This is a post that’s way overdue. Some of my old readers may not like it, but regardless, this blog is mine.
A while back I posted some of the stuff I wear to the gym, along with my mission statement of ‘getting healthier.’ As that mission continues I’ve tried many different outfits designed to enhance performance or comfort whilst at the gym. A lot of big girls, like myself still, wanted me to post further on the subject of getting fit as a fat girl. I spoke to some other big girlies (Kat, Lauren, looking at you ladies,) who also want to get fitter for health benefits, who have agreed with the sentiment of “fuck it, it’s my/your blog, write for yourself.” I say this, because I had a bit of a backlash with my previous fitness-related post, where people started talking about me supposedly behind my back but publicly on Twitter so that I could see (and on my blog’s own comments.) You know what? Get over yourselves.
This is the problem with some people who support Health At Any/Every Size. Some people (definitely not the majority,) feel that it should be Health At THEIR Size, not ANY/EVERY. Some pro-fat-acceptance people are anti-weight-loss-acceptance people. Some people felt like I was a ‘traitor’ (their word, not mine,) to the plus size community for wanting to get physically fit (please remember that I’m a nurse and movement/strength is a big part of my job, especially now as I am qualified and work with the elderly who had dementia.) I decided that being out of breath from going up/downstairs is not a good thing. If weight loss comes as a result of me getting fit, then fine, but that’s not the aim.
Anyway, rant over. Call that a trigger warning if you want, because last time people moaned to me about that as well.
At the end of the day – and this is the last explanation you will see of this kind in future – I’m trying to get fitter and healthier in a biological and cardiovascular sense – not for the image/weight-loss. If you don’t like it, don’t read it, and certainly don’t bitch to – or about – me.
So, I’ve umm-ed and ahh-ed about it for a while now, and have finally decided to post on something I’ve found helpful towards my fitness goals.
So you have a nice top, a comfy top, one that is maybe black so it won’t show all of that sweat (and there better be sweat if you’re serious, go hard or go home,) but what to wear on your lower half?
Well, I think there’s two choices, either; Baggy ‘sweatpants’ or comfy leggings that are super comfy but don’t do anything especially active in helping you to maximise your productivity whilst exercising, or, if you really are serious about getting the most out of your gym time (and I am, now that I’m a fully qualified Mental Health Nurse, shifts can mean that my gym routine gets disrupted,) then you can go for something designed specifically for that purpose.
I’ve been wearing the Zaggora Flares (leggings) for a few weeks now, and, even though I can’t specifically explain how, these leggings have helped to keep me going for longer than my usual sweatpants and had some interesting effects in other areas too.
Firstly, these leggings aim to increase your core body temperature and wick away sweat that they help to produce away from the body, this increases comfort when working out (I feel dry, whereas sometimes I can feel the sweat through my trousers and it’s not very nice,) and also in turn increases the amount you sweat too. Here’s the first interesting effect; my skin is a lot clearer. And no, I don’t mean the skin on my legs, my face. The theory makes sense, by increasing core body temperature this increases the amount you sweat. I definitely perspire more from other areas (face, underarms,) as well as my legs when I wear these leggings, and since I’ve started wearing them I’ve felt that my skin has been significantly less spotty. Of course, this is anecdotal, but if it works for me then I can’t really complain, can I? You’ll just have to take my word for it.
It hasn’t changed the oiliness of my skin, but that’s not really something I expected it to do anyway, I think that my skin type will always be oily. Regardless, it’s nice to find myself feeling a bit cleaner.
Second interesting thing; because I’m sweating notably more I make the effort to increase my hydration. I’m drinking more water/sugar-free squash when I’m working out and post-workout too, this might also be helping my skin as above.
I feel as though these leggings make my workout a lot more comfortable, I don’t feel wetness on my legs or bum from where I’ve been sweating, the foam-like fabric hold the sweat but hold it away from the body. Because of this I’m happy to do longer and harder workouts, because I feel a lot more comfortable and actually less self-conscious. Even with black sweatpants you can sometimes see sweat-arks, which makes me feel quite self-conscious actually. With the Flares you don’t get any of that – yay!
They do make a funny noise when you walk, because the fabric rubs on itself, but it’s nothing too noticeable and I’ve not had any funny looks from people because of it :P
There’s some evidence that increased sweating can lower your chances of catching colds and other such illnesses, and there’s a myriad of research on mood-exercise-sweating links, which you can find easily with a quick Google search; I’m not really here to lecture.
If anyone is going to challenge that this doesn’t help cardiovascular fitness, think again and think logically. As the body heats and produces more sweat the body and cardiovascular system has to work harder to catch up. Also, by feeling as though I can exercise for longer in these leggings I’m spending around 20 more minutes in the gym than I do when I wear my other trousers. It might be worth taking a look at the ‘How It Works’ page on Zaggora’s website, where they also point out the increased blood circulation that sweating and the body’s physiological response can bring on.
One kinda gross-but-cool thing is… After doing a workout in these leggings and hanging them up one day, I heard a dripping sound. I thought that one of my taps were leaking or the shower was dripping – nope. It took me about an hour to find out what it was, and I was more impressed than grossed out when I realised this; The leggings were dripping with the sweat that had been absorbed in to them from my 1 hour workout! GROSS. BUT. COOL. Kinda. Anyway – you really should wash them every 1/2 days, by hand in warm water with some detergent, and let them dry naturally. If you wring out the water a few times throughout the process they’ll dry in about 12 hours. That just goes to show how much sweat that these things hold though – and they always feel really heavy when I take them off. That’s how I know I’ve had a good workout!
These leggings look nice too, and that really does help. It makes me feel less self-conscious as a fat girl at the gym to actually know that my killer calf muscles (and they are killer, they’re huge,) get shaped nicely with these leggings, and your bum doesn’t look too bad either. They’re not designed to be so tight that they cut off circulation, but they hug the skin well (these are size L and I’m 16/18 at the moment in dress sizes,) and they fit like a glove. Like a leg glove! I wear them almost every time that I go to the gym.
Does what it says on the tin: 9/10.
Quality/durability: 8/10. Mine has a tiny hole in the crotch where I’ve worn them so much, but one or two stitches will close it.
Price: 7/10. At £70 they are on the expensive side, I won’t lie about that. But if you really want a durable go-to set of workout leggings that will help you maximise the results of your gym time then it’s worth it.
Re-purchase: Yes. And I would be happy to purchase other items from the Zaggora line.
When I get a chance, if you guys enjoyed this, I’ll go on a search for the ultimate sports bra (already thinking about buying one of the Zaggora ones, but we’ll see.)