Maybe you were under the impression that a vest made of ice isn’t cold.
But you would be very, very wrong.
It’s very, very cold.
Give Fat (Or Maybe This Vest) The Cold Shoulder
The Cold Shoulder workout and weight loss vest is cold for a reason. The idea is that by making your core colder it will force your body to warm itself up and therefore burn calories. It was invented by Dr. Wayne Hayes, an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine and a visiting scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. The website promises up to 500 calories burned a day if one wears the vest for 90 minutes twice a day.
You can read quotes from Dr. Hayes on plenty of other websites. None of those sites actually wore the vest before promoting it. But in a true act of sacrifice for the readers of ThriveWire, I, your beloved editor, wore this thing for three weeks.
I tried to make this into a legitimate scientific test. I wanted to get my body fat tested in one of those fancy machines before and after.
Alas, those are expensive and no one wanted to let me use them for free. Instead I went to my local LA Fitness to talk to a trainer there and got my body fat tested on the handheld gadgets they use.
They aren’t the most accurate machines in the world, which will come into play later (they call that foreshadowing, I’m like Stephen King, I know).
A Brief Intermission To Discuss Larry King
“Don’t let anybody make fun of my name, they’ll think I’m some old white guy,” jokes Larry King, the lean, 20 or 30-something African-American trainer at LA fitness who set up my test.
The ancient talk show host wouldn’t be as much help for this test, however he might be able to tell me if people were thin during the Ice Age when he grew up. This is a joke because Larry King, the talk show host, is old and the Ice Age was a long time ago.
Jokes are better when you explain them.
The Section About Myself In Which I Begin The Test
If you didn’t read my DNA Fit piece, I’ll remind you that I’m 6’4”, 188 lbs, and 24 years-old. I’m lean, but also slightly out of shape especially in my midsection which is exactly where I’ll be wearing the Cold Shoulder. My body fat on the handheld gadget showed up as 17.3% in the first test.
Hayes says that the Cold Shoulder itself isn’t going to get you in shape. You should continue to exercise and diet and use the Cold Shoulder as a supplement to your weight loss. They promise results and reduction in body fat after just three weeks of this.
Listen, the science is there. There’s a whole tab called “Science” on their website.
So, I started using the Cold Shoulder and immediately began hating it. The first thing I disliked: it was way too small. I got the medium, sent generously by Dr. Hayes, because the larges looked like they would be too big and wouldn’t be contacting my chest at all times. Well, the medium only hit me between my shoulders and the lower part of my ribs. And it was tight, very tight.
It was a very tight, very cold, very unstylish vest that I sat at my desk wearing twice a day for three weeks. I quickly acquired the nickname “Ice Chest” around the office. It might almost blend in with work attire that requires a tie or at least a button-down shirt and dress pants. But here at the ThriveWire offices, we wear jeans. I looked like even more of a tool than normal.
But it was all going to be worth it because I had my wedding coming up four weeks after I began the test. It was going to get me in perfect honeymoon shape, at least that’s what I told myself.
[Confession: Although I had been swimming up to three times a week and playing indoor soccer once a week, my swimming dipped significantly during this time period due to the LA Fitness pool being under construction. I maintained the off-and-on healthy diet that I always maintain though. Basically, I did what I always do but added the Cold Shoulder to see if it would make a noticeable or long-term difference.]
Every day I put this vest on when I arrived at work and before I left. When I forgot, my coworkers quickly reminded me. I would disparage them under my breath and then trudge to the freezer.
Oh yeah, you need to have a freezer that can fit a vest full of ice packs in it.
The Results (you probably skimmed to this point anyway)
I won’t string this along anymore..Did it actually work?
When I went to see Larry King again after chilling my core for three weeks I did the test on the handheld gadget.
I gained body fat. What?
So yeah, that’d be a no right? Well, there’s a couple reasons we can’t completely rule out the Cold Shoulder as a weight/body fat loss tool. Like I said, those body fat gadgets are not very reliable. For example, I just got a HoMedics scale at home that tells you body fat, BMI, etc. This scale says I’m at 15.1% body fat. According to that scale I’m in the ideal range for body fat, while according to the handheld gadget I’m 2-3% over. There’s lots of conflicting information here.
What I will say in defense of the Cold Shoulder is that within the second week I definitely felt my core tightening up. I told multiple people about it, coworkers, my fiancé, people on the street, the police officers who arrested me after accosting people on the street about my core tightening up…everyone!
That’s not empirical scientific evidence, but I don’t see ThriveWire with a “Science” tab on our website either.
Here’s what I’ll say about the Cold Shoulder: It sucked. It was cold. I didn’t enjoy it. However, I don’t enjoy any type of workout really. It’s not supposed to be fun. That’s one of the main points that Dr. Hayes makes. Nothing that gets you in shape is enjoyable. If you are trying anything and everything (within reason) to burn those few extra calories before beach season, the Cold Shoulder is probably a pretty good option.
But between you and me, if the ice doesn’t make you shiver, the price will. It’s $149 for now, and they claim the cost will go up when it is in retail stores.
Honestly, I’m just happy I got to make that ice/price joke. It was worth every freezing cold minute.