypoxi sessions a week, I'd lost 1.5 kilos and 31 centimetres of unwanted fat from around my body. My hips, bum and thighs saw the biggest result (*cheering*) but my knees and waist joined in on the fat-loss fun, too. In those four weeks, I did no other form of exercise except for a few easy walks here and there (whoopsie), I drank alcohol (oopsie) and I had quite a few cheat days — regardless of all that, I still lost more centimetres than I ever have in that period of time. On top of that, my skin was heaps smoother (a surprisingly lovely side effect of the Vacunaut) and looked more toned. I was honestly so surprised by my results that I took a photo of my measurements to recalculate at home — Hypoxi may be expensive, but it really does work!
Need to Know
- I tried Hypoxi at the Martin Place Studio, within Goodlife Martin Place.
- I went three times a week for four weeks (12 sessions in total).
- Each session, using both the Vacunaut and S120 machine, takes a little longer than an hour so make sure you set aside enough time to not feel rushed.
- RRP per session is $69, but may vary. You can purchase sessions in bulk to make them slightly cheaper.
- I saw awesome results with a few naughty slip-ups in-between — if you stick to your nutrition goals, chances are you'll see even better results!