Gym Basics Part I: Technology

Going to the gym and providing yourself with a healthy and active lifestyle is one of the simplest and most rewarding things you can do for yourself. Getting started can often be challenging and confusing. Let’s discuss some of the basics.

“Dri Fit” , “Climalite”, “Heat Gear”

Is there a difference? Not really. These are all trademarks from Nike, Adidas, and others promising the same moisture wicking technology. Made of a synthetic microfiber fabric blend (such as polyester and nylon) lightly woven together, this “technology” can virtually be found across any workout gear from hats to shorts. The loose weave allows for better air circulation and moisture evaporation. While traditional garments made of cotton are designed to retain heat and trap moisture, “Dri Fit” / “Climalite” / “Heat Gear” garments are designed to pull moisture AWAY from the skin and onto the garment’s outer surface for a faster rate of evaporation.

Compression garments explained

While still debated, the thought is, snug fitting garments (often made from a spandex-type material) worn during and after exercise will aid in overall recovery time. By constricting overworked, or otherwise inflamed muscles, compression garments are said to increase blood circulation and oxygen delivery to your muscles. This leads to a faster recovery time.

Another benefit of compression garments is in its ability to raise awareness (subconscious or not) on your body’s overall position and form when performing an exercise. The additional pressure on your arms, legs, or body helps remind your brain which muscles to activate during an exercise. By being more self conscious of each motion and muscles to engage, many will argue that compression garments can increase overall efficiency in the gym.

A study conducted by the Journal of Strength found that over the course of 10 weeks, participants who wore compression shorts added an additional 36 pounds to their squat over those who did not! Additionally, a separate study conducted by the Department of Sport Science at the University of Wuppertal found that when compression garments were utilized for recovery purposes, test subjects experienced small to moderate positive effects in recovery of strength and power, reduction of muscle swelling and perceived muscle pain, blood lactate removal (what results in muscle soreness), and overall body temperature.

As mentioned earlier, the benefits of compression garments are still inconclusive with much of the research being anecdotal. However, there has not been any research finding compression gear to have a negative effect on the individual. So while the benefits of compression are still up for debate, we can certainly say that they will not hurt the situation.

Affordable Options

Nike (Tip: Nike offers an additional 20% off clearance a few times a year), Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack, 6PM, Overstock

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