Electro Muscle Stimulation, Changing the Future of Fitness
By Olivia Preston
As a qualified level 3 personal trainer and nutritional advisor, it was only natural for Alba Casucci to want to be ahead of the curve and part of a new wave of fitness instructors harnessing technology. After two years as an EMS (Electro Muscle Stimulation) personal trainer, the mother of three opened EMS FISICO in November 2021, as the UK’s first EMS studio dedicated to group classes, situated in the heart of Richmond.
“Fitness is a journey with small wins along the way.”
You successfully launched EMSFISCO studio 3 months ago – why did you decide to create the UK’s 1st EMS studio specifically dedicated to group classes?
I started EMS FISICO in 2019 and turned my living room into a fitness studio. Very quickly coffee tables, sofas and side tables all ended up in storage and were replaced with rubber gym mats on the floor, training equipment and a long row of full-body EMS suits. But the dream couldn’t happen from my living room training clients individually!
It sounds a bit cheesy, but what’s the point of owning a business that you hope to play a major role within your community if it’s not an extension of your own character and personality?
I’m very upbeat, I love being around other people and so that’s the vibe I also wanted at my studio – it was less about being the 1st in the UK to do it and more about being somewhere you can train hard but have fun with others doing so. As a business owner, you also dream of growth, training more people at once leads to growth. At the same time, I’ve purposely kept groups to a maximum of 5 because I feel like people are more likely to interact with one another in smaller groups.
How is EMS different from a normal fitness workout?
It’s completely different. An electro muscle stimulation workout is the use of electric impulses that make your muscles contract whilst performing simple exercises. The extra stimulus impulses make your body work a lot harder during an exercise session than it ever could do on its own.
For example, if you go to the gym and want to work on your strength you have to work on each muscle group individually, arms, chest, back, legs and so on but my full body EMS suits work all your major muscle groups at the same time – it’s a very intense 20 minutes but it’s also a very efficient way to spend your time training.
Before I was first introduced to EMS I was spending six days a week going to the gym taking part in various classes such as Zumba, spin and HIIT to stay fit and toned. Now, I just give myself two twenty-minute EMS sessions a week.
How have you expanded your business by integrating new software, like your app?
EMS is already an established method of fitness around the world, but in the UK, it’s still very niche. It deserves to be mainstream because of the benefits it delivers. I place a great deal of importance on how I operate as a business and brand.
From an image point of view, launching the EMS FISICO app was almost as important as getting a studio premises to train my clients out of – it legitimises EMS FISICO’s professionalism but also EMS in the UK in general.
I’m not the only EMS studio doing great things around the country but there needs to be more. If I can help elevate EMS or inspire other EMS trainers to go from their living room to investing into things like their own app or studio, then we can all win – especially the consumer because more studios will emerge on the high street and EMS will become more accessible.
What would you say to women who want to get fit but have found getting into a regular fitness routine difficult?
It’s important to be realistic and set yourself mini targets before moving onto the next target. The real reason people struggle to be consistent with their fitness is that they set their expectations too high and want to see the results too quickly.
Over the past two years many people have felt their mental health deteriorate due to various lockdowns and changes to our lives, why is finding time for fitness so important for our mental and physical wellbeing?
Being fit is so much more than being able to slip into a smaller dress size or looking good in the mirror. Earlier this year, somebody came in for a trial with me, and part of their feedback was that they had more energy and a feeling of euphoria for the rest of their day after their session.
Now when you pair that with the fact that moving more gives you more energy and being regular with your exercise is proven to reduce stress, boost your self-esteem and lower blood pressure you begin to understand that fitness is integral to living an overall healthy life, not just important.
Over the last few years we have seen fitness fanatics drawn to the group environments of spin classes, Zumba and now, EMS. Why do you think group activities are so beneficial?
It’s the energy that you can garner from the interaction. From my point of view, just because an EMS workout is intense, it doesn’t mean that the training environment needs to be too.
When there’s interaction, good energy naturally occurs. That’s when you can really maximise a workout because you end up having fun with one another and that type of energy helps everyone fuel those last few minutes when you just don’t think you can give anymore.
Before I opened my studio, I had some clients that were unsure about working out within a group. Now they love working in groups – they’re meeting new people; coffee mornings have switched to EMS mornings, and ultimately all of this helps people to be more consistent with their fitness and wellbeing.
As a mother of three, what is your message for other mothers who are thinking of starting their own business?
Don’t be afraid to back yourself. If you’ve got a business idea that solves a problem, then go and grab the opportunity. But do it knowing that you will have to make sacrifices and that you’re going to experience every type of emotion there is.
I knew that EMS solved a problem for time-poor, busy people. What perhaps I didn’t factor in was that I was going to end up being one of those people too! This meant that my day very quickly went from having all the time in the world for my children, to not even being able to eat dinner with them in the evening because my priorities had changed.
Whilst that sounds brutal, it’s just the harsh reality, and as a mother, that’s really testing emotionally, so be prepared to have to find a way to ride it out.
What tips can you give them as a working mother yourself?
Buy your husband a cookbook, add him to the school’s email distribution list and increase your children’s pocket money!
In all seriousness, it’s important to make sure that there’s a willingness and understanding that the day in, day out structure of home life is going to change slightly and that everybody has a different role to play in that.
My husband has set up businesses from zero and so understood the commitment that I would need to make, plus children nowadays are exposed to what it means to be entrepreneurial from a much younger age so my three were excited for me – it helps to include them in some of the decision-making too.
My biggest tip is during the early stages of working for yourself you have a certain edge inside of you that nobody else does. Trust that edge. Don’t always think that others know best or that there’s a certain way of doing something.