Wear Weight to Lose Weight

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Most people working on losing a significant amount of weight see prompt results when they first begin their efforts.

With minimal effort, such as walking each day or engaging in a short workout, the pounds seem to melt off at first.

As they progress in their weight loss program, it seems to become harder and harder to lose weight.

Even though they stick with their healthful, reduced calorie diet and exercise regimen, their weight loss plateaus for two reasons.

First, they’re adding muscle while reducing fat, so they may not see dramatically smaller numbers on the scale as they progress. Second, their body does not have to work as hard to carry around as much weight as when they first started losing weight.

That’s where wearable weights can make their fitness activities more dynamic.

“Anytime you add resistance or weight to any activity, your body will have to work more and generate more energy and use calories,” said Bryan Guzski, doctor of physical therapy and strength and conditioning specialist at Motive Physical Therapy in Brighton. “It will increase calorie burn. Muscles are energy expensive.”

In addition to carrying hand weights such as kettle bells and dumbbells to bodyweight movements like squats and lunges, wearing weights can help. Donning a weighted vest while engaging in activities like running or calisthenic movements increases the work level of the muscles involved. It mimics the effect of their heavier body weight, forcing their muscles to work harder.

Guzski advised starting out with the lightest wearable weights for those new to wearing weight and for anyone new to exercise.

“If you’re just starting out, you need to build up to that point,” he said. “Going 0 to 100 with a weight vest can be too much too soon.”

It’s best to try on the devices in the store rather than purchasing them online (unless they’re returnable) to ensure a comfortable fit. Feeling wearable weights shifting during exercise is not ideal. Some wearable weights provide pockets to gradually fill as the user’s tolerance and strength increases. This can increase the usable life of wearable weights.

Austyn Affronti

Austyn Affronti, president of Affronti Fitness in Rochester, believes that wearable weights can help burn more calories, but “if you’re just starting out, learn to use proper form,” he said. “Once you’re more advanced, you can use a weight vest. Otherwise, it can lead to joint injuries. Putting more load on you will build more muscular strength and endurance and help people get in better shape.”

Avoid using heavy weights on wrists and ankles, as these can cause too much stress on the joints.