Workout Without Working Out

Our Fearless Volunteer Tones Her Muscles with the New EmSculpt

By Gina Guilford

September 2019

If pressed to name my least favorite body part, it would have to be my stomach. My abs (or lack thereof) haven’t seen the light of day since I sported a plum string bikini to South Beach, back in the ’80s. Three kids and 30 years later, I’d given up on my “abs,” along with working for the FBI and making my Broadway debut. That was until I heard about EmSculpt, a new, non-invasive treatment designed to sculpt the abdominal muscles and reduce fat cells simultaneously.

My EmSculpt treatments took place at Dr. Daniel Careaga’s office in Downtown Coral Gables, where the staff was professional, informative and compassionate. Mariana Aristizabal, a medical assistant, directed me to a treatment room where I was instructed to remove all jewelry. Anyone who has any metal in their body, or electronics (such as a pace maker), is not eligible for this procedure, because the EmSculpt machine utilizes an electromagnetic charge to contract muscles.

Next, Physician Assistant Reana Myers explained the procedure, took photographs of my abs and weighed me – the most painful part of the procedure. Then she secured the large, plastic EmSculpt apparatus to my body with a Velcro belt; it extended from my upper rib cage to my groin area. I was instructed to lie down and relax.

The machine that monitored my progress started, sounding a bit like a mini lawnmower. At first, the zaps that induce involuntary muscle contractions (thousands in a couple minutes) felt like a tickle on my abs. They eventually got stronger. In between the electromagnetic pulses, the machine emitted a strong tapping sensation; this part of the procedure breaks up lactic acid and flushes out toxins, reducing soreness. There are three phases that cycle through the 30-minute procedure.

“On a scale of one to 10, what is your discomfort level?” asked Myers. My discomfort level never rose above a five. Because I was tolerant of the pulses, the degree of intensity was ramped up. For the next session two days later, she began with a higher intensity and got to 100 percent faster, in order to maximize the results.

There’s no downtime after an EmSculpt procedure. You can work out as usual; just avoid ab exercises on the days when the procedure is administered. I was a bit sore in my upper abs after the first session (possibly because this is an area I don’t normally exercise), but other than that, I had no after effects.

EmSculpt treatments last 30 minutes, with a minimum of four sessions scheduled two to three days apart, and cost $3,000. Results are seen as quickly as immediately after the first treatment but are most noticeable 12 weeks after the procedure.

The science behind EmSculpt is that it induces strong muscle contractions, causing the tissue to remodel and strengthening the abdominal muscles. This is what “sculpts” the abs. As a bonus, when the muscles are zapped with the electromagnetic charge, it overwhelms fat cells, causing 19 percent, on average, to die.

“It’s like doing 20,000 crunches in 30 minutes,” explained Minia Acosta, whotrained Careaga’s staff on the EmSculpt machine. I returned at the six and 12-week marks to discuss my progress and take follow-up photos. My stomach felt tauter, stronger and had more definition. While I might not be rockin’ a plum string bikini on South Beach again, I did feel confident enough to don a red, white and blue two-piece on the Fourth of July.

“Wow, mama!” said my daughter, A.J. “Looking hot! We must have good genes.” Yes, and a little EmSculpt certainly helped.