Take a peak at your local department or sporting good store flyer and I bet you’ll see plenty of “sales” for fitness equipment this time of year. This isn’t by accident. We’re in the midst of “weight loss resolution” season where people are usually on the lookout for exercise shortcuts in order to lose weight and “tone-up” – minus the hard work of course.
A fitness item trying to make a “Brett Favre-esque type comeback” is the wrist and ankle weights we left in 1980s. Back on the market and attempting to be more stylish and functional with a new name to boot -wearable body weights – they promise to burn off all those calories you consumed between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
But how well do these “new” exercise accessories measure up to their fat loss claims?
I spoke to some users at my gym and surfed the online forums to get a sense of how effective these accessories really are. Now I’m no Chris Hansen of 20/20 fame, but here’s what I found in my travels.
Weights under your clothes
Most often referred to as weighted “sleeves”, they were developed by a bariatric physician (doctors who specialize in cause and prevention of obesity). They are typically worn on your lower arms and/or legs adding four to seven pounds. The added weight is meant to enhance your daily caloric burn by adding a small amount of anatomically correct weight to your arms and/or legs.
A company called BodyTogs seems to be the major player in this fitness section with prices hovering around $60-$70 for a pair. Looking at the company website, they claim wearing these sleeves on your forearms and legs for up to 10 hours a day may be as effective as a 3.2 km run.
Not sure what you think, but wearing something as a snug as these sleeves for 10 hours while doing my day-to-day activities doesn’t sound very appealing. From talking and reading about people who have used them it sounds like I’m not alone in the (un)comfort factor.
From a weight loss perspective, there are “die-hards” who swear by them because of the increased heart rate and calorie burn they experience while wearing the sleeves.
Final Verdict? A professor of kinesiology at Midwestern State University has gone on record to state the initial findings did show “increased work” while walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes. Scientifically, I’m still trying to find how significant these findings are.
It’s not cool anymore to wear puffy ankle or wrist weights in solid colors. Instead, they need to be fashionable and wearable during everyday activities. Enter weighted bangles and anklets by a company appropriately named Banglz. They too claim to help your body burn more calories while also building muscle. A pair will put you back roughly $25.
Most female users loved the ankle weights as they felt it affecting their legs and glutes almost immediately. Even though the wrist weights were quite fashionable, many could not tell much of a difference during everyday activities because they were too light in weight (1/2 a pound).