I Went Searching for 6-Pack Abs Via an Afternoon of EmSculpt
Dr. Ryan Neinstein gave us the scoop on the much-lauded non-invasive machine.
I’ve tried almost everything to get abs—cutting out carbs, adding yoga to my workout regimen, Venus Freeze—the whole shebang. Nothing has given me the results I wanted. So imagine my delight when I spotted an advertisement pop up on my Instagram feed for a machine that could supposedly give you a six-pack without all those workouts, called EmSculpt.
There’s a seemingly endless amount of non-invasive devices on the market today to get rid of unwanted fat—you can melt it; freeze it; the list goes on and on. But the before-and-after photos of EmSculpt truly shocked me. In a matter of weeks, patients had developed Adriana Lima–level obliques. The treatment itself doesn’t seek to remove fat—although for most cases it does by about 18 percent—instead it works to strengthen and build the muscles themselves.
I sat down with Dr. Ryan Neinstein at his Upper East Side office, a liposuction specialist and one of the first surgeons to offer EmSculpt in New York City, about why he backs it before trying the procedure for myself.
The lowdown on EmSculpt and why he prefers it over CoolSculpting or SculpSure:
“EmSculpt is the first ever non-surgical device to sculpt and build muscles while simultaneously burning fat. It uses high-frequency electromagnetic energy—similar to what is in a Tesla—to safely contract muscle cells and burst fat cells. EmSculpt falls in a category all in its own. Nothing has ever targeted muscles before, yet many devices claim to remove fat. I prefer it because those devices are outdated technology with unpredictable results, downtime, and pain.
“It is the perfect complement to a health-and-wellness routine. I have many more active and athletic patients in my practice than a traditional plastic surgeon does that love the EmSculpt, both male and female. It’s fun, it’s sexy, and it works.”
Where you can use it other than the abdominals:
“Currently, we use the machine to safely perform a non-surgical buttock lift. The settings for this area are slightly different—there is no fat-melting energy level. Instead all of the energy is designated for the three major gluteal muscles that help lift and sculpt the tush. We also use the machine on the inner and outer thighs.”
On the patients who aren’t necessarily using it for aesthetic purposes:
“We’re also seeing a lot of new mothers come in almost immediately after pregnancy. EmSculpt helps close the diastasis recti, or separation of abdominal muscles that occurs in pregnancy. Until now, mothers would have to wait for a tummy tuck to help restructure their core and improve their shape and sense of well-being.
“Another group of patients are people who are unable to exercise because of surgery or illness. Our local podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons have been referring many patients with bunion, ankle, knee, and hip surgery to the office. These patients enjoy using the machine so they can maintain core strength while recovering from surgery.”
On EmSculpt being a huge wellness trend in 2019 and its future use:
“Society is becoming more in tune to health and wellness. Many patients find this machine to be a great boost to a stale workout routine. The endorphin rush that comes along with the treatment and the added benefit of positive body image have made my patients, my entire office, and myself very excited about the machine. At the same time, our patients demand devices that have predictable results delivered in a timely manner. Days of waiting to see results are behind us. Patients do not want to spend the day in the doctor’s office or in a medical spa. This machine satisfies the needs and wants of the modern patient.
“I think the next frontier for EmSculpt will be biceps and triceps. Unfortunately, the energy in these areas may interfere with the heart function, so the chest may be a no.”
When I was ready to try EmSculpt for myself, it all felt pretty relaxed and definitely non-invasive. I laid down on a medical table while the small device was placed onto my abdominals and wrapped around my waist with a cloth wrap. A strap was then placed around myself and the machine. EmSculpt first contracts your abdominal muscles in long, vibrating spurts that feel like your abs being exercised at hyperspeed. For the second half of the process, the machine uses a light tapping motion to break apart lactic fluid that’s being released by your muscles. This two-part cycle continues for around 30 minutes. Then you’re done, and you are sore! It’s slightly painful, but in a Barry’s Bootcamp way, like you’re on your 2,000th sit-up in a workout class. Dr. Neinstein recommends drinking plenty of water, and while you can return to the gym, he says avoiding the abs for just the day of is probably best.
Surprisingly enough, my waist is trimmer, and I have little obliques now. I didn’t notice myself go down a complete pant size, but I will say all my bottoms are a little looser. The appearance, rather than the size, is where you see the change—muscles in places you’ve never seen before. While the results weren’t overly drastic, the improvement of my core strength was noticeable in my next few workouts. I was able to last longer during all of my abdominal exercises and surpassed the two-minute mark in my plank. In yoga, I could easily do the final ab sequence without falling over (I haven’t been to Y7 in a year). Regardless of whether or not I resembled Brie Larson, the stamina I gained to power through rigorous conditioning was convincing enough—I’ll be back for more in due time.
Photos: Courtesy of Dr. Ryan Neinstein
Model: Gergana Ivanova
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