This is the stuff!  The good stuff!  It’s what I wear AND what the contestants on the Biggest Loser wear!  So you know it’s good!

The topic of what to wear when working out comes up a lot in the I’mperfect Forum.  Between shoes and clothing, it’s a hot topic.  So here’s a little post about WHY we should all wear compression wear!

First of all, if you haven’t read my What it Feels Like to be Fat post, you should check it out- especially if you battle with your weight or know someone who does.  The point of that post was to shed light on what the body feels like when its overweight- not just the size but the heaviness, the movement, the discomfort— that is one of the best reasons to wear compression garments right there!

Moving on…

If we were to take up a new hobby like painting, we can’t just have a vision and then go out and  buy a canvas and expect to create a masterpiece.  No.  We would also need paint and brushes- the necessary tools for painting a picture, right?  Well, working out should be approached the same way.  We can just WANT to get fit, sign up for  a gym membership and expect to see results…we must have the right tools!

So what are they?

Proper clothing and shoes!  Now the shoes-thing requires a whole other blog but suffice it to say (for now) that you MUST GET FITTED FOR YOUR SHOES!  (don’t give me any lip- trust me on this!) Go to a running store (not Famous Footwear) and have a specialist get you in the RIGHT shoes.  Hear me?!  Good!

Okay, proper clothing…


Have you ever gone to the mall or the grocery store and worn something that bugged the crap out of you?  Like you had to constantly tug it up or down or OUT?  It’s the worst!  But what’s worse than that?  Getting on a treadmill with a goal of walking 20 or 30 minutes and winding up quitting after 4 because you couldn’t stand the chaffing or because your pants kept falling down…or riding up.  It leaves you feeling frustrated not just with the article of clothing causing the irritation but with yourself for not following through.   You end up leaving the gym, feeling defeated and stopping at Taco Bell on the way… maybe that was just me.

So how do you prevent this from happening?  YOU WEAR THE RIGHT THINGS!

For me, the solution is compression wear!  Proper compression wear feels like a second skin.  A second skin that not only prevents chaffing and tugging, but a second skin that makes your body feel tight and powerful.   Did you read that “What it Feels Like to be Fat” post yet? (do it now)  That’s the main reason  I wear compression garments.  When I was at my heaviest (328lbs) any amount of impact made my body hurt- not just my joints, but my whole body.  You’d think that after losing almost half my body weight that exercise wouldn’t hurt anymore but it does– if I’m not wearing proper attire.  Although I no longer carry around a lot of extra weight, and even though I am more fit than I’ve every been in my entire life, I still have A LOT of loose fat and skin which STILL has that water balloon effect.

Feels like this…


If I am wearing shorts and a t-shirt, I can’t run or jump.  True story.  I am unable to create much in the way of vertical movement- my muscles and bones move in the direction they need to go but my loose fat and skin lag behind.  It’s an awful feeling.  For a while I was wearing spandex compression wear from Aerotech Designs-  it’s good stuff and I still wear their padded bike shorts and capris for cycling but I recently found a company that provides more support and a better fit which I prefer for workouts and races– Athletics8 by Merena.

I started wearing their stuff back in August and it has been a game changer.  It’s true compression wear- not just tight-fitting stretchy stuff.  I have tried SO MANY BRANDS of “compression wear”, from stuff you can buy off the rack at the store to special online order-stuff with “joint-specific stitching”.  Though there are some decent options out there that are far better than nothing- I have yet to find anything that fits and feels better than Athletics8.

Not only does my A8 gear hold me in TIGHT, allowing me to move all in one piece rather than my muscles and bones first followed by my loose fat and skin but it also keeps my muscles feeling fresh!  I can tell a huge difference in my endurance and recovery when I wear my A8 stuff.  And because it’s TRUE compression wear it helps the blood circulate, keeping my muscles oxygenated which prevents premature fatigue and speeds up recovery time.

I have worn the capris for multiple OCRs/Mud Runs and for the two triathlons I did this year as well swim practice and they still feel brand new.  There are a couple of tiny wholes from a few barbed wire snags but they have not run at all– in fact, I was told the material will never run (like pantyhose) because of the design– I’m a believer!

I have a pair of the A8 compression capris, the tank and the sports bra.  My only complaint is that getting in and out of the both the tank and (even more so) the bra– I feel like I’m going to dislocate my shoulder.  I’m not sure that there’s a better solution though– except maybe a front clasp but  that would be REALLY hard to manage- in fact, the more I think about it, that may be impossible.  All I know is that the struggle to get in and out of the garments is worth the benefits of wearing them!

So anyway, I wear the capris for Crossfit and all of my races.  I wear the sports bra for all of my OCRs and the tank for all of my triathlons.  The capri/tank combination make the perfect tri-suit for me.  I can go straight from the pool to the bike to the run without changing a thing– though I do add my IPL shirt after the swim because I’m cool like that.  The material has held up perfectly even with a lot of exposure to chlorine and when I wear it in the pool my body feels SO GOOD!  Without my A8 stuff my body feels loose and just plain weird- fat floats, don’t ya know?  But when I wear the compression capris and tank I feel like a mermaid– only I have full use of both of my legs…because I’m human.


Anyway, if you’re going to start working out or even if you have already started working out you need to wear this stuff.  It’s a bit pricy but it’s worth every freaking penny.  I’m telling you.  Even if you can only get ONE pair of capris right now, do it!  The money will be well spent and will actually save you in the long run.  You can go to Target and buy a pair of yoga pants  for 40 bucks that will do you absolutely no good when it comes to performance (regardless of how comfortable they are) or you can spend the extra money and get something that will help you achieve your goals.

Oh and if you need one more reason to believe this stuff isn’t the best…it’s what they wear on the Biggest Loser.  You know they don’t mess around!

Set yourself up for success!

Order your GAME CHANGING compression wear right now!  Or ask for it for Christmas– I’ve heard Santa loves to bring people the best workout clothes and use (or tell Santa to use) the DISCOUNT CODE- imperfectlife to get 15% off.  Just be sure to MEASURE YOURSELF ACCURATELY before placing your order.  You will likely need a size larger than you wear in normal, off-the-shelf clothes.  Pay no attention to that number and don’t freak out if the number on the size chart is higher than you expected.  Okay?  It’s just a number- the FIT is what’s important!

My two cents.

So there.