There is a little bit of magic to our programs so we won’t reveal all their secrets. Like shivering, the muscle contractions we induce, are designed to maximize the calorie burn in muscle fibers and hence the calorie burn / aerobic demand / cardio. When you shiver (7-8 contractions per second) the energy is consumed in the shortening and lengthening of the fibers. You ‘actively’ contract the fibers and the passive recoil comes form the elastic in your tendons. If you do this too quickly the muscle hasn’t had time to lengthen and so the cycle becomes consumes less energy – you produce less heat! And like shivering we aim to contract the most muscle bulk without moving your joints so we balance muscles that kick your leg out and those that retract it.
The Standard programs are designed to exercise you at low to moderate levels of exercise. The equivalent of fast walking or slow jogging. These are ideal for people who are using BionicGym to feel fresh and burn calories.
For intense training you need the PRO or PRO-Intense programs, explanation below.
The HIIT programs mimic High Intensity Interval Training, explanation below.
Since we are all different and use BionicGym in different positions we have Zone – these help maximize the comfort and training of the area you like. Try them all out and see which suits your body-type.
These are in all BionicGym apps. They are in the folder labelled “Hello! Start here!”
- Program: Hi, click this one first, enjoy!
The Program is designed as a gentle introduction to BionicGym exercise sessions. Using the tech for the first time some people can rapidly and easily increase the intensity. Most need a more gentle introduction so it is best to start with a ‘gentle’ program and then increase the intensity slowly and gradually – but steadily during the session and from one session to the next. It is designed to be comfortable on the skin and easy to get used to. There is a slight increase in the tempo of the contractions after five minutes. Many people stay at this level because they enjoy it, it suits them and they find it equally effective as the more ‘aggressive’ exercise programs.
- Program: A little faster after 5m [=5 minutes]
This is similar to the Start Here program but the tempo increases more after 5 minutes. For a given intensity level on BionicGym the exercise level will be greater. But if you find that you can go to intensity 70 on Start Here but only 60 on this program then it may be best to stay with Start Here; as you will contract more muscle fibers (important from a health and fitness perspective).
- Program: … a little faster again after 5 mins.
The tempo increases more again at 5 minutes. For a given intensity this program will exercise you more intensely than the above programs. People with ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibers, like sprinters and some middle-distance runners, may find this their optimal rate.
- Program: Less Cardio more Discreet
This program makes you quiver rather than shake. We’ve added in extra muscle contractions before the previous contraction is fully over and the muscle has lengthened again. The medical term for this is “semi-tetanic”. Because of this there is less gross movement of the muscle it is more discreet and some people like to use it when out in public places. You may not be able to reach the same intensities as the other programs and may find it more fatiguing. For most, the measured cardio / aerobic effect will be lower than our standard programs.
These set of programs shift the focus of the stimulation around. Why? 1) we are all different and need a different balance. Some people need/want more quad (front of leg) contraction and others need more glute / bum /ass or hamstring or calf involvement. 2) Different Zones may work best for you in different positions. All of these programs are designed to stimulate all areas but give the strongest stimulation in one area.
- More Behind You : The Glutes (bum/ass) and also extra Hamstring (back of leg)
- BionicQuads : front of leg (the Quadriceps muscle group)
- Twinkle-Toes Calf +++ : extra calf contraction. Some people if they increase the intensity rapidly will find themselves up on their tippy-toes.
Note: those looking for maximal cardio effect should try Twinkle-Toes Calf+++ standing at high intensities. There are two reasons to stand. When you are standing the heart has to work harder (against gravity) to suck the blood back to the heart before squeezing it around the body again. Secondly, the calf muscles are quite slow to lengthen again and are aided by gravity when you stand. We also recommend that people use it standing the first time or two that they try BionicGym.
Note: some people may find that one zone suits them in a particular body position but not another, e.g. sitting versus lying. So find what is best for you.
The PRO Programs
These unleash much greater intensities. They are similar to the standard suite of programs, see above, but go to a much higher intensity. So intensity 100 on a standard program may be equivalent to, say, intensity 60 on the PRO.
These are intended for people who wish to push themselves and train hard to ‘feel the burn’. At higher intensities they are the equivalent of running. Note some people need to train up their muscles first and get very habituated to the stimulation before they can really push themselves. These are intended for healthy people who want to train hard.
As with the Standard programs it is important to find which works best for you. As a general rule the higher the intensity you can go on a program the better it will be for you. If you have a lot of fast twitch muscle fibers (you can sprint or do a middle distance run with a spurt at the end) then the ‘faster’ ‘faster again’ programs will be ideal for you.
The PRO-Intense Programs
These programs add in extra covert pulses. Masochists will like these programs!. The overall architecture of the exercise pattern remains similar to the PRO programs but we get the muscle fibers to work a little bit harder. While this was intended as a very intense workout some users have found they like it at lower intensities too. The program “Fire it up [DB]” is named in honor of Denise Bailey, a fire fighter in San Francisco, who was an early backer and believer in the power of BionicGym. She has run our female community group and inspired myself (Louis) and many others. “Even More Heat” ups the tempo once more…
The HIIT Programs
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Like regular HIIT classes the exercise level is easy and then ramps up rapidly to become tougher. You set the intensity at the max level you will be comfortable with. And the intensity will ramp up to that on a periodic basic. Typically, the HIIT programs have different phases… each more difficult than the last. Usually there are three step changes – so if you find the first phase too easy… don’t worry! Note: these are automatic increases at the quarter, half and three-quarter marks. So be prepared.
There are two basic variations: Waves and Sharp Peaks. In the Waves the intensity never drops too low and it increases more gradually to the maximum. In the Sharp Peaks programs the intensity starts very low and then there is a rapid increase in intensity before it falls off to the low level again. With each automatic step increase the maximum of each wave/peak gets higher and then higher and lasts longer.
We recommend that you start with the Waves the first time you try a HIIT program.
From time to time we release Beta programs. If they prove to be very popular and effective we will keep them. Some of them are marked “for experienced users only”. The reason is that these may feel slightly coarse if you are new to BionicGym. Your body needs to habituate to standard programs and sensations first. Once comfortable with stimulation then you should try these out.
Glucose Gobblers : the control of glucose (sugar) is hugely important to our health and weight-control. The big muscle fibers, which are generally held in reserve and not used much in everyday life, have a tremendous capacity to consume glucose. This program is designed to target these sugar-hungry fibers and maximize the sugar consumption.
They are two-hour programs and have automatic step changes in intensity. These happen about every half hour or so. As they are a long program most people’s muscles will fatigue and to continue ‘gobbling glucose’ we increase the intensity.
The intensity also undulates a little, this is intended to gently bring in new muscle fibers.
At the time of writing we have two Glucose Gobbler programs. “x3 step increases; 2 hours” and “Looser Contractions; 2 hours”. Both of these have step increases, i.e. the intensity goes up by itself. The legs feel freer in the Looser Contractions. This simply suits a lot of people. It was instantly popular especially with women who wished to lose weight.
Many people use these programs to diet and lose weight, they are especially effective with low-carb or keto diet. (They will get you back into keto quickly, if you lapse).