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Those wanting to explore the outer reaches of exercise technology should try Iobella, the new Santa Monica body-shaping spa that?s got a lock on being 2013?s most oddball workout.

At Iobella, clients are first weighed and measured before climbing into a five-foot-diameter Plexiglas pod heated to 98 degrees. They lie down (the pod is closed on one end, with an opening for the head on the other), then follow a trainer?s directions to pull leg and arm resistance bands. The heat helps you sweat more and makes your body work harder, so you get a super-efficient 30 minutes? effort.

Next there?s bioelectrical muscle stimulation (EMS), a regimen most often used in physical therapy, in which electrodes are taped to the body, then little jolts contract muscles. At Iobella, they?re put on areas where you could stand to reduce fat and enhance muscular definition. (Hey, it?s a lot more fun than the Thighmaster.)

Finally, a reward--15 minutes of quiet time in a private O3 lounge that?s swirling with warm, highly oxygenated air. 

A customized session at Iobella costs about $180, but the price falls when you buy multiple-visit packages, which are recommended for the full benefit. We like this idea for a jump-start back into a fitness routine--the heat and hand-holding instruction get fast results.

Iobella, 507 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; 310-579-2078 or

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