Leggings Unfairly Blamed for Causing Weight Gain

Rumors are circulating that leggings can make you fat. If this were true, I wouldn’t be able to leave my house without the assistance of a team of paramedics cutting a hole in my wall.

Can clothes really make you gain weight? We all know that clothes making you thinner is a big marketing gimmick right now, however true it may or may not be (*cough* still not convinced *cough*), but some are saying tight, stretchy pants like leggings and jeggings (a cross between jeans and leggings) can make you pack on the pounds.

If you’re wondering what the possible connection between the two could be, join the club, but London physiotherapist Sammy Margo told the Daily Mail that leggings cause muscles to become “lazy”. “They hold in and support the quadriceps (thigh muscles), buttocks and core muscles in your tummy, and do the job the muscles are supposed to do,” Margo has said. “As a result, the muscles are allowed to relax and switch off, so when we reveal our bodies for the first time as summer approaches, they are not as svelte or firm as they otherwise would be,” she added.

Um, what?

“That’s ridiculous,” Dr. Jana Klauer, a weight-loss expert in private practice in New York City, recently told MSNBC.com. “There’s nothing in leggings that would cause any change to occur within the muscle or the fat of the leg.”

First off, in my experience, which is pretty extensive since I basically live in leggings and yoga pants, they aren’t tight or constricting at all- let alone enough to prevent your muscles from moving. In fact, that’s why I love them so much- they are stretchy and comfortable. But even the most constricting garments, like Spanx, which are designed to hold everything in snugly, haven’t been shown to have any effect on your leg muscles at all. And besides, using your muscles less doesn’t automatically lead to weight gain. Gaining weight comes from consuming more calories than your burn, and pants aren’t going to throw that equation off.

This does, however, bring us to the other side of the spectrum. “Miracle” workout garments, like those from Reebok EasyTone, claim the opposite: that their clothing can cause your muscles to work harder, resulting in muscle toning and weight loss. Special bands sewn into the clothes, Reebok claims, provide resistance as you move, working muscles harder.

Resistance? Sounds a lot like what Margo claims is the cause of legging weight gain- constriction against movement. Either way, one can’t help but ask why these would have any effect on your muscles- or at least, make a big enough difference to see a difference in your body. But, hey, if wearing this workout apparel encourages you to workout more often, more power to ya.

Long story short, don’t throw out your leggings for fear of not fitting into your swimsuit come summer time. Actually, leggings are the perfect workout pants since they let you move freely, so slip them on and hit the gym to avoid weight gain… instead of blaming it on your outfit.


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