Reporter tried out Bodystreet gym in Worthing for six weeks: but did it work?

For six weeks at the end of last year, reporter James Butler tried out the Bodystreet studio in Worthing, Sussex's first electric shock gym. Here are the results.

On paper, Bodystreet sounds too good to be true: a 20-minute workout, once a week, which is apparently the equivalent of three gym sessions and boasts a variety of body-toning, muscle-building and fat-burning benefits.

James Butler tried out the Bodystreet gym in Chapel Road, Worthing

James Butler tried out the Bodystreet gym in Chapel Road, Worthing

So for six weeks in October and November, I visited the Chapel Road studio, which opened earlier last year. Wearing a Lycra suit, I got hooked up to electrodes connected to a machine which zapped me as I clenched my muscles in a variety of positions, following instructions from personal trainers Diana Stegaru and Charlie Mathe.

My goal: to tone up, and put on some muscle. At the beginning of the six weeks, I was weighed using scales that measured my body mass index (BMI) and metabolism, and again at the end of the trial.

I am 26, but at the first weigh-in, the scales said I had the metabolic age of a 22-year-old. I wasn't sure what that meant exactly, but Diana and Charlie assured me it was good news.

But after six weeks of training, the final weigh-in showed I had gotten worse in most categories. I now had the metabolic age of a 27-year-old - effectively ageing five years in six weeks of training - and my body fat had gone from 16.9 per cent to 18.9 per cent. The exception was a slight gain in muscle, of 300g.

Here are the main statistics:

Weight: 66kg on October 19; 68kg on November 23

Metabolic age: 22 to 27

BMI: 21.6 to 22.2

Body fat: 16.9% to 18.9%

Muscle mass: 52.1kg to 52.4kg

Visceral fat (fat around organs, the lower the level, the better): level 3 to level 4

To be fair, I did achieve one of my main goals of putting on some muscle, and you can't necessarily tone up and bulk up at the same time.

Early on in the training I asked Charlie for advice. He said to put on muscle, it was important to eat more calories than I was burning off, and to go for protein-rich foods, which I did.

But would I choose to go back? While each workout did work up a sweat, by the time I got changed and showered, the whole process took about 40 minutes, which is not much less than a normal gym workout. And for £80 a month for four sessions, I would get better value for money at a conventional gym.

The whole workout takes place in the window of the studio, which did not bother me as the workout was a big enough distraction. But I can understand why people who are self-conscious about their body might feel uncomfortable about squatting and sweating in Lycra as people walking past look at you.

Speaking to Diana and Charlie during the six weeks, they said their business was going from strength to strength via word of mouth, and I wish them success.

But to meet my personal body goals, Bodystreet is not for me.