The idea of built-in resistance making a workout harder and more efficient is an intriguing one.
This article originally appeared on People.com.
What It Is: Physiclo Compression Tights with Built-In Resistance
Who Tried It: Stephanie Emma Pfeffer, PEOPLE Bodies writer
Level of Difficulty: 5/10
I was skeptical when I first heard about Physiclo compression tights and the company’s promise of amping up a workout just by wearing special gear. But it sort of made sense, the idea of built-in resistance making a workout harder and more efficient. And since I’m always trying to squeeze the best workout in the fewest minutes possible (who isn’t?), I ordered a pair and decided to take them for a trial run. Literally.
The first thing I noticed was how difficult they were to get on. I mean, these babies were tight! And at $110 for capris and $125 for full-length tights, I was a little annoyed at feeling like I was being stuffed into a sausage casing. Once they were on, though, things felt better — and each time I wore them they were easier to pull on.
The site says Physiclo’s technology uses elastic bands and panels stretching over different muscle groups to generate resistance. My legs definitely felt heavier wearing them.
To test the company’s claim of an increased heart rate and caloric burn, I did the same routine wearing the Physiclo tights one day and my regular workout pants another day, comparing my Fitbit stats both days.
I ran on the treadmill for 15 minutes at a pace of 6.0 and a barely noticeable 1.0 incline. Even with the added weight, the tights didn’t restrict my movement at all, although I imagined it might be hard to do my usual speed work.
Wearing the Physiclo tights I had an average heart rate of 158 (max 170), and I burned 158 calories. In regular pants my heart rate was 154 (max 164) and I burned 133 calories.
So according to my completely unscientific experiment, wearing the Physiclo pants produced not only a higher heart rate but more of a calorie burn! I was sold.
Over the next few weeks I wore them for some other activities. I jumped rope in them one day. I wore them to the playground to do body weight exercises while my kids ran around. I tried the leg-day workout on the Physiclo site designed by Olympian Stephen Lambdin.
By this time I was starting to dig them and feel a lot more comfortable. I was able to run 5 miles on the treadmill with no problem achieving my usual speed. (Not sure if my legs were getting stronger or what, but I felt great!)
When I most felt the effects was while doing exercises like squats or the Stair Master. I did 15 minutes at level 10 and really felt it in my thighs and butt. I felt as sore as if I had done a full hour of barre! I wondered if I would grow an awesome peach booty if I wore these consistently.
After a few weeks of wearing Physiclo sporadically, I noticed that my legs felt stronger, tighter and more toned. Not sure if that was the pants or because I was working out a lot more in general.
The one thing I didn’t love was how they looked. Yes, I am a little vain about what I wear to the gym — I find it motivating to look good. And even though I am in shape, these pants squeezed me in ways I felt were slightly unflattering. That’s not to say everyone would have this problem — it’s possible that other body types would be fine. I dealt with the issue by wearing longer-than-usual tops. But this was really my only complaint, and it was not enough to keep me from wearing the pants.
Verdict: At $110, these pants are not cheap, but they run the same amount as some other luxe brands. If you work out a lot and are looking to add something new or take your routine to the next level, you should give these a shot! Just don’t size down when you order.