Q. Hi Gear Guy. One time, I saw a TV ad about a special type of garment—particularly for athletes—that turns your sweat into energy. Is there really such a product and will it work?
—Curious Josh, Allison Park, Pa.
A. Thanks for the question, Josh. I looked it up on the internet and found the X-Bionic company, which manufacturers these super-tight garments that they do indeed claim turns sweat into energy. They have shirts, underwear, tights, socks—and all of it is expensive. A basic T-shirt starts at $100! Anyway, like you, I was naturally skeptical about this product. So I contacted my good friend and big-time exercise scientist John Porcari, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse Exercise and Health Program. Here’s what he had to say about X-Bionic and their claims:
“Turns sweat into energy is just a catchy phrase, as that is an impossible task. What the garment really does is to potentially conserve energy by helping to remove sweat from the skin’s surface, thus your body cools itself more easily (which conserves energy). Also because it is tight, it helps to control extraneous muscular movements, which makes the muscles more efficient.”
So, Josh, I’d say skip the $100 super-duper-tee and just get yourself a good ol’ moisture-wicking tee-shirt for $20 bucks (like the Under Armour Tech Tee; www.underarmour.com) and pound a couple handfuls of trail mix—that should give you plenty of energy for the trail!