Lose weight, tone muscles without breaking a sweat?

February 28, 2012 8:48:32 AM PST
Let's face it, some of us lead such busy lives spending an hour at the gym five days a week just to stay in shape is nearly impossible.

But what if you could achieve the same results, doing something just 10 minutes a day and without breaking a sweat? The concept has roots right here in Houston and is about to go mainstream.

For Hilary Brown, life is one big juggling act. With three kids and a career, working out hasn't fit into her schedule, so staying fit has been a real challenge.

"I'd rather be a certain size in my clothes. If I could fit into my size 6 jeans, that would be awesome," she said.

Shaking 10 minutes a day on a machine that claims to work out 90 percent of the muscles in your body, all at the same time, may be just what she needs.

"Within 30 days, you are going to see something," said Gail Hightower with ZAAZ Studios.

It's called ZAAZ, which is Hebrew for movement. While working out on a machine that does the work for you might sound like a gimmick, studios like the one in southwest Houston are growing in popularity and insist they are not giving clients a false sense of hope.

"There's an entire push for people to get into other methods of working out other than the traditional go to the gym or pump iron," said Wil Glennie with ZAAZ Studios said.

Brown was eager to give it a shot. We tracked her progress over three and a half weeks to see if she gets the results she's been looking for.

"I would love to tone. I would love to have some time by myself; a small amount of time to maximize my workout," Brown said.

Shaking, or whole body vibration, as a tool to work your muscles has been around for a while. It was initially developed for cosmonauts in the Russian space program back in the 1960s. NASA is even toying with the concept for astronauts.

As an added benefit, you don't have to invest a lot of money on gym clothes. You can just come dressed as you are.

But can you boost your metabolism and shed those unwanted inches without breaking a sweat?

"There are studies that go both ways," said William Amonette, assistant professor of fitness and human performance at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Amonette says this is not a substitute for good old-fashioned exercise.

"It's like anything else in fitness. It's a tool. It's not everything but it's something that can be used with other tools in order to improve our overall health," Amonette said.

We checked Brown's progress half way through her program.

"I'm noticing a toner body. A firmer -- my legs are firmer, my legs are tighter," Brown said.

A week later, now almost a month after she started the program, it was the moment Brown has been waiting for.

"My jeans are a little looser on the thighs and around my midsection, I've noticed a difference there too," she said.

Houston already has three ZAAZ Studios. Plans are in the works for more studios to open in Denver and San Francisco.