First of all, for any of my fellow Saskatchewan residents reading this post, it’s a hoodie, not a “bunnyhug!” Now that THAT nonsense is out of the way, let’s get on with it. I recently purchase a garment called a sauna hoodie. The concept is that the garment traps body heat and increases core temp, causing greater perspiration and helping to burn fat. The claim is that it will also increase circulation and help with muscle growth. And let’s not forget that it purports to keep you warmer when working out in colder weather by virtue of the heat it traps.
I’d like to say that I haven’t been shopping lately but I’ve been shopping lately. If you haven’t guessed from my recent post about my smoothie blender… Maybe it’s because Black Friday just came and went or the holiday season is coming up and I’m finding all these specials… Who knows? The bottom line is that I’ve been allowing myself the indulgence of trying out some new items that I never would have, before. This is actually a good thing. I’ve always been something of a minimalist, which isn’t inherently bad on its own but it certainly prevents experiencing some of the more interesting things in life. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s that experiences are far more valuable than things. But I digress…
I usually purchase my fitness garments (dry-fit, sweats, etc) from a local sports apparel store as it’s the easiest place to find what I’m actually looking for. When you spend your summers sweating bullets in the hot sun on a bike and the winters running and doing elliptical, your garments eventually tap out. You can bleach wash your shit all you want, it’ll still smell like an abandoned jock. Now that I’ve sufficiently grossed you all out and guaranteed you’ll skip breakfast, I’ll get to the point. I usually only purchase clearance items. It’s an easy way to ensure I’m getting quality garments that will last a while without paying full price.
On a particular visit about a month ago, I found a neoprene hoodie in the clearance section. the tag boasted increasing the body’s core temperature to shed excess water weight and maintain muscle warmth. I decided to try the thing on, since it was a size large (the only one they had left) but I couldn’t even get my damn arms into the thing. I put it back and left the location without making a purchase but I couldn’t help but think about the garment and its potential benefit. I visited a different location of the same chain and found the garment, once again in the clearance section but a large as well. I took a photograph of the product tag and decided to do some research.
I couldn’t understand why the garment was always in the clearance section and the staff didn’t seem to know either, other than to assume that the chain was simply no longer carrying the item. I looked up the product online and managed to find a sizing chart that, based on my measurements, suggested that an extra large would accommodate my bulk. THAT felt great, I’ll tell ya! I ordered a hoodie online and within a couple of weeks, I received it through the mail. Last week, I had my first 13-kilometre run using the sauna hoodie and here are the things I noticed…
Usually, I’ll reach my maximum heart rate within the first quarter of my run. For some odd reason, it took me almost 40 minutes to achieve my max. The second thing is that I seemed to be breathing easier, despite the fact I was running at the same speed that I usually do. Since the garment was fitted neoprene, things were, umm,… jiggling less than they usually do when I run. I couldn’t feel myself sweating, except for a bit on my forehead and I was almost disappointed by the lack of heat. I thought maybe I had wasted my money and the garment was useless, until I noticed a dripping happening below my legs and realized that the garment was funnelling all the sweat (and a fuckin’ ton of it) down my spine and the back of my shorts.
By the time I had run for an hour, I felt great but my backside literally looked and felt as though I had sat in a puddle. I was still at work and had about an hour left, so I was kind of screwed. I put my pants back on, but since my underwear were saturated, the moment I sat down in one of my staff’s offices to discuss something, it soaked through my jeans and was visible for all the world to see. And no, there are no shower facilities available at my gym due to COVID-19, at the moment. Yay, me. My boss had a reasonable laugh at my expense, but my previous disappointment was quickly washed away by a torrent of residual sweat.
So, what’s the skinny on these garments? According to an article I found on HealthLine.com, weight loss due to one of these garments is primarily due to shedding water that should be replenished as you exercise. The article also points out that the liver and kidneys are the bodies best detoxifiers and that excess sweating only releases trace amounts of toxins. The article didn’t shed much encouraging light, despite having a header that read, “Benefits of a sauna suit.” Ultimately, as long as you aren’t overexerting yourself, a sauna hoodie shouldn’t cause anything you wouldn’t be experiencing anyway; thirst, fatigue and the need to replenish yourself.
Another article found on LiveStrong kind of echoed those thoughts, but added that the body’s extremities will benefit from the increased blood flow. It also indicates that “a sauna suit keeps the body temperature higher, prevents heat from escaping and essentially provides a shell of warmth in cold weather. I mean, i don’t work out in cold conditions for the most part, besides the occasional walk. But it’s a nice perk for those who still go running and jogging outside during the winter months.
So, what’s the verdict? Well, I’ve enjoyed a couple of runs with the garment and I like it. I like that I seem to run better, breathe easier and get a wicked sweat on. I may only be shedding water weight but it’s important to remember that the body’s sweating process does mean you’re burning calories, so I’m doing something right. like any new gimmick, as long as I stay hydrated, don’t overexert myself and keep a close eye on my blood sugars, i should be fine. And that’s the other thing; usually my runs will have my blood sugars start to drop by the 30-minute mark. But this time, my blood sugars remained normal. Something to do with the increased blood flow maybe? Who know? I’m not a doctor… ☯️