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EMS: The Future of Workouts With The Katalyst Suit

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In a recent weekly roundup, I reported on what I called “Possibly The World’s Most Efficient (New) Workout: The “Katalyst,” and told you to get ready for the next frontier of electrical muscle stimulation.

In my book Boundless, on my podcast, and elsewhere, I’ve talked about how I use electrical muscle stimulation, also known as “EMS”…

…but with all other forms of EMS I’ve used in the past, although getting great results for injury rehab, muscle growth, targeted muscle “re-training,” and more, I’ve also had to deal with all sorts of wires, time-consuming electrode attachments, confusing user interfaces, and a pretty clunky experience that takes up a lot of time.

This brand-new electrical muscle stimulation suit called the Katalyst is a total game-changer. You literally just pull on the suit and select from any of the workouts on the app and a personal trainer not only walks you through the entire workout, which involves functional fitness moves like squats, side lunges, presses, cardiovascular and power movements, and a whole lot more…

…but the intensity is automatically adjusted by your trainer as you go, and so it also creates a highly customized workout. This is one of the coolest time hacks for exercise that I’ve discovered in a long time and—coming from a guy who has done a lot of different workouts—I can tell you that this thing is not some gimmicky “As Seen On TV” technology that you use to get a six-pack while you’re sitting on the couch eating Twinkies.

Instead, I think this technology is going to take the fitness world by storm. Pro athletes can train muscles they’ve never used before and retrain injured muscles while complete exercise beginners or those in rehab can lift weights without excess stress on the joints.

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Again, the Katalyst suit is a total game-changer, and this thing is flying off the shelves now as folks discover the magic of EMS. Here’s where you can get the Katalyst suit today (that link gives you “early access” to getting a unit for yourself).

I wanted to get the founder and CEO of Katalyst—Bjoern Woltermann—on the show to take a deep dive into exactly how this new technology works.

Using proven Full-Body EMS (Electro Muscle Stimulation) technology, Katalyst removes common barriers to fitness like time, ability and motivation, and replaces them with a 20-minute, full-body workout that works with your body rather than against it. Because there are no weights and no joint impact, Katalyst empowers all people to live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

A startup veteran and economist by trade, Bjoern was introduced to Full-Body EMS as a way to fit strength training into his busy travel schedule and to rehabilitate a back injury. After training every Monday for six weeks, Bjoern was amazed to find himself both pain-free and in better physical shape than he had been in years. He soon realized that this technology had the potential to significantly improve millions of lives. Driven by an innate desire to serve people, Bjoern founded Katalyst in 2015 to bring Full-Body EMS to the United States.

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Aside from Katalyst, Bjoern is a devoted husband and uncle who loves to travel the world and is committed to a healthy lifestyle.

During this discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Bjoern got interested in EMS…8:54

  • In 2012, he had a corporate job; flying all over the world
  • This resulted in chronic back pain
  • Advised to strengthen core and lower back, otherwise he would end up with herniated disc
  • Introduced to an EMS clinic (20-minute treatment is too good to be true)
  • Bodystreet studio EMS
  • The format is 2 people with one trainer
  • After 6 weeks, with one session per week, he was pain-free, no pain meds, etc.
  • Two different reactions: horribly uncomfortable or relatively manageable
  • Breathwork is important for comfort level
  • EMS is far more popular in Germany than in the U.S.; pre-COVID, Germany had around 2,500 EMS studios

-A brief history of EMS training…15:10

-The science that backs up the efficacy of EMS…19:10

  • EMS devices are FDA-regulated, treated as a medical device
  • The hurdles were too high for manufacturers to expand in the U.S.
  • Some European universities carry out 2-3 full-blown studies on EMS per year; a mini-knowledge base has been created around the devices, with around 85 medical studies done so far
  • Hockey players 1.5% faster after EMS; jumping height of basketball players
  • New way to activate muscles; easier to target specific muscle fibers

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-Why EMS induces a high amount of soreness…23:20

  • Muscle damage induced by electrical stimulation: “the magnitude of muscle damage induced by ES-evoked isometric contractions is comparable to that induced by maximal voluntary eccentric contractions”
  • Previously unused and dormant muscles
  • The Katalyst suit hits 13 areas of the body, each muscle group has its own channel
  • No muscles left behind
  • Much more complete muscle activation; increasing the recruitment of muscle fibers in each repetition
  • Get to an exhaustive state of the muscle faster
  • Activate more muscle fibers at the same time, subconsciously this is how it’s supposed to feel
  • Need extreme loads to activate fast-twitch muscle fibers or very quick movements with conventional weight training
  • Cardio mode causes the muscle to be active, transform energy into motion, calorie burn effect
  • Airdyne bike is the ultimate EMS workout
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-Why the body gets so hot in an EMS suit…34:05

  • How much muscle activation is going on at a given time
  • A two-hour gym workout is squeezed into a 20-minute session
  • Excess heat generated by muscles working is not evaporated over a 2-hour period but in 20 minutes
  • The body needs to cool off from so much work done in so short a time
  • Water provides adequate conductivity

-Why different ranges of motion are used in EMS…37:00

  • Always start with why. Why are you doing this workout? What’s the ultimate goal? What’s the ultimate outcome?
    • You want to achieve a stronger body, you want to have access to your muscles
    • You want flexibility and have a full range of motion
  • No shortened muscles, no tension like tightness around the neck
  • One of Ben’s training clients had knee pain disappear after using the Katalyst for a couple of sessions
  • Usually, unused muscles are in a tight state as a protective mechanism
  • Katalyst training is getting muscles into an exhaustive state; previously injured areas become softened up and loosened
  • Relax the muscle, get back to a natural function

-The recovery setting on the Katalyst…40:45

  • Recovery mode promotes blood flow
  • Very low frequency, 1 twitch a second
  • Pumping effect to the muscles; pumping massaging effect that promotes nutrient and lactic acid movement

-How EMS may affect longevity and anti-aging…42:20

  • EMS is a solution to a lot of different problems in this day and age; people don’t have time to work out
  • Study of 100 women over the age of 75
    • Two of the women dropped out, not because it was too stringent
    • Gained muscle mass, reversed atrophy
    • Increased walking speed 10-20%
      • Walking speed, grip strength, and ability to get off the floor are good metrics for longevity
    • Gained bone density

-How to mix regimens to get the most out of EMS…45:20

  • Do strength/power on first day followed by 10 minutes of cardio
  • Day 2, cardio only
  • Day 3-4, do strength again
  • Do two sessions per week
  • Katalyst suit is 3 to 3.5 lbs, depending on the size
  • Strength training should have some intervals in-between while cardio can be done every day

-Topicals or cold packs that can improve the efficacy of EMS…47:30

-How the EMS routines are conducted in real-time…50:20

  • Katalyst has a catalog of exercises, now numbering about 160
  • System is completely wireless
  • Things are in the works to do EMS detached from the current system
  • Trainers are actually getting the treatment while the user does
  • Roles of customer and trainer are very different
  • Immersive experience for the customer
  • The system always remembers what you are doing, so it learns over time
  • The levels are always individual to a person
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-How to access the Katalyst and skip the waitlist…58:30

  • There is a limited supply but using the link basically skips the waitlist

-And much more!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

– Bjoern Woltermann:

– Podcasts And Articles:

  • The Ultimate Biohacked Workout & The Future Of Fitness: Minimal Effective Doses, Cold, Blood Flow Restriction, Electrical Muscle Stimulation, Ozone & More!, at SystimFit in New York City.
  • The Most Powerful Electrical Muscle Stimulation Device Known To Humankind (& Exactly How To Use It), with Garrett Salpeter.
  • Nerdy Ways To Lose Fat, Build Muscle & Maintain A Nice Body As You Age, with Thomas Delauer.
  • How Underground Russian Techniques From Old Soviet Training Journals Can Turn You Into An Endurance Beast, with Jay Schroeder.
  • Podcast Episode #35: What It Truly Takes for Lightspeed Exercise Recovery!, with Jeff Spencer.
  • How To Use Electrical Muscle Stimulation to Enhance Performance, Build Power and VO2 Max
  • How To Quickly Biohack Your Nervous System & Muscle Growth With Electrostimulation.
  • The Ultimate Breathwork Ninja Guide: How To Banish Stress & Kiss High Cortisol Goodbye
  • The Weekly Roundup: Your Go-To Guide For Everything You May Have Missed This Week & More! 5/15-5/21

– Gear:

– Other Resources:

Upcoming events:

Episode sponsors:

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–Kion Refer a Friend: My personal playground for new supplement formulations, Kion blends ancestral wisdom with modern science. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners, save 20% off your first order with code BGF20, and we’ll pay you to send your friends to us!

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Bjoern or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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