Fitness

We Tried It: Physiclo Weighted Workout Pants

[brightcove:5523715639001 default]

This article originally appeared on People.com.

What It Is: Physiclo Compression Tights with Built-In Resistance

Who Tried It: Stephanie Emma Pfeffer,  PEOPLE Bodies writer

Level of Difficulty: 5/10

I was skeptical when I first heard about Physiclo compression tights and the company’s promise of amping up a workout just by wearing special gear. But it sort of made sense, the idea of built-in resistance making a workout harder and more efficient. And since I’m always trying to squeeze the best workout in the fewest minutes possible (who isn’t?), I ordered a pair and decided to take them for a trial run. Literally.

The first thing I noticed was how difficult they were to get on. I mean, these babies were tight! And at $110 for capris and $125 for full-length tights, I was a little annoyed at feeling like I was being stuffed into a sausage casing. Once they were on, though, things felt better — and each time I wore them they were easier to pull on.

The site says Physiclo’s technology uses elastic bands and panels stretching over different muscle groups to generate resistance. My legs definitely felt heavier wearing them.

To test the company’s claim of an increased heart rate and caloric burn, I did the same routine wearing the Physiclo tights one day and my regular workout pants another day, comparing my Fitbit stats both days.

I ran on the treadmill for 15 minutes at a pace of 6.0 and a barely noticeable 1.0 incline. Even with the added weight, the tights didn’t restrict my movement at all, although I imagined it might be hard to do my usual speed work.

Wearing the Physiclo tights I had an average heart rate of 158 (max 170), and I burned 158 calories. In regular pants my heart rate was 154 (max 164) and I burned 133 calories.

So according to my completely unscientific experiment, wearing the Physiclo pants produced not only a higher heart rate but more of a calorie burn! I was sold.

Over the next few weeks I wore them for some other activities. I jumped rope in them one day.  I wore them to the playground to do body weight exercises while my kids ran around. I tried the leg-day workout on the Physiclo site designed by Olympian Stephen Lambdin.

By this time I was starting to dig them and feel a lot more comfortable. I was able to run 5 miles on the treadmill with no problem achieving my usual speed. (Not sure if my legs were getting stronger or what, but I felt great!)

When I most felt the effects was while doing exercises like squats or the Stair Master. I did 15 minutes at level 10 and really felt it in my thighs and butt.  I felt as sore as if I had done a full hour of barre! I wondered if I would grow an awesome peach booty if I wore these consistently.

After a few weeks of wearing Physiclo sporadically, I noticed that my legs felt stronger, tighter and more toned. Not sure if that was the pants or because I was working out a lot more in general.

The one thing I didn’t love was how they looked. Yes, I am a little vain about what I wear to the gym — I find it motivating to look good. And even though I am in shape, these pants squeezed me in ways I felt were slightly unflattering. That’s not to say everyone would have this problem — it’s possible that other body types would be fine. I dealt with the issue by wearing longer-than-usual tops. But this was really my only complaint, and it was not enough to keep me from wearing the pants.

Verdict: At $110, these pants are not cheap, but they run the same amount as some other luxe  brands. If you work out a lot and are looking to add something new or take your routine to the next level,  you should give these a shot! Just don’t size down when you order.

Is Loud Music in Workout Classes Bad for Your Ears?

[brightcove:5599161751001 default]

That cranked-up stereo definitely isn’t great for your ears. Adults can safely bear a noise dose of less than 85 decibels for eight hours a day, per the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. And the max amount of time shrinks quickly the louder the noise gets. For instance, adults can tolerate 94 decibels for only one hour before it becomes potentially damaging to their hearing. And the music in some workout classes these days is blasted as loud as 99 decibels, a recent study found.

RELATED: Got Ringing in Your Ears? Here's How to Cope With Tinnitus

That probably won’t tear you away from your favorite class, which is likely only an hour or less. But next time, see if you notice any ringing or buzzing in your ears (a.k.a. tinnitus) after class. If you do, I suggest you start wearing earplugs to prevent any long-term or permanent hearing loss. Earplugs will only muffle the noise, so you should still be able to hear the music. Some studios offer earplugs to clients for free (ask at the front desk), or you can pick up a pack at the drugstore and stash them in your gym bag. And don’t forget to watch the volume if you’re working out on your own and listening to music with headphones. As a rule, if someone near you can hear the music through your headphones, it’s too loud.

 

Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.

The One Healthy Thing Fitness Experts Always Do on Thanksgiving Day

[brightcove:5159339518001 default]

Who doesn't love Thanksgiving—one of the few days of the year when you can put aside your usual healthy habits and pig out with no shame or judgment?

While we're totally on board with holiday indulgence, it's not a bad idea to try to do at least one food- or fitness-related move to keep your energy high, your mood bright, and successfully resist the urge to veg out on the couch after dinner nursing a monster food baby. To give you some inspiration, we asked fitness influencers, nutritionists, and Health staffers to tell us one thing they always do for mind-body health on Turkey Day.

RELATED: 11 Celeb-Approved Workouts for a Toned, Sculpted Butt

“I get out on the road early for a run before the festivities begin. I know later I most likely won’t have the time or energy. Running is also my 'me' time; on a day of giving thanks, it’s important to thank yourself for all you do! Having the ability to move, breathe, and share life with others makes me feel even more grateful. The crisp fall air and smell of fallen leaves doesn’t hurt in setting the mood either.”

—Rebecca Kennedy, New York based–fitness trainer

“I love taking recipes from Pinterest that look super yummy and find ways to make them healthier with organic and natural ingredients. It's fun because it's something the whole family can be part of. We're all cooking and being creative, and healthy!”

—Cassey Ho, fitness influencer and founder of Blogilates

“I always try to maintain a physical yoga practice during the holidays, even if it mean unrolling my mat in the one sliver of space that’s not occupied by a family member. It always helps me stay centered during what can be a very emotionally difficult time of the year and it helps validate my requisite gluttonous holiday meal choices. Plus, yogic twists make digestion of rich holiday food much easier.”

Jessamyn Stanley, yogi and author of Every Body Yoga

“My mom, brother, dad, and I run our local turkey trot together. My mom and I always take the lead (sorry boys!), and we get a little bit competitive toward the end. I may have thrown out an 'eat my dust!' as I passed her in the final mile last year. But it's all in good fun!”

—Jacqueline Andriakos, senior editor at Health

“On Thanksgiving I pay close attention to my mind-body connection. It doesn't feel good to deprive myself, and it doesn't feel good to be stuffed and sluggish, so I make choices that allow me to feel both satisfied and energized simultaneously. This balance feels just right, both mentally and physically, and it's freeing to make choices motivated by feeling well, rather than numbers, rules, shoulds, or guilt!"

—Cynthia Sass, RD, Health contributing nutrition editor

RELATED: How to Handle the Holidays When You Have Food Intolerances

“Before we head to my aunt and uncle's house for dinner, I like to get in a workout with my younger brother. My dad built a mini-gym in our basement years ago, and now that my brother and I no longer live together (he's in college and I'm in New York), it's a fun way to bond, catch up, and sweat a little bit before stuffing our faces with food. Plus, he always has pointers for perfecting my weightlifting form or new exercises to try out (Thanks, Wyatt!).”

—Julia Naftulin, assistant digital editor at Health

“I just make sure to get a run in, walk before and after eating, and then also pace myself between the main course and dessert. I'm never one to wildly indulge and I think if you give yourself a bit of a break between the main course and dessert it allows you some time to spend with your family, in addition to being actually able to savor the deliciousness of the sweets.”

Joe Holder, Nike master trainer

“Our Thanksgiving Day tradition (besides enjoying the meal) always includes exercise: We all go for a hike in the morning, followed by a stretching session, usually led by my daughter [fitness blogger and author] Katie, and then after the meal we put on loud music and dance around the house, inside and out! It’s a great way to keep your energy up and connect with the family!”

—Denise Austin, fitness expert and creator of LifeFit

“This Thanksgiving, I’ll be sneaking in an infrared sauna session. It’s a 30-minute sweat, so if I’m cooking all day and don’t have time to get my ass to the gym, it’s easy. And a good sweat definitely helps me mentally prepare for family dynamics!”

Hannah Bronfman, DJ and founder of HBFIT

To get our best wellness tips delivered to you inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

“I always try to go for a run before the meal, but no matter my exercise plans, my family and I try to do something active together during the day. Some years, with a big crowd, that's been a casual touch football game. Other times, it's just a walk around the block. Anything to get moving and help avoid a total food coma!”

—Sarah Klein, senior editor at Health

“Every year, I watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from a friend's house that overlooks the parade route. Her apartment is about a two-mile walk from my house, and I always walk there and back to fit some activity in before I feast later on. The brisk walk is my favorite way to wake up on one of my favorite days of the year!”

—Anthea Levi, assistant editor at Health

Years of Infertility and Miscarriages Sent Me Into a Spiral of Depression

[brightcove:5377966703001 default]

From the time she was small, Jessica Dolan wanted to be a mom. So not long after she and her boyfriend of nine years got married, they began trying to get pregnant. A year later, with no success, Jessica’s doctor sent her to a fertility clinic for help. Feeling hopeful, the couple began the intense process of in vitro fertilization, with every-other-day visits to the clinic for blood tests, exams, imaging, and injections of hormone-bolstering medications.

Then, in the summer of 2012, they received the news they’d been waiting for: Jessica was pregnant. “I was 37, and we were thrilled to be starting a family,” she recalls.

When she was six weeks along, Jessica started having menstrual-like cramps and feeling lightheaded. At first, she chalked it up to pregnancy, but when the symptoms persisted for several days, she went to her doctor. An ultrasound revealed that the fertilized egg had implanted in her fallopian tubes instead of her uterus—what’s known as an ectopic pregnancy—which meant it wouldn’t survive.

“I was crushed,” says Jessica. “The clock was ticking because of my age, but I dreaded starting the whole process over again.”

More heartbreak

Shell-shocked and in mourning, they took a year-and-a-half break to regroup, but by December 2013 they felt ready to try again. “My fertility doctor assured us that he’d never seen a woman have two ectopic pregnancies, and he was confident we’d be successful,” says Jessica. Indeed, in January 2014, she learned she was pregnant again.

At five weeks, however, she started having cramping again—and discovered that lightning can strike twice. This pregnancy, too, was ectopic. “Everyone at the fertility clinic was shocked, and I felt defective, like there was something terribly wrong with me if my body couldn’t do what it was supposed to do.”

With one frozen embryo left, Jessica and her husband decided to give it one final try. A month later, she had a positive pregnancy test—but at the following week’s office visit, a second test came back negative. “That false positive marked the end of our dreams,” says Jessica. “But giving up triggered a painful identity crisis. If I couldn’t have a child, who was I? What would I be if not a mom?”

[brightcove:3666271832001 default]

Rock bottom

Jessica spiraled into a dark, lonely place. She could barely get out of bed in the morning and began eating anything that made her feel better in the moment—pizza, ice cream, cookies. Over the next year she gained 30 pounds. “I was too depressed to work, and every morning I woke up and thought, ‘F**k, here goes another day.’ I couldn’t imagine what was going to become of my life.”

Still, there were fleeting moments when she felt more positive, and in one of those she downloaded the 7 Minute Workout app and pushed herself to start doing it. “I’d exercised off and on throughout my life, and even though I was ridiculously out of shape I figured I could do seven minutes,” she says.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Kayla Itsines’ Seven-Minute Full-Body Workout

After a few months, she started running on her treadmill and gradually built her endurance to 10 minutes, then 15, then 20. “Instead of beating myself up for doing so little, I told myself that every minute was a win,” she says. The more she exercised the better she felt—less anxious, more positive, more confident and capable. By early 2015 she had started a new career and began re-engaging with life.

Last June, ready to take her routine to the next level, Jessica hired a personal trainer. “He keeps me accountable and pushes me farther than I thought I could go. Now when he tells me to do 50 push-ups I don’t think, ‘Are you crazy?’ I just do it,” she says.

To get effective workouts delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

Her weekly routine is intense. She gets up at 4 a.m. two mornings for a bootcamp class, does personal training two days, runs at least three miles every weekend, and takes hip-hop or ballroom dancing a few nights a week.

“The fog has lifted and I’m feeling great. I’ve lost weight, and I’m energized by life again,” says Jessica. “Without exercise I would have been lost. It shifted my thinking from negative to positive. It helped me embrace every day instead of dread it. All my life, exercise seemed like a chore, like something I should do but didn’t really want to do. Now I look forward to it, because I know it keeps my mind as healthy as my body. And it all started with a few minutes a day. That’s how powerful it is.”

Why Fitness Star Anna Victoria Wants Everyone to Stop Apologizing for ‘Bad’ Photos on Social Media

[brightcove:5229956782001 default]

Have you ever scrolled through photos from a night out with friends, only to worry about whether you look good enough in any of them to make the cut for Instagram? You're certainly not alone. Not even superstar fitness blogger Anna Victoria is immune to feeling insecure about what she looks like in a photo before deciding to post (or delete) it.

But when she caught herself feeling vulnerable before sharing a pic from a family vacation the other day, she took it as an opportunity to spread an important message about self-love.

RELATED: Does Makeup Belong in the Gym? Six Instagram Stars Share Their Thoughts

The social media star and trainer behind the Fit Body Guides posted a photo of herself playing in the waves in Hawaii with her niece on a family vacation. In the caption, she wrote, "Of course when I saw this photo I thought, 'soaked hair, slouched over, makeup all over,' I could go on. But how silly is that?"

"I'm not saying you have to love a 'bad' photo of yourself," she continued. "But don't hide away pictures of beautiful memories and beautiful moments with friends and family just because you don't like how you look."

RELATED: 5 Inspiring Fitness Influencers to Follow on Instagram

Victoria admits that she felt "nervous" about posting the shot originally, "because it's hard to be vulnerable and share your less-than-perfect moments," she tells Health. "But I wanted to use that photo as an example that what we look like is not more important than living life and making memories and documenting them."

It's not only so-called 'bad' pictures that Victoria wants women to stop worrying about or over-analyzing; it's also the pictures in which someone is totally happy with how they look. Often times, even when some people share a photo they actually love, they may still crack a joke or apologize for a flaw, she explains, as opposed to writing a positive message about why they love the shot or the story behind it.

"There's an element of, especially on social media, potentially coming across as just wanting attention if we proudly share a moment in which we feel beautiful. And to combat that, women will often point out a flaw that likely no one else would have noticed otherwise," Victoria explains. "I think society has conditioned women to avoid using language that would make them appear too into themselves, and we play into this by either refusing compliments or being self-deprecating."

So next time you go to post something on social media but feel a twinge of insecurity, just "own it," Victoria urges. "Share it without diminishing your beauty."