How in the world do I squeeze into this?!
With exercise, the right gear can make a world of difference. This I can attest to over and over. Years ago, I started running short distances because it seemed like a good idea, but I didn’t enjoy it much. Then, I bought new running shoes, and it changed my attitude toward running. I even started doing 5ks. They made the run noticeably easier, and my feet were much more comfortable before, during, and after each race. Because the right gear is so helpful, I’m always on the lookout for what works for real people who want to get into and stay in great shape.
In a recent Zumba class, the person next to me, who had just come from a free-weight workout, was wearing some very cool tights. When I asked about them, she said they were CW-X and a little pricey, but she absolutely loved them. She explained that her muscles didn’t feel tired after back-to-back workouts, and they gave her great support during her workouts. While my fellow Zumbie (yes, that’s what we call each other) is probably in her late 20s and injury free so far, many of us are not. My question: Would CW-X gear be great for people with injuries or weak zones?
I went to the CW-X website to check them out. I loved the fact that I could look up products by the type of support I needed. That was really helpful, and I was able to narrow my decision down in a short amount of time. My issues are two-fold when looking for leggings or tights—knee support and back support. Since back support is the big issue for me right now, I chose that first. I’ve got bulging and torn discs in my cervical and lumbar areas. The site gave me a breakdown of all their gear and what would work best for each area or sport.
I chose to start out with the CW-X Women’s 3/4 Length Pro Tights. I loved that the colors weren’t crazy and that, yes, I probably would thank them for the rainbow. Who doesn’t like their gear to look good together, right?!
Now, I’m not a zero-fat person, far from it, so compression gear tends to…shall we say…accentuate the negatives. Compression pants equal a demystification of just how much fat I have in my midsection. Once I found a top that helped to cover that area (thank you, Champion), I was ready to test the tights out. I hit a one-hour Zumba class with a Brazilian instructor who does not hold back. Here’s my conscious stream of thought:
- Man, this stuff is tight
- Hey, my back feels better
- Let’s get going
- Workout done…I feel great
- Next day, awesome. I didn’t feel like I was paying for pushing it the day before. My back was in good shape.
Is it the gear? Doing the math, I’d say yes. I could feel the support, but it wasn’t annoying or uncomfortable. Now, off to work so I can afford to buy some more…
EASE OF USE: 4.5
SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT GEAR
I’m a bit of a tech geek and wanted to firm up and lose some weight. My first stop was BodyMedia. I had seen a BodyBugg (now managed by BodyMedia) on one of my Zumba instructors and thought it was pretty cool. It showed her how many calories she was burning, and I thought it would be great to know exactly what my body was doing as well. When I started looking into health tech online, it was early 2012. Most of the devices at the time were pretty big and usually rode on an armband to be worn somewhere between your elbow and underarm. I didn’t want to spend a ton but wanted certain features such as calories burned and way to track eating habits. I had used the LoseIt app, which I had found helpful, and wanted to be able to continue to track my calorie intake. Features like a heart-rate monitor were not something I was worried about at the time.
SLEEP IS A KEY ELEMENT FOR HEALTH
I was walking through Costco and saw the BodyMedia CORE for a great price. I bought it and took it home to see if it was all that Jillian Michaels (think Biggest Loser) had cracked it up to be. I put the band on and went to bed. The next morning, I plugged the device into my computer. The interface was very friendly and easy to figure out…but, what’s this? A sleep graph? I’m one of those people who remember my dreams and am a very light sleeper, so I happened to remember the times I had woken up in the middle of the night before. What was surprising was that the graph mapped it perfectly. Since sleep is a critical element of good health, I was sold.
OVER A YEAR LATER: PROS/CONS
For the pros, I’ve found that the BodyMedia system is great if you are committed to wearing the device as much as possible and to entering your intake–all of it–into the computer. It’s very easy to use and is accurate (like it or not) in tracking calories burned. In August 2013, Fixya gave BodyMedia the “Most Comprehensive Data” award in its review of fitness bands–I think it was well deserved. For the cons, the display is a bit awkward and doesn’t affix easily onto women’s exercise clothing. Some armbands do not stay tight without being too tight. The foods listed on the website do not reflect some of the most common things that healthy people eat, e.g., Sabra Hummus, so you have to enter whatever is not on their list yourself (only once). You will need also to pay monthly for access to the website and tracking. And, your skin may get a bit “annoyed” if you wear the device too long so taking a break is a good idea.
In the future, I hope they consider having the display on the armband device instead of in two pieces. But, rumor has it that since Jawbone acquired BodyMedia in April 2013, some of the cons from both companies’ devices may be alleviated in future.
EASE OF USE: 4.0