Dr. Wayne B. Hayes is a NASA scientist and professor who used studies surrounding cold exposure and calorie burn to develop a vest that fights fat.
The Cold Shoulder Vest is filled with ice packs that help your body burn calories. Of course, you still need to eat healthy and workout—Dr. Hayes stresses that the vest isn’t a ‘magic pill’ of sorts—but that it can aid in burning calories outside of your usual workout routine.
The vest was created to reach the tissue, known as brown fat, in your shoulders and back. “The vest is designed to activate those muscles,” explains Dr. Hayes. “Also, the back has the least density of skin and nerves, and thus is not uncomfortable when exposed to ice.” Because of this, Dr. Hayes recommends when first using the vest to only use the ice packs in the back and use the front ice once you’ve already acclimated to the vest.
I was able to try the vest on and can attest that it is a bit uncomfortable at first; it’s not the fabric or fit that is a problem, but acclimating to the cold. However, it wasn’t unbearable, and the vest was able to be worn longer and longer each time as I worked up. “We recommend wearing the vest twice a day—early morning and late evening, preferably on an empty stomach—for an hour each,” suggests Dr. Hayes. “But start more slowly, wearing it a few minutes a day the first time and building up from there.”
If you wear the vest regularly, you could see up to a pound of fat lost each week. Dr. Hayes shares that the best way to measure progress at home is with a tape measure around your stomach and waist.
For those who are skeptics of using mild cold exposure to burn calories, Dr. Hayes references swimmers. “Olympic swimmers burn many more calories per day than other Olympic athletes, and it has nothing to do with the exercise,” he shares on his website. “It’s the water. They spend their day in water that’s 20 degrees (F) below their body temperature, and this temperature difference makes them burn way more calories than the exercise alone.”
So while the vest isn’t going to allow you to stop exercising, wearing it regularly could make a difference for those trying to lose those pesky final pounds of fat, which are always the hardest.