Fit to be tried: Hypoxi Therapy
What's the downside of losing weight? Are you mad, I hear you ask -- there is no downside.
But there can be. It's where you lose the weight that can pose a problem -- your face and, for women, your boobs: the very places where you want to plump, not plummet.
A system available across the country claims to have devised a "scientifically proven" method of allowing you to knock off the kilos, but from the areas you want.
"You are an apple," announces my supervisor when I show up for my inaugural Hypoxi treatment in Clontarf, north Dublin.
So into the Hypoxi machine I go, battened inside from the chest down with a wetsuit-style rubber hoop fastened around the torso.
Once you're in lockdown, you cycle (although you can't see your legs as they are beneath the fastened console) for 30 minutes.
The idea is to raise your temperature by at least three degrees, and bring about increased circulation to those areas with stubborn fat deposits.
Opposite me, a tall man with a rugby-type build is doing it tougher. He's hooked up to a treadmill by a piece of tubing attached to his wetsuit.
Another woman is lying down inside what looks like a tanning machine, but inside she's cycling.
She tells me she's back for a second series of Hypoxi treatments, as it helped her previously to shake off baby fat. So how does it all work?
"Fat burns more readily in the parts of the body that have strong blood circulation," promises the Hypoxi blurb.
The therapy works on the premise that strong blood flow is needed in the part of the body where you want to burn fat. Unfortunately, the fat accumulation in problem areas makes it harder for the blood to pass through the system.
"We use a gentle vacuum effect so the blood can travel through specific fat cells and convert fat to free fatty acids, which the muscles then burn off as energy," says the Clontarf Hypoxi manager Teresa Dalton.
The advice is to sign up for at least 12 sessions to gain maximum benefit from the process and its three-way approach to attack fat build-up: a vacuum method similar to the ancient technique of cupping certain areas of the body; compression, when pressure is applied to the tissue; and finally moderate exercise to promote your fat-burning metabolism.
In standard exercise, it's often the top half of our body that gets the warmest.
Consequence? A slim upper body, but fat deposits and cellulite in the lower regions, say the folk at Hypoxi, a word derived from the Latin hypoxia meaning a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the body.
The therapy also claims to improve the tone of your skin and reduce your size where you want it.
There are helpful nutritional guidelines issued when you sign up for the treatment. These include instructions to cut down on fat, and not to eat carbohydrates for a few hours after your session.
Many people tell how they've used the therapy successfully. These include 'Fair City' actress Rachel Kavanagh and model and actress Michelle McGrath ('The Tudors') .
"I was a bit sceptical at first, but I used Hypoxi for four weeks and was genuinely amazed by the results. I have visibly reduced my cellulite, plus I've lost half-a-stone," says Ms Kavanagh.
Other well-known fans include Cheryl Cole, Robbie Williams, Simon Cowell, Louise Redknapp, Michelle Heaton and Tamzin Outhwaite.
As for me, improvements are marginal, although I don't have a lot to lose. But staff assure me my skin tone has improved. Nothing poxy about that.
Did it work? Marginal improvement
Pluses: Shifting fat from where you want
Minuses: Uses up time when you could be doing more challenging exercise
Cost: €495 for 12 sessions