Celena, fashion & editorial coordinator
Length of trial: One class
The lowdown: The idea behind Orangetheory is simple: it’s all about you. The foundation of the 60-minute class is your very own heart rate – while you’re on the treadmill, indoor rower and hitting the weights, your heart rate is beamed up to the front of the room and used as motivation. Combined with interval training and a circuit philosophy, you’ve got a workout that doesn’t mess around; women can expect to burn around 800 calories per session – and keep burning fat for a full 24 hours afterwards.
A typical session: I had no idea what to expect when I turned up for class at the slick white and orange-themed gym. But Ben, our instructor, was welcoming and patient when taking me through the workout and equipment. This isn’t a big, impersonal gym – it has a boutique feel and there were only a dozen people in my class. Ben explained that each class changes, but the principles remain the same: high-intensity interval training based on your own heart rate and three core components: the treadmill, the rower and weight training. The combination makes for a killer workout, as I soon discovered. We were split into two groups to start on the cardio section, and I jumped on a treadmill, with a heart rate monitor strapped to my chest. Then, wirelessly, my heart rate popped up on the huge screen at the front of the room, along with everyone else’s, showing what ‘zone’ I was in, along with how many calories I was burning. I felt instantly motivated to work harder! As we ran and rowed to Top 40 tunes, Ben walked around, encouraging each of us individually and coaching us on what we should be aiming for. By the time I jumped off the treadmill and onto the rower, I was soaked with sweat – but it was great to give my legs a bit of a break and get my arms involved. Thirty minutes in, it was time for weight training, which meant a lot of compound exercises (movements like squat-presses, which use more than one muscle group at a time), TRX suspension training and work with more familiar gym equipment like medicine balls. By the time we were done, I was pooped, but also enjoying a massive endorphin rush. Even though I work out regularly, I found myself sore the day after.
The verdict: This felt like a completely different way to work out, and I loved it – I’d definitely go back. It really pushed me to work harder than usual and I liked the focus on calorie burning, which I found motivating! Even though it was really tough, I felt great for the rest of the day.
Intensity rating: For me, it was an 8/10 – but this would depend on your level of fitness.
Results: I felt really energised afterwards, and I imagine that if weight loss is your goal, this would be a great fat burner. I also love that there’s a toning component involved, too.
Length of trial: One two-hour session
The lowdown: Thermage uses radiofrequency technology to penetrate the skin and stimulate collagen. But what does that even mean? Basically, if you think of collagen as a series of springs under your skin, that can slacken over time, Thermage shocks them with heat that causes them to tighten – resulting in firmer looking skin. As it works on the deeper levels, there is no visible redness or rashes, and therefore no down time after undergoing the treatment.
A typical session: After arriving at The Clinic in Bondi Junction, I was taken into a treatment room where the procedure was explained. It had been recommended I take pain killers a couple of hours before coming in, which I did, though I was quickly reassured that most patients don’t find the experience too painful. After cleansing my skin, a temporary ‘map’ of guidelines was transferred onto my face. For the next hour or so, the small nozzle of the machine was moved across my face in patterns – on the cheeks, over the chin and jowls, across the forehead – sending pulses of the radiofrequency waves into my skin. After completing one side of my face, the nurse let me look in a mirror to see the already visible difference. In addition to Thermage, which can’t be used around your eyes, I was also given a Pelleve treatment, which applies heat to treat the fine lines around the eyes, with amazing results that last about a week.
The verdict: Though Thermage was a little painful at times, and not relaxing like a facial generally is, the results were immediate and obvious. My skin felt plump, and there was no redness or any other signs that I’d had anything done. The most pleasing change was that I looked less tired, even when I felt exhausted and hadn’t had much sleep. I’m looking forward to seeing how the results change over the coming months, but even after just a few weeks I would definitely undergo Thermage again. In conjunction with the Pelleve treatment around the eyes, this is the ultimate combo for perfect skin.
Intensity rating: 1-8/10 While mostly pain free, there were small areas of my face where I felt a sharp, burning sensation, however it was quick to subside.
Results: An instant refresher, this is an ideal (and easy!) treatment to perfect your complexion before the wedding, and results can last for up to 12 months.
Cost: Thermage, $3000, and Pelleve, $500. Receive a 20% discount when you pre-pay for three treatments.
LightStim for Wrinkles
Naomi, features & beauty editor
Length of trial: Four weeks
The lowdown: What do your skin and your succulent plant have in common? Just like houseplants, our skin absorbs light from the sun and converts it into energy (year seven science class memories, anyone?). But while plants can use the sun safely, UV rays damage our sensitive skin. Enter LightStim: the handheld devices use LED light therapy to deliver energy in a similar way plants absorb light from the sun – just without the UV. That supposedly means an increased regeneration of cells, the stimulation of collagen and elastin production and – ta da! – better skin. Painless and suitable for all skin types, it promises to lessen fine lines and wrinkles, reduce the appearance of pore size, improve texture and bump up that ever-elusive glow.
A typical session: After I brushed my teeth and washed my face each night, I committed to the recommended three minutes of light therapy per area covered by the circular head the size of a mint slice. It took nine minutes in total to cover off my forehead, the spot where I’m starting to notice horizontal lines that make me look like I’ve been raising my eyebrows constantly. The light, which is easy to hold, emits a warm glow on your skin, so, although tedious, it’s not an unpleasant few minutes of waiting for the device to do its thing.
A handy buzzer sounds when the three minutes is up, prompting you to shift the light to the next spot. Afterwards, my face feels warm and I slap on my night cream before hitting the hay. But does it do anything? After a couple of weeks, my skin does feel smoother, yes. At the end of the month, I do think my fine lines have softened – and I’ll keep going for the recommended eight weeks to see if they reduce even more.
The verdict: This feels like an easy way to introduce an amped-up anti-ageing technique into your skincare regimen, that’s beyond another serum, and it’s one that doesn’t cost a fortune or require an appointment at a spa. If I had more time and motivation, I’d cover my whole face – but that would take around half an hour, and most nights my bed feels far more appealing. But an extra ten minutes a day for smoother skin in my trouble zone? Sign me up.
Intensity rating: 2/10 – a time commitment, for sure, and a little boring, but certainly not difficult or painful.
Results: This isn’t a silver bullet for fine lines, but it delivered a step up from my regular skincare routine and softened the lines that were bothering me.
Cost: LightStim for Wrinkles, $249