Cycling in an infrared sauna, anyone?
It had never occurred to me that it would be a good idea to cycle inside a machine that looks like a scanner, except that instead of scanning panels, there are bars of infrared heaters.
The idea behind the Zerofat machine is that the heat makes you sweat, which gives you a cardiovascular boost even before you start cycling. Add in the pedalling, and they say you can burn through 800 calories an hour, while the infrared light gives your skin a beauty treatment, stimulating production of collagen and elastin.
I pedalled away at a medium page for 45 minutes. It felt like a very long time. The machine reckoned I'd torched through 737 calories in that time though my Fitbit, which didn't know I was meant to be working overtime, thought the calorie burn was nearer 240. Hmm.
For an independent opinion, I asked leading sports scientist John Brewer, who is Professor of Applied Sports Sciences at St Mary's University, Twickenham. He wasn't that impressed. 'Over the years I have heard of many "new" types of exercise that claim to be a quick fix to improve fitness or accelerate weight loss,’ he said, ‘but in the end they are no better than a combination of a sensible diet that restricts calorie intake, and regular exercise. For me, infrared heating falls firmly into the category of something that sounds good, but in reality has no substance or science to support the claims.’
I've written this up for the Daily Mail - the piece is here - and below is a short behind-the-scenes video of the shoot we did for the Mail. I started off in leggings and a vest but once we've done the pictures and I realised how hot it was going to be, I changed into shorts and a crop top pretty fast. And yes it was hot - but I didn't sweat nearly as much as I do in hot yoga.
More details about the machine from Zerofat.co.uk