In May this year some of our journalists at Keep Fit Kingdom had attended the Elite Sports Expo at ExCeL London and had briefly come across CAR.O.L – an innovative piece of exercise tech integrated into their own sleek, custom made, high end stationary bikes. Last month however, we got in touch with the company directly and was invited to get pretty up close and personal with CAR.O.L – sure enough we had our date…Curious on how that went? Read on for our full review and what we thought of CAR.O.L!
In a nutshell, the purpose of CAR.O.L is to minimise your time and maximise your effort in exchange for optimal results; in other words, to enable you to get the most from a compact window of time. An 8 minute 40 second workout session gives you the equivalent of a 45 mins jog which breaks down as follows:
- 2-minute warm-up
- 20-second sprint
- 3-minute recovery
- 20-second sprint
- 3-minute cool down
CAR.O.L uses HIIT principles to stimulate your genetic response. The protocol depletes your glycogen stores in 20 seconds, which stimulates a physiological change in your muscles to generate more mitochondria so it can burn oxygen and sugar (aerobically) for energy. Your glycogen stores are your back up power reserve and your body would rather burn oxygen and sugar for fuel than your glycogen stores. Wiping out your glycogen stores means your aerobic fitness is too poor to meet your needs. So CAR.O.L stimulates your body to be more aerobically fit to cope with extreme physical demand.
In essence you put your muscles into a kind of micro shock; there are times when you need more energy than what your muscles can currently hold and so doing this 2-3 times per week is effective. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, the response is triggered and if you keep doing it, it’ll keep triggering with the result being that your cardiovascular fitness will increase to cope with the pressure. Just 40 seconds is enough to stimulate the desired response, you’re able to lose weight (in a few weeks) and realise significant benefits which kick in after 10 days.
One of the real-world practical benefits is that you don’t actually break into a sweat when engaged in the recommended workout, so there’s no need to change clothes, save for perhaps your footwear (if you don’t already wear Hush Puppies or their equivalents that is!). It takes time to go and use the washroom etc, but with this, you simply don’t have to.
Understated, sleek and minimalist is definitely trendy in upscale gyms, 5-star hotels and health spas. CAR.O.L’s svelte physique shares those same clean lines and contours. The user-friendly tablet-sized console looks impressive, the display’s clear colour graphics are pleasing on the eye, well-spaced out and easy to read.
The bike, uses high quality, precision-made, dedicated components making it solid, smooth, and slick in operation. From the handlebars with their inbuilt sensors to its rock solid frame and chassis to the comfort of the pedals, seat and weighty, flowing flywheel, the bike has an intuitive design feel that oozes Zen-chic.
I tried one of the recommended workouts as described above. Plugging in headphones, I was amused to find CAR.O.L talking to me and guiding me through the time trial exercise. A running commentary on my progress along with a story of fleeing a tiger in the jungle when the 20-second sprint phase kicked in was certainly an interesting motivator! CAR.O.L eggs you on to cycle HARD to get out of danger and informs you when you’re in the clear from bounding claws and fangs, phew…close one!
After the vigorous micro-session, I felt like I had been through an intense HIIT workout and was spent and somewhat gasping-for-breath but shortly after felt energised, fired-up in body and mood. I think we’re only at the beginning stage of creative and imaginative ways to use Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) programmed and integrated into exercise equipment. I for one would’ve been happy to continue for another ‘normal’ 35-45 mins, but maybe that’s just a bad habit now!
At £2,995, this piece of kit comes in at the higher end of the market. If you enjoy using high quality gym equipment with all the trimmings, want to maximise your time (and spend it on other activities, family, hobbies, building your business etc) and love applied modern technology applied to exercise, this is definitely worth giving a whirl.
CAR.O.L is likely to appeal to men and women, busy parents and corporates who find they have very little time to exercise save their commute to and from the office and grabbing a Starbucks latte/Pret sandwich at lunch, this might well be the best chance they’ve got to get a regular workout in.
To find out more or to order your CAR.O.L exercise cycle, do visit their website. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Love technology as applied to fitness equipment; what’s your favourite piece of A.I. kit or app that you’ve tried so far? What fitness equipment is on your wish list for Xmas? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. (Want more cardiovacular and fitness equipment reviews and articles? Then activate these links, Nordic Track Elite 12.5 Elliptical Trainer, Pulseroll Vibrating Foam Roller and Top 5 Health Benefits of Rowing to SWITCH YOUR Fit ON!)