The idea of doing 54,000 crunches would put fear in the heart of many (yes, I am one of those people).
That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to be one of the first in Australia to try a body sculpting technology from Cutera that emulates the process without me actually having to step foot inside a gym (or investing in at-home workout gear for that matter).
The muscle-building, fat-reducing technology (formally known as truBody by Cutera) replicates strengthening, toning and firming exercises, helping fitness-averse folks like myself achieve 54,000 crunches in the space of 15 minutes.
How does the truBody body sculpting treatment work?
The truBody by Cutera treatment plan consists of four separate sessions valued at $3500, the first of which combines radio frequency fat reduction (also known as truSculpt iD), which costs $1500 per session and electrical muscle stimulation (AKA truSculpt flex+), which costs $750 for each session.
Each session thereafter is a tight 15 minutes of muscle-stimulating action.
My personalised treatment plan involved focusing on the abdominals and quads, but first I was treated to a fat burning radio frequency session.
Something to note before thrusting yourself onto the massage bed is that due to the nature of the electrical currents used in the treatment, body hair does need to be removed in all areas to be treated during your sessions.
Did I shave all the peach fuzz from my stomach prior to my treatment? Why yes, yes I did.
If you spent your youth rebelling and piercing your belly button, this would also need to be removed. Thankfully, I grew up with strict parents who barely let me pierce my ears let alone my navel. Crisis averted.
I was advised to drink plenty of water too, as much like a sweat sesh at the gym, a loss of fluids is typical during a body sculpting treatment.
I was also warned against exercising 12 hours prior to my treatment. But in all honesty, as someone who hasn’t stepped foot in a gym for at least the last 12 months, I knew this wasn’t going to be an issue for me (don’t worry about my health though; I walk everywhere, eat a balanced diet and drink so much water I might as well be a fish).
My body sculpting experience
During my truSculpt iD and truFlex iD sessions, a host of metal-plated devices were strapped to my body. So naturally, I had to be half-naked for the process.
After dropping trou and hoisting myself onto the treatment bed, my truBody technician Dani identified the areas I was conscious of. Losing a bit of lower belly fat, toning my waist and thighs, and strengthening my core were the main goals on my bucket list.
Dani used white chalk to mark out these zones on my body and strapped a few RF plates to my stomach and legs. I was warned that I would feel an increase in temperature but if I was uncomfortable at any point Dani would turn off the machine immediately.
I’d previously enjoyed Radio Frequency butt sculpting, and in all honesty I would liken the experience to receiving a hot stone massage, so admittedly I was in heaven during the entire treatment.
However, something I’d never experienced was electrical muscle stimulation. And to say the sensation is unusual would be an understatement.
After having the RF hot plates removed from my body, Dani revealed a set of several defibrillator-looking devices and sellotaped them to my abdomen and thighs using massive pieces of double-sided sticky tape (glamorous, I know). A layer of plastic sheeting was then wrapped around my body, turning me into what can only be described as a human rice paper roll.
And then Dani turned on the machine.
Much like the sharp zap of an electrical shock or the fuzzy tingling one experiences after rubbing their hair on a balloon (a nostalgic experience that left me reminiscing on the parties of my childhood), the slight sensation of electrical currents ran over my skin and through my muscles.
As Dani gauged my comfort levels, she increased the intensity of the electrical current, causing a surge of that initial tingling sensation, and a subsequent tightening of my abdomen and thigh muscles.
Dani assured me that she would stop if I became uncomfortable, but at this point her job was to act as my personal trainer, which meant pushing me and my muscles through these so-called ‘reps’.
This went on for the first 10 minutes of our session and then the machine shifted gears and began tickling me. Or at least that’s what it felt like.
For five hellish minutes I was tickled aggressively, while the plates slowly but surely tightened around my muscles. As someone who rarely entertains the idea of tickling, the sensation wasn’t exactly a welcome one. I’ve always been particularly sensitive on the sides of my body, and as the plates attached to my obliques, sent wave after wave of muscle stimulating electrodes through my body, I began to become rather squeamish.
And so, over my four sessions, Dani alternated between these exercises to stimulate my muscles, pushing me more and more each time until I achieved what most gym-goers would refer to as ‘gains’.
If I said I didn’t have a bad case of imposter syndrome at this point, I would be lying. However, my chagrin was unfounded because, according to Dani, out of all the female participants in the trial, I was her star pupil.
She even made me take a photo of my final results and insisted I include it as proof (I swear this isn’t just a humble brag on my part):
How long does it take to see results?
The interesting thing about this treatment is that while you would think you’d notice an immediate ‘slimming’ effect, the true results of the treatment only become evident up to six weeks after the treatment is performed.
The reason being that the treatment causes muscle stimulation, but muscle growth and subsequent fat loss happen afterwards.
And while you might be mistaken in thinking these changes were made evident by an overnight growth of abdomen muscles, the first thing I noticed changing when it came to my body was my core strength.
In my youth I’d sacrificed my high school social life for a rowing career (short lived and ultimately unsuccessful as a five foot six slightly chubby teen). I’d learnt from a young age how to engage my core in order to lift large fiberglass boats over my head, and the sensation was one that had stuck with me though adulthood. But it wasn’t until my treatment with Cutera that I noticed a distinct ‘straightening up’, I guess you could say, of my core abdominal muscles.
Basic, everyday tasks like lifting a large pot of water off the stove became easier, and I could utilise one hand instead of struggling with two. I no longer strained my back when picking stray objects up from the ground, and my posture had definitely improved.
I personally didn’t mind if I had a six pack or not because the strengthening of my core seemed like a far more useful pursuit. I had no intention of pursuing a flat stomach, and the women in my family have a genetic predisposition for carrying a bit of extra weight in that area anyway.
But after taking my routine ‘B and As’ I noticed that my waist had indeed slimmed. The fat deposits that masked my upper abdominals were basically gone, and my tummy ‘pooch’ was starting to show a bit of definition.
While I’m not sure I could, in good faith, recommend getting a body sculpting treatment as a way to bypass the grueling task of getting a six pack, I think there is merit in utilising technologies such as these for improving overall strength and minimising body fat in a healthy way.
If you’re looking for fast results with minimal downtime and have a cool $3,500 to spare, then would I recommend this treatment? Yes, yes I would.
If you’d rather divvy that money up over a year’s worth of gym sessions, however, I can understand that too.
It’s a personal choice, and not one that every body has the financial means to make.
Not sure you want to splash out on a body sculpting sesh? Here’s how to tone your abs from the comfort of your own home.
Main image credit: @emrata
Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.