The problem with exercise is that there's so much moving involved. And it hurts. And it takes time.
Unless you try GOGA. That's where you basically stand on a vibrating platform and let it shake you for 10 minutes. You don't break a sweat or have to move on your own very much. You can just watch TV and your gently bobbing body parts. It's aptly nicknamed the "No-Work Workout." (It stands for, "Get On. Get Active.")
The theory here is that when you're vibrating, your body is thrown off balance, causing thousands of involuntary muscle contractions. This makes your muscles and bones work hard. GOGA believers promise everything from toning and flexibility to weight loss and better bone density. There are some medical studies that show benefits of this type of exercise. Plus, Madonna, Matt Lauer, and teams such as the Mets and the Lakers are allegedly fans.
The first metro Atlanta GOGA studio recently opened in Johns Creek, so of course I had to go check it out. Exercise without effort seems like a brilliant idea. (In fact, didn't Suzanne Sommers already think of this? It sounds vaguely like an infomercial from some time in the '80s.)
A handful of women were shaking away on a weekday morning, quietly encouraged by owner and former Pilates instructor Lorie Scheer. Some just peacefully vibrated. Others lifted hand weights while they quivered. Some had exercise balls between their shaking legs.
Because my idea of exercise is a not-necessarily brisk walk around the park, I took my friend Susanne, a serious runner, with me. We gingerly stepped aboard, grabbed the handles, and hit "go." Immediately, we were dismayed by all the jiggling. But we didn't have time to let the machine do all the work (as promised!) Within seconds, Lorie was handing us weights and balls and having us do planks and all sorts of real exercises while hanging on to the machine. Wasn't this supposed to be all about no exercise?
Apparently, you can ramp things up as much as you want. To me, that defeated the purpose. Fortunately, 10 minutes isn't very long -- even when you're experiencing planks during a seizure.
You wouldn't know it by the sports that played on the TVs overhead, but about 90% of the members at this particular center are women. Lorie said some GOGA-ed as their sole source of exercise, but some were tennis players and runners looking for flexibility or a little something to do on their off days.
Melanie Rilling of Alpharetta said she was skeptical, but her chronic hip pain dissipated after a week on the platforms. "My step daughter is a physiologist and my son-in-law is a doctor so they researched this vibration technology thoroughly for me." She's a believer.
I went home with a bit of a migraine and no sore muscles. Susanne didn't even notice she had been moving. I could totally see the appeal of not having to really do anything but stand there. But admittedly, there's something to be said for feeling a little good achiness after a workout. Maybe I needed to do more planks.
GOGA Studios, 3005 Old Alabama Road, Johns Cree, 30022, 770.343.6007, This is a link to gogajohnscreek.com/