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The New York Post
IN 2009, Mohamed "Mo" Elzomor was having a bit of a crisis. The personal trainer, then 23, had lost his job at a New York Sports Club in Queens. He'd also been kicked out of college for skipping classes, couldn't hold down a job and was generally directionless until his ex-girlfriend gave him a book called "The Secret," which posits the law of attraction — that you get what you tell the world you want, if you believe hard enough.
After it helped him score a date with a high-school crush, he decided to apply it to his stalled career as a personal trainer.
"I ended up saying, 'I want to train four categories of people: billionaires, CEOs, celebrities and royals,'" Elzomor, now 31 and still living in his native Queens, tells The Post. Eight years later, he's ticked each of those boxes — thanks to a new technology previously only available abroad that the elite can't live without: electronic muscle stimulation (EMS), which promises a full workout in just 20 minutes.
As a full-time trainer at Midtown's posh Core Club, which has a $50,000 initiation fee, Elzomor is one of the few New Yorkers with access to an EMS machine.
Popular in St. Barts and Europe, it's just starting to make waves in the US. (An EMS-based studio called Shock Therapy is scheduled to open on the Upper East Side in January.) "A sheik brought it on his private plane," Elzomor says of Core Club's coveted Miha Bodytec machine, which is manufactured in Germany.
EMS involves strapping into what looks like a wetsuit covered in wires, which connect to a control stand.
The trainer then turns up a series of dials to target areas of the body with pulses of electricity, manually turning on each muscle. It's basically a souped-up version of the muscle stimulation that physical therapists use to heal injuries.
"If you do a regular dumbbell curl, you get one muscle contraction," says Elzomor.
"With this, you get 85 per second." That means that muscles get a supercharged workout in a short period of time.
"You do squats, lunges, very basic stuff," says Elzomor, whose sessions start at $145 for Core members and vary by location (he has a portable machine for house calls). "It almost feels like a warm-up, and yet you're done in the blink of an eye." That's a big sell for his clients, for whom time is money.
Top model Alina Baikova trains with Elzomor twice a week. "I only come uptown for Mo," says Baikova, who lives in Soho and has been linked to Leonardo DiCaprio.
"It tones your muscles — you do this, and then you go to cryo[therapy] and then you feel 100 percent. And, of course, Mo is an incredible person to work out with.
He's very motivating, very supportive and very pushy." Baikova is just one of many of Elzomor's high-profile clients. His Instagram feed shows him training models Hilary Rhoda and Alessandra Ambrosio and New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
Right now, EMS technology is only backed by a small body of research.
"There's not a lot of great science behind it," says Dr. Leesa Galatz, head of orthopedic surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital. "Our concern is that if used incorrectly, at too high of an intensity or by overusing it, this could be dangerous. Some people can get breakdown of the muscle, which can be very harmful for the kidney." Galatz is waiting to see more research before she draws a conclusion. As with any new regimen, it's best to check with a doctor first — especially for those who are pregnant or have a pacemaker.
In 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration reported that they'd received reports of shocks, burns, bruising and skin irritation from unregulated EMS devices.
Elzomor suggests his clients do EMS twice a week at most — any more is overkill, since muscles need time for recovery. He also encourages them to continue their regular workouts — "you can do some lighter stuff in between," he says — to see if it makes them stronger, faster or more agile.
EMS may have catapulted him into the spotlight, but Elzomor credits his belief in himself with getting him to where he is today.
"Before I became a celebrity trainer, every morning I said, 'I'm a celebrity trainer,' until I [became] it," says Elzomor, who started out working at women's gym chain Lucille Roberts.
"You're not going to find any [billionaires or royalty] there, but I just pretended in my head, constantly." In 2013, he "Googled, 'where billionaires hang out,'" and landed the gig at Core Club, which counts NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz as members.
"My first client was the CEO of Christian Dior," he says. "Right off the bat, I was like, 'I'm here!'" He started training the CEO of American Eagle, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, Tony Blair and his wife and others.
He also networked his way into gyms at the Four Seasons, 432 Park Ave and the Peninsula Hotel New York "'cause I wanted royalty and stuff," he says. "I got a princess from Saudi Arabia, and she wanted to take me to Saudi, to London," which was a dream come true, he says, because "I'd been visualizing traveling with royalty for years." He was building a name for himself, but still needed to crack the last category on his list: celebrities.
"I had lots of billionaires, lots of CEOs, but you don't build your brand that way — I can't put the CEO of LVMH on my Instagram. I can't put the owner of the Giants on my Instagram," Elzomor says.
Everything fell into place when he learned about EMS in 2015, after his manager at Core Club told him about a machine that sent tiny shocks to muscles.
There was a team coming from Germany to teach the trainers how to use it.
At first, says Elzomor, "I was like, 'Eh, I don't know, it sounds like that belt they sell on TV at 4 o'clock in the morning.'" But, after he tried it for himself, he couldn't walk for four days. "That's when I was like, 'OK, where do I sign up?'" Now, Elzomor's having a tough time penciling in even the most famous faces.
"The [Victoria's Secret models] want to train regularly, but I'm just booked," he says. "So I squeeze them in when I can.
I just trained Elsa Hosk for the first time, last night." He's also broadening his reach by appearing on TV shows, such as "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" on CNBC.
"I watch it to manifest my future," he says. "One day I was watching the show, and I was like, 'Oh, my God, I need to be on this show!' I was holding my 7-month-old baby, so I started typing with one hand, found the executive producer and within 12 hours I had him in the gym." Up next: becoming ultrarich himself.
"I want to be a multi-, multimillionaire," says Elzomor, who hopes to open a chain of EMS studios. "I'm surrounded by them on a regular basis — it's like, 'They could do this!'" Why not him?
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