Urban Homme : Pinch that Inch

My tummy area has been hurting the whole of yesterday and today. But it’s a good kind of pain, which resulted from going through a series of body sculpting treatments at Urban Homme‘s The Cocoon studio on Wednesday night (20 Oct 10). And when you see my photo in the grey suit below, if you are a kind person, you would wish even more pain for me.

Loose don't show, tight can't lie. After Vince, who tailored our treatment programmes, saw me in the figure revealing LPG skin suit, he promptly, immediately, instantly, added the LPG procedure to that day's treatment & another body sculpting session for my next visit. Grrr...

I used to have flat abs because I was underweight before age 19. It wasn’t rock-hard washboard, just flat. Now, the letter ‘L’ has gone missing.

Since I turned 30 six years ago, so did my waistline. And my battle with the bulge began. I was briefly victorious and my waistline hovered around 28 inches for a while. Then last year, I had to buy new jeans. Size 30 ones.

When your waistline is 30 inches but your tummy circumference is 32 inches, you know you are on your way to make the ladies very happy… by showing them that men can get ‘pregnant’ too. I am pro-life but this is one ‘pregnancy’ I need to abort for vanity health’s sake. Fortunately, Urban Homme is here to help with Vince, the Branch Manager for The Cocoon, and Lyn, my dedicated treatment consultant here to pound, knead and pinch those inches off.

It's only to be a bumpy ride on my body sculpting journey with a hump this size! "Mai hump, mai hump, mai hump..." ('Mai' means 'don't want' in Hokkien & 'no' or 'not' in Thai.)

Generally, it takes the body and abs about 3 months to metabloize fat through cardiovascular exercises and weight training to look visibly toned and sculpted. But when the exercise routine is paired with the body sculpting treatments, you can get results in half the time. Which leaves me with 1.5 months (6 weeks) to put the ‘L’ back in ‘fat’ and take it out from ‘flab’.

As the Urban Homme Icon Challenge runs for a month, I only have 4 weeks to get where I want to go with my abs. Moreover, I’ll be away for a week from 27 Oct to 2 Nov so I’m losing precious treatment time. So what results can I get in such a short period of time? See for yourself when Benson, Daniel, Dennis, Emeric, Peter and I unveil our new bods on 12 Nov 2010 (Friday) at St James Powerhouse, 7 – 9 pm. So come on down and see our transformations up-close and personal if you have the time!

To guarantee I would be stage ready, I started my gym and diet programme today (I know it’s a bit late, but have to try!) to maximise the results from Urban Homme’s ab treatments. Here’s a look at the weapons of mass construction that were unleashed upon my tubby tummy…

Step 1 : Integral Quartz Macro Body Treatment

This treatment is where this blog entry got its title from. And I have a love-hate relationship with the machine that was used to perform it – the LPG Lipomassage.

I met this machine during the audition for the challenge two weeks ago. Finally, I got acquainted with it. It's one bad-ass fat buster with a nasty pinch!

It looks like something out of Star Wars but the LPG machine with its tentacled arms can cause some serious damage. To fat cells that is. Especially stubborn ones. Our bodies have a natural balance to produce and eliminate fat. But with age, fats tend to get stored more than they are being eliminated. That leads to excess fat in the body and the appearance of cellulite. As for guys, we are genetically predisposed for excess fat to gather at the mid-section, thus causing pot / beer bellies.

While I’m not too flabby generally, my lower ab has this hump of stubborn fat that is visible from outer space. No matter how many crunches, sit-ups or leg raises I do, or dietary restrictions I impose on myself, the bicycle tyre just kept self-inflating. But after my close encounter of the mechnical kind with the LPG machine, it felt like a valve has finally been installed for the tyre air to escape.

Oh, did I mention the machine has a mouth filled with two huge roller ‘teeth’?

My tummy looks flat in this picture because my arms were stretched all the way back, pulling the fat away from my abs. This is what I want my abs to look like while standing up and sitting down when wearing rubberised shorts

How it works : For the treatment, a body suit must be worn to reduce the friction when the machine sucks in a portion of fat and pinches it between to rollers to trigger the reactivation of fat elimination and production of collagen and elastin. It breaksdown the fatty cells and sort of liquify them so that they could be discharged by the lymphatic system via sweat and urine.

The process involves Lyn running the mouth back and forth over my body, tummy and love handles like she’s mowing the lawn. It felt like someone pinching my body rather comfortably but it’s ouch! at the more sensitive parts such as the inner thigh and triceps. This step also serves as warm up to stimulate blood circulation and makes the body more receptible and responsive to the other treatments that followed.

The evidence behind it : I saw many benefits listed in the brochure about the procedure, but being naturally conservative about marketing claims, I went in search for supporting scientific proof that the technology works. Apparently, there’re over 85 studies done that is supported by the International Scientific Committee of Research (COSIRE) for the LPG system and it shows that the system improves fat elimination by 50% and reactivates the body’s ability to produce collagen by 240% and elastin by 160%! Wow!

Benefits : So what does it really do? The benefits is one long list but in summary, it firms and tones the body, improves skin texture, gets rid of flab and cellulite, thin down fat deposits around arms and thighs, and most importantly for me, the promise of sculpting my abs and chiselling away those love handles! And the best thing is that all these are achieved naturally by triggering the body’s own metabolism to melt away fat without surgery or other mildly invasive methods such as mesotherapy.

Step 2 : Abdominal Trimming (G5)

After LPG, came the second machine that has an appendage that resembles a black shower head with protruding nodes. A layer of moisturing gel with a very fragrant and calming lavender scent was applied to lubricate my abs and love handles before Lyn ran the device across those areas. This one felt like a hundred jackhammers pounding me.

Poor Lyn was getting slightly out of breath from having to run the machines on me. She made sure every inch was taken care of. It's hard work on her. Thanks a million!

How it works : Running on gyrating rotary motors, the shower head sends a series of high-frequency shockwaves to the layer of cutaneous (surface) and subcutaneous (stubborn) fat covering the ab muscles. The rapid vibration shatters and smashes the fatty structure into smithereens thus allowing the body to use it as energy more effectively. It can also be used as a massage gadget.

Benefits : When the applicator first went on me, I immediately felt a heating and itching effect from increased blood circulation to the treated area. I can literally feel my bicycle tyre being poked and punctured repeatedly to deflate it, and it’s equivalent to doing hundreds of sit-ups in just 15 minutes! I love the feeling! Apart from increasing circulatory flow, the muscular system in the treated area is also enhanced with the abs becoming firmer and the skin tone improved.

Step 3 : Self-Heating Body Mask

Having treated my ab like a punching bag, this treatment gave it a rest. Do you remember the time when you’re a kid and had a tummyache, and your parents heat up medicated oil by rubbing it between their palms rapidly, and then applying the soothing warmth on your stomach?

The self-heating body mask treatment felt like that for me.

A creamy self-heating body mask was used to fire up the fat burn. I love the warm feeling over my tummy. It brought back a very cherished childhood memory of my maternal grandmother.

I’m not sure what ingredients go into the mask but it felt like there’s mint in it because while it was hot, it was cool too. The paste was left on for 15 minutes before it hardened and was lifted off. By then, my ab had reddened and felt tender. But it looked bigger!

That’s because the treatments were causing the area to swell. But that’s not the end yet! Next up was the Intensive Weight Vaporiser.

Step 4 : Intensive Weight Vaporiser

The name sounds very cool and hi-tech but the machine turned out to be very warm and endearing. Maybe it’s due to the fuzzy brown blanket used to trap the heat within the half cylinder that made it look so huggable…

Doesn't this look like a delicious Swiss roll cake? But I'm the one who will be baking inside the torso oven while being rocked side to side.

But hug not! This is another meanie that is a total jerk too! I laid on the bed (not too bad, quite comfortable) and the heat was turned on (okay, it’s steaming, but I can get used to it). Then the vibrating switch was flipped. The whole bed started rotating in a circular motion and the leg rest began vibrating vigorously. I felt like a rag doll being jerked around on the bed.

I was told to close my eyes and sleep. Sleep?! Are you kidding? I was trying to anchor my head and feet the whole time so that only my torso and lower body rocked to the vibration. If you ever go on one, keeping your head and feet still would be most effective for the treatment and most comfortable as well.

The Intensive Weight Vaporiser is also known as the lazy man’s exercise machine. With the heat and constant motion, 15 minutes on this monster is equivalent to running for 45 minutes. When I came out of it, I was deliciously cooked with a sprinkle of sweat glistening off my body and what seemed like four shy humps on my upper torso. Gasp! Did all that vibration mess with my vision, or am I seeing the first hint of my six, possibly eight, packs?! *BIG SMILE*

Step 5 : Sauna & Plastic Popiah

The last step was 15 minutes in the sauna and a plastic wrapping around my waist. I found it really comical when Lyn brought in the plastic roll. Felt like I’m putting on a man corset. I guess this would be my first encounter with plastic ‘surgery’?

I had to leave the binding on for two hours and I wasn’t allowed to shower after being soaked through in the sauna. Never mind, think of army days and bear with the stickiness.

After the LPG overall body toning, abs trimming, self-heat mask, weight vaporising, & sauna, my midsection was wrapped up like a popiah for another 2 hours to keep the fat burning action going.

When I unwrapped the plastic, I got a surprise. My earlier four molehills were gone and my belly was swollen without me being bloated from food. And my bicycle tyre had become a motorbike one! But I guess sometimes things have to get worst before they can get better. Just like cancer patients going through chemotherapy. They will experience a lot of side effects such as hair loss and vomiting before they start to recover.

It’s been two days since my ab treatments and the tummy area is still sore, but the swell is subsiding. And it looks like my body renovation will be replacing the big hump, with some smaller ones soon. 🙂

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