A press release pinged into my inbox. Maybe it was the word ‘hot’ that drew my eye; that made me read. As you know, I feel the cold and the Bonkers House is not known for its balmy temperatures. I have sheets of plastic stuck to the windows of my turret and I sit swathed in blankets wearing fingerless mittens, clutching hot water bottles and smearing myself with Chappie to persuade the SP to sit on my lap (okay, the last one isn’t quite true but I have crumbled dog biscuits on my thighs).
Anyhow. Hotpants. Hot pants? While I have worn some pretty extreme fashions in my time (the Bodymap skirt that became a dress springs to mind), I have never EVER worn hot pants.
But it seems these aren’t those sort of hot pants, they’re pants that make you hot. I mean, not hot in a sexy way but in a sweaty sort of way… No, I’m not making it any better am I? What I mean is that they’re exercise thingies – the idea being that you wear them for the gym, yoga, Pilates, running, whatever and they help you burn more calories.
Hmm. I narrowed my eyes suspiciously. My mother once bought me something along these lines. A sort of rubber corset thing that was supposed to turn you svelte-like purely by wearing it.
It was a curious sort of present and I wasn’t sure whether to be touched or deeply offended at the time. However, I tried it on and – let’s be very honest – it was a joke. It just rolled itself into a sort of pudgy extra spare tyre and felt deeply uncomfortable. It’s languishing somewhere at the back of the fourth drawer. It’s another of those things (like the vibrators) that you can’t quite donate to the charity shop.
Anyhow. I said yes and the next day the parcel arrived with what looked like a pair of normal black just below the knee leggings. I unpacked them. Okay, so quite a bit thicker than normal leggings. Let’s be honest here, they looked and felt like a wetsuit and a glance at the label confirmed that, yes, they’re mainly made of neoprene. So, what’s the theory?
The idea is that, by raising its temperature while exercising, the body starts working harder resulting in greater calorie burn and increased metabolism. The press blurb says that, according to research (at a ‘leading UK university’ – bizarrely the university is not named) the pants increase energy expenditure by six percent during exercise and by 16 percent after exercise. They calculate that short term weight loss is around four times greater in Hotpants compared to normal gym wear.
They fit fine (I take a UK 10 in jeans and the Small size was just about perfect). I half-suspected they would do the rolling down trick, but no. They stayed up snugly around the waist. So I took them for a turn at the gym.
‘Nice leggings,’ said Nicola, one of the instructors, as I came off the cross trainer. I told her the theory and ears pricked up round the place. Funny innit, how the very words ‘weight loss’ are like an attention magnet. Particularly with the implications ‘zero effort’ and ‘no diet’.
‘Can you move in them?’ Nicola enquired.
‘Yeah,’ I said. And demonstrated some extreme yoga moves to prove the point.
But the real test came with Zumba. 90 minutes of hardcore aerobic exercise, whole load of twisting, turning, shimmying and jumping. Have to say the Hotpants stayed with me every inch of the way and, because the fabric is so supportive, I was able to forego my usual knee straps.
Afterwards I needed to pop into Tesco for some stuff and didn’t think twice about it until, halfway down the cereal aisle, I felt a dripping sensation. What the hell? My legs were dripping sweat to the point where my sports socks were getting seriously soggy. I just prayed nobody would look – they'd think I’d wet myself. And as my body temperature dropped, I had that horrible feeling of cold wet knickers. Yeah, I wore knickers underneath. Should I have? Maybe not. If you’re going to invest in these I’d suggest changing pretty swiftly after exercise. And I certainly wouldn’t advocate going shopping in them afterwards.
But, I can hear you muttering, did they work? Do you lose weight? Well, I dunno about that – it’s hard to quantify. But I certainly lost inches, in the short-term at least. My jeans felt decidedly looser after wearing them for a few sessions. I figured they work much in the way a body wrap does, by pulling out water retention. However the Facebook page has a helluva lot of women talking about pretty impressive weight loss stats.
So. On the plus side...
1. They look pretty good, fit well, don’t sag or roll down.
2. They hold up in most forms of exercise (I tried them out on Zumba, Kettlercise, Pilates, yoga and all the usual cv equipment and weights at the gym).
3. They do seem to encourage inch-loss and may help you lose weight (though obviously you’d need to eat sensibly and exercise in the first place).
And on the downside...
1. Cost. They start at £44.99 which is hefty for a pair of shorts.
2. The soggy pants thing (though, like I say, that can be avoided).
3. Washing. They say you should just rinse them out in cold water (like a wetsuit) but, frankly, that’s a pain in the arse. Not only have you got the darn things hanging around dripping all over the show but, if you do a lot of exercise, you would need a few pairs which takes you back to downside 1.
‘Oh, for pity’s sake,’ said my mate Nicky (the uber-exerciser). ‘That’s just total crap. Bung ‘em in the washing machine on rinse. I do that with wetsuits all the time and it’s fine.’
So I did. Actually, in the name of research and because I’m lazy, I chucked them in with the rest of the wash on 40 degrees. And they came out just fine. The washing machine, however, isn't so happy, so maybe it's not the best solution.
Oh, but one plus side that kinda outweighs all the other stuff. They really are hot. As in, even if you’re not doing anything at all, they keep you all nice and toasty. I began to wish I’d asked for a pair of the ones that go right down to the ankle. In fact, come to think of it, I wish they did an all-over catsuit. No hot water bottles, no smearing with dog food. Sod exercise, I’d just wear one for writing in my turret.
Zaggora hotpants come in four styles – the original Hotpants (‘shorts’ which come to mid-thigh); Capri flares (which I tested; not sure where the flare bit comes from as they don’t flare); Flares (long-length leggings that target calves as well) and ‘Nude Hotpants’ which can be worn under your usual clothes. Snug.
Available from www.zaggora.com