Best For: Weight loss and muscle sculpting
The skinny: If you don't like cream cheese or squats, then skip immediately to the next review because Educogym LOVES these. But more on that later.
This system like no other: you go three or four times a week for a 15min workout session. Yes, just a mere 15mins.
The theory is that if you emit huge surges of Incredible Hulk-style power in a short space of time, the impact on your muscles trains them get stronger and become more efficient at burning fat. Don't be scared off by visions of body-builder bulked biceps - 15mins (even daily) won't get those results; instead we're talking lean, toned muscles with definition (think J-Lo, not Jodie Marsh).
The sessions are fast and furious and come in three parts: legs & calves, arms & shoulders and chest & back. You do one of these 'areas' per workout so that each day focuses on a different zone.
The workouts are done on a giant multi-machine, with various benches, seats, weights and pulleys poking out from around a central core, all with the expert guidance of an Educogym trainer.
My favourite routine (arms & shoulders) includes a great exercise whereby you lie on the floor and pull a weighted strap over your head, releasing every bit of desk-bound tension. Meanwhile my nemesis (legs & calves) has one excruciating squat exercise where you have to lift a heavy weight on your shoulders. 60 times. Ouch!
Every session ends with a series of ab crunches and each time I left with that addictive pleasure/pain endorphin glow.
If want extra fast results, start with the 12-day kick-start plan that involves a daily workout, a full body assessment, weight and measurement monitoring and a strict diet plan. The latter is hard-core: high fat, medium protein and zero carbs, so a typical meal is half a tub of full-fat cream cheese with smoked salmon and walnuts, with a ton of amino-acid supplement pills to support your muscles and keep them munching away at your fat supplies.
It sounds bonkers but the chemistry works: I lost 7lbs of fat and gained 2lb of muscle in 12 days. Each session is over before you've broken a sweat and you can't help but be inspired by the wall of before-and-after photos from past clients.
If you're time-poor, love high-power workouts and can't stand mundane time-consuming cardio, this is the programme for you.
Where: There are four centres in London, one in Leamington Spa and 24 in Ireland (www.educogym.com; 020 7637 5855)
How much: £295 a month for unlimited sessions, nutritional advice, diet plans and regular assessments.