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You’re Probably Missing The Benefits Of Compression Clothing For Fitness And Health

21st February 2022

21st February 2022

By Beth Shelper

As if deciding what ‘day’ it is at the gym, what workouts you’re going to do and whether or not to add cardio to the mix at your next gym session wasn’t enough, next comes the small detail of what you’re going to wear.

Now, you may be thinking: who cares what I wear to the gym? It’s the gym.

We totally agree, here at Innermost, we’re big believers in the idea that you should wear whatever you want, whenever you want. The truth of it is, deciding what to wear at the gym is not about how you look. So, go ahead and wear those snazzy yoga pants. Rock them.

When talking about what to wear at the gym, we’re talking about the type of clothing you should be wearing. We’re talking about compression wear.

What is compression wear?

When it comes to compression wear, the clue is in the name. The aim of the garment is to fit tightly to the wearer in order to compress, easing blood flow, reducing sweat and improving overall athletic performance.

Compression wear and compression garments are available in a range of sizes, colours and designs to ensure that athletes of all ages, sizes and requirements can benefit from the fabric technology. Usually made from elastin and nylon, for their compressive qualities.

Types of compression wear clothing include socks, shorts, leggings and upper body garments, and these are most commonly worn by gym goers and athletes, although those that don’t participate in regular exercise or sport can benefit from compression garments and their health benefits, too.

What are the benefits of compression wear and compression garments?

Whether you opt to wear a number of compression wear garments during a workout, or just choose to cover one limb with the compression garment (such as an area affected by injury, like a calf), compression garments are hugely beneficial in a number of ways.

Here are some of our favourite benefits of compression clothing:

Does sports compression clothing increase athletic performance?

The market for compression wear is huge, suggesting that these garments are particularly beneficial when it comes to improving athletic performance: but is that strictly true? Let’s dive in. Some of the world’s biggest sports brands all back the claims, with all offering extensive ranges of compression garments in every size and colour to suit all.  

Things we love to see.

Whilst this all sounds great, though, some investigations seem to contradict these claims, and potentially indicate that the above brands shout the praises of these compression garments from a marketing perspective. Hmmm.

Let’s take a look at the science.

Investigations into compression garments and sports performance

Scientific investigations seem to corroborate that whilst compression garments don’t seem to have a huge impact on overall performance, such as one study conducted by Nike who found that there was no significant difference between runners who wore compression wear and those that didn’t during a 30 minute run, the real benefits come during the recovery side of things.

From this we can conclude that whilst compression wear brings a host of benefits to the table in the health and fitness world, we should prioritise using these garments during an injury.

That leads us on pretty nicely to our next point…

Using compression garments for injuries

If you’re currently suffering from an injury – maybe a pulled muscle, sprain or a torn ligament, compression garments can be hugely beneficial in reducing recovery time and maximising results.

Compression garments are usually used in the treatment of the following injuries:

All in all, the evidence speaks for itself. Compression wear brings a host of benefits, and whilst the garments don’t necessarily correlate with an increase in performance, multiple studies have hailed the sportswear in terms of it’s benefits when it comes to injury recovery.

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From the Bedroom to the Gym: Is Your Sex Life Affecting Your Workout Performance?
The relationship between sex and workout performance is one that’s long been debated by scientists and fitness fanatics alike. It’s complicated and multifaceted, so answering the question of whether your sex life is affecting your training is difficult. That said, today we’re going to take a look at a variety of evidence, both academic and anecdotal, as well as several different scenarios and at least try to reduce some of the mystery around the subject. First, it helps to understand what’s actually happening to the body, both physically and psychologically, during both activities.   The Effects of Sex on the Body Sexual activity causes several changes to occur in the body:   Physical Changes That Occur During Sex During sexual activity and the lead up to it, the human body undergoes a process known as the sexual response cycle. This is the case for both males and females, though the cycle can be highly individual and may not be the same each time for each person. Describing the full sexual response cycle is beyond the scope of this article, however it consists of 4 phases: Desire Arousal Orgasm Resolution Factors such as elevated heart rate, increased blood flow and pressure and heightened muscle tension all come into play. If you’d like to read about the sexual response cycle in more detail, check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic.   Psychological Changes That Occur During Sex Several psychological changes occur both during and after sex. Most notable are the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which are associated with improved mood and a better sense of wellbeing. These are also responsible for reduced stress levels, which brings a multitude of additional benefits that are of particular interest to those of us participating in regular training and exercise. Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, is catabolic in high levels, meaning it can cause the breakdown of lean tissue. So, whilst it is unclear whether sex itself affects workout performance, the reduction in stress levels it may bring is definitely beneficial for preserving our results!   The Effects of Exercise and Training on the Body Exercise and training also cause the body to undergo a number of changes. These occur both during and after the physical activity. There are in fact a number of similarities in changes that happen during exercise and sex:   Physical Changes That Occur During Exercise The physical changes that happen in the body vary based on the type of exercise being undertaken, however, there are some that are common to exercise in general: Increased heart rate Increased blood flow, especially to the muscles Faster, deeper breathing due to additional oxygen needs Heightened activity within the circulatory, respiratory, musculoskeletal and endocrine systems A full summary of the changes that occur within these systems can be found here. More aerobically demanding exercise will, of course, place greater emphasis on the circulatory and respiratory systems as well as causing fat to be metabolised as an energy source. Resistance training, which often relies more heavily on the lactate and creatine phosphate energy systems, instead promotes greater muscular and endocrine (hormone) activity. Note the common physical changes between sex and exercise here, as they do crossover!   Psychological Changes That Occur During Exercise The psychological changes that occur during exercise are similar to those experienced during sexual activity and are mostly related to the release of endorphins and other ‘feelgood’ hormones. These help to regulate mood, and it is common knowledge that frequent exercise and leading an active, healthy lifestyle promotes a feeling of wellbeing.   Does Sex Affect Our Workouts? This is where things become complicated. Though extensive studies have been done on the subject, the results of these have varied massively. We must also take into account the experience of individuals, and this anecdotal evidence again has huge variance. Let’s look at both:   Sex and Training: What the Science Says Scientific studies on the relationship between sex and training are contradictory at best. There’s no denying the positive benefits of both activities, particularly from a psychological perspective, but as for the effect of sex on actual performance in the gym the results are inconclusive. A study, published in April 2021, by Kirecci, Albayrak and co. examined the effects of sexual activity of 50 men in the 24 hours prior to training on lower body strength. The study measured effects by having the men perform 3 separate squat sessions, each at the same time of day. Each of these sessions occurred after participating in or abstaining from sexual activity the night before. The men performed 5 sets of 5 repetitions of their maximum squat weight during these sessions and the difference in weight lifted was observed. The study concluded that ‘sexual intercourse within 24 hours before exercise [has a] detrimental effect on lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before a short-term activity may be necessary.’ Aside from this study, most others found either no notable relationship between sex and athletic performance. A meta-analysis of 9 crossover studies, conducted by Zavorsky and Brooks and published on 16 September 2022, confirms this. The analysis concluded that ‘The results demonstrate that sexual activity within 30 min to 24 h before exercise does not appear to affect aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal endurance, or strength/power.’ This is perhaps more notable, because these studies incorporated different types of exercise and were not restricted purely to a strength/power based activity like squats.   Anecdotal Evidence: What About the Experiences of Real Gym Goers? The anecdotal evidence is, as expected, highly individualised. However, there tends to be a bias against the results of most studies, particularly in those participating in sports involving strength and aggression. For example, many fighters claim that they perform better when they abstain from sex in the days leading up to a contest. Similarly, bodybuilding forums are full of debate on this topic and many claim they note a significant decrease in motivation to train at maximum intensity after sexual activity. It has been hypothesised that this may be due to a downregulation in testosterone production after sex; during orgasm the mineral zinc is released in the body and this is also a precursor for natural testosterone production in the body and may, therefore, provide some reasoning as to the experience of many trainees.   Key Takeaways The relationship between sex and workout performance will always be a complicated one. The effects of one on the other in terms of physical fitness and, in particular, mental wellbeing, are clear, but when it comes to actual performance this appears to be highly individual. We’d advise doing what feels best for you but not worrying too much about it. Instead, prioritise your nutrition and make sure you’re fuelling your workouts properly. While you’re here, why not take a look at the Innermost range? We’re proud to be completely transparent about the ingredients in our products and we always ensure they’re of the highest quality. Check us out, and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions! Read more