Top trainers always talk about how working out is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. But Equinox is taking that mindset to the next level by introducing Halo Sport (AKA biohacking headphones) to its Tier X PT program. Pro athletes swear they help supercharge their workouts. And it’s not just them, research suggests as much, too.
Here’s how it works: 20 minutes before your workout, you put on a pair of headphones, complete with “primers,” which are soft, no-fuss foam nibs that gently make contact with your scalp, sending signals to the motor cortex area of the brain—the part of your noggin that happens to be between the ears over the scalp, where the headband sits. The Halo Sport headphones send electrical signals that make the brain become excited and, in turn, fire more easily. It’s a scientific process called transcranial direct current stimulation, which studies have shown can improve physical performance. How? By inducing a temporary state of hyperplasticity—a big word that basically means a state in which your brain’s ability to train and learn new skills is boosted. And the best part? You won’t feel a thing.
Once Alex Zimmerman, director of the Tier X Program at Equinox, heard the potential gains they offer, introducing Halo Sport headphones was a no, er, brainer. “When it comes to technology, we always look to incorporate the tools that are grounded in science and can benefit our clients and enhance their results,” he says. Trainers at the gym suggest their clients wear the headphones while doing low-impact, light movements like stretching and warming up (multitasking, #FTW).
And if you’re more into bringing the fitness studio home right now, you can pick up a pair of your own. (They cost $749—which is about the cost of 5 Tier X training sessions). Just note that you’ll still need to invest in a second, stylish pair, as well, if you want to listen to your killer playlist while you work out.