That’s Tight, Yo!

Not a month goes by where I don’t read or hear about some new fad, diet or gimmick that’s meant to help a person get into shape faster and/or easier. For the most part, these things are usually a passing thing and don’t hold much sway in the actual progress of your fitness.

I’ve never been one for the purchase of expensive name-brand apparel. In fact, I’m usually happier wearing whatever generic brand I can find at my local retail chain. But I would be lying if I said that I don’t derive some guilty pleasure in the purchase of FITNESS apparel. I’m talking certain popular name-brands such as Under Armour and LuluLemon. And yes, before all the guys in my following start commenting about the Lulu reference, their outlets have a LOT of guy clothes.

The specific aspect of this apparel is that it is generally some form of compression clothing. Just to be clear, compression clothing doesn’t simply mean tight clothing. It usually refers to an elastic garment composed of spandex or lycra and mixed with either cotton or polyester, depending on the quality and type of garment. There has to be a certain amount of give. If it’s cutting off your circulation or feels uncomfortable, it’s kind of defeating the purpose.

Working out in compression gear

So, do compression fitness garments serve any beneficial purpose? Well, besides making my biceps look rockin’… Sorry, I took a minute to flex. My apologies. What was I saying? Right, compression garments are said to increase blood circulation and stabilize the muscle groups, allowing for a more efficient workout and less recovery time. Most importantly, compression garments can be helpful in wicking away sweat in order to keep you warm and dry while working out.

Compression garments, such as socks, have been used by hospitals for years as a post-operative way to prevent blood clots and increase blood circulation. Considering that some Diabetics have pretty bad blood circulation, this can be extremely helpful. So if it’s good enough for the medical world, it should be adequate for the fitness world as well, right? Maybe not.

According to an online article posted by Men’s Health, some studies have shown no ACTUAL or MEASURABLE effect from wearing compression garments during a workout. Any effect is attributed to something called the “Placebo Effect,” which is basically where you believe that the garment is having an effect so it causes you to work harder and produce a greater result. The Placebo Effect is a real thing, and there have been a number of studies that support it.

Dri-fit but not compression

The jury is out, since some studies say yay, some studies say nay. At the end of the day, the moisture wicking aspect is definitely real and is a great benefit. Nothing messes with my immune system like getting cold from a heavy sweat while working out. You can take advantage of that benefit by wearing a dri-fit garment that isn’t necessarily a compression garment.

At the end of the day, using what’s comfortable and best for you is what will produce genuine results. I use dri-fit and compression garments frequently, depending on the workout and what I’m trying to accomplish. And you don’t have to pay a fortune for them. It’s about the composition, not the name brand. I can concede that some popular name brands may be of a higher quality and might, key word MIGHT, last a bit longer, but if you’re working out and sweating constantly into it, how long will it last, really? ☯

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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