By Tina Haupert
In the wake of the toning-shoe craze, all sorts of companies are now selling workout clothing that they claim makes muscles work harder so you burn more calories. The fabric in the clothing adds a built-in resistance that forces your body to work harder and improve your performance, they say. I'm always wary of these types of "too-good-to-be-true" claims, so when IntelliSkin contacted me to try one of its shirts for free, I was game. I wanted to see for myself what this trend was all about.
The Eve Shirt from IntelliSkin didn't claim to help you burn more calories, but its functional benefits were similar:
1. Improved spinal alignment and posture
2. Increased mobility, stability, muscular balance, and energy
3. Better respiration and oxygen flow to the brain and muscles
4. More rapid recovery and greater healing efficiency
Sounds pretty high-tech, right? After reading these promises, I was even more skeptical. Even still, I tried on the shirt and wore it for an elliptical workout at the gym.
The shirt is supposed to mimic your anatomy and conform to your body like a second skin, so the shirt was form-fitting, but comfortable. It reminded me a lot of a technical bike shirt that you see the professionals wear. I didn't expect much from the shirt, but as soon as I put it on, I immediately felt it engage my upper body. My shoulders pulled back and my posture improved. Of course, the shirt itself didn't improve my posture, but its design encouraged me to stand up straight. I also loved how slimming the shirt was; it instantly made feel taller, leaner, and stronger, which boosted my confidence.
During my workout, I felt great wearing my new shirt, which made me work harder on the elliptical. I found it motivating that I could really feel my muscles working under the tight shirt. It also reminded me to tighten my core muscles, which instantly improved my posture. The only major downside is its price, at $85. Yowzahs. That's pretty steep.
With all the hype surrounding toning and performance-enhancing gear, it seems like many people are falling prey to claims that these items are a quick fix to help them burn calories and lose weight. While the IntelliSkin shirt isn't a toning shirt per se, its claims are pretty substantial and not scientifically proven. Until toning and performance-enhancing clothing are tested in a scientific way, I don't think they're any more special than regular workout gear, especially for the price. They might make you look and feel great, but they're not magical pieces of workout gear, either.