Try vacuuming that flab away

another 'surefire' method of losing weight, but when it comes down to it, there's no 'quick fix', says pat henry

The quest for new trends in fitness continues as we explore the new concepts and trends being unleashed on to the Irish market. This time comes a new development by an Irish firm called Sásta which is heralded by Fiona Egan. Having completing two years' research and investment of over €400,000, she identified a vacuum-based exercise programme that, she claimed, combined with a lightweight training workout, is a perfect match for those wanting to lose extra pounds without too much effort.

I am regularly being asked to try out new ideas for losing weight and, being the sceptic that I am, and having seen so many fads and gimmicks coming and going over the years, some just silly and some dangerous, it was with great interest that I went along to DCU to try out this new 'fitness pod'.

We met Prof Niall Moyna and his team, who were carrying out trials with athletes to quantify the health impact of this fitness pod and its results. Prof Moyna works with the preparation and progress of our Olympic athletes and upcoming stars of the track and field. What a great team.

The Sásta Pod is basically a treadmill enclosed in a vacuum chamber or pod. The treadmill is completely enclosed with glass fibre casing. When you step in you are enclosed from the waist down. Rubber skirting is fitted over your waist and clipped over the entrance hole to ensure no air escapes. When the treadmill moves forward, your lower body is exposed to negative pressure caused by a vacuum of air which makes you feel like you are being pulled down from the waist, giving the effect of working the legs and bum a lot harder.

The young lady I brought along is super fit and a serious runner, but after 10 minutes at level 5 she had to decrease the level as her legs were feeling like lead. The vacuum increased the intensity of the workout, which also increases blood circulation in body parts which are naturally prone to excessive fat deposits such as the abs, the hips, the bottom and the thighs. You can select whatever level you are comfortable with and build up from a saunter to a sprint. This pod will appeal to people who like walking or running and athletes will be able to intensify their workouts. After the half hour recommended, your legs will feel like you have started on Everest. But as you get fitter and increase pressure, maybe you could tackle your nearest mountain top.


After half an hour, calories burnt would be 700 at high intensity. This compares with 500 calories for a one-hour brisk walk. If this programme is combined with an overall light dumbbell programme to cover all body parts it will make a difference combined with a good healthy eating plan.

With ongoing trials and tracking client results, some say they have had improvement in:

> Blood circulation > Tired Leg Syndrome

> Cardio fitness > Improved varicose veins

> Lower blood pressure, etc.

It's great to see an Irish product that has been developed here and exported to the USA, not the other way around. Let's hope it's a great success. My legs are still tender! For more information check out

At the end of the day, while this new vacuum pod appears to be very successful in helping to shape the lower body, the same rule continues to apply that losing weight is 60pc diet and 40pc exercise. So no matter what way you try to lose the weight, don't fool yourself into thinking you can continue to eat and drink to excess. You need to train yourself to start a healthy eating plan.

Don't think of your new eating plan as a diet, because the word diet conjures up an image of denying yourself all the foods that you like and you will be destined to fail in the long run.

You need to start eating healthily and if you crave that piece of chocolate, well, just have a small piece and continue on the healthy diet plan. Cut out saturated fats and try to avoid white bread and sugar. Strive to maintain a long-term healthy eating plan and make it part of your life. It may take a little longer to lose the weight, but the slower it comes off, the longer it will stay off.