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Size 13: The trousers that burn calories

July 21st 2012 / Emma Bartley

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Emma Bartley’s ongoing struggle to fit into her jeans. This week: can Zaggora Hotpants turn me into a hottie?

“What size are you?” emailed the press officer for Zaggora Hotpants, the day before we met for breakfast. “We’d like to bring you a present.”

The correct answer to the question was “Size 14, please.” But you’re either a hotpants half too full or a hotpants half too empty kind of person, and I always choose too full. The plan is to lose the extra half a size, not to fatten into a bigger pair. “Size 12,” I wrote back.

These Hotpants, we should point out, are not hotpants. A kind of Neoprene legging that increases your body temperature while you work out, it is available in full or three-quarter length sizes and is designed to make you hotter while you work out. Getting hotter means your body has to work harder to cool down, you sweat more and your heart rate increases.

“Studies have shown that for every gram of perspiration, your body also burns half a calorie. So 100g of perspiration nets you almost 50 calories,” says the press release. The thing is, that’s not very many calories. It’s pretty much an apple. Still, it’s also calories you’re burning without putting any obvious extra effort in.

So on went the Hotpants – it’s just like wearing a wetsuit, they are pleasingly firm and seem to pull you in – and off I went to spinning.

If you haven't been (though the endless waiting lists at my local Fitness First indicate that you probably have) spinning is a pretty intense group cycling class and the leggings definitely did make me sweat more in my lower body. When I peeled them off for a shower they (and my actual pants) were soaked – not nice, sorry, but this is how it works. My skin had that clammy, wet-nappy quality but I soon showered off and felt rather virtuous. The makers claim that the Hotpants boost circulation and lymphatic drainage, targeting legs, bums and tums: parts of our body that we’re not using much in desk-bound jobs.

They have been used by celebrities including Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby, Tess Daly and The Saturdays. Finding Holly Valance’s name in the press release is particularly pleasing: the actor-turned-singer-turned-property-millionaire’s-girlfriend is a textbook size 13.

Are they enough of a change to make the waistband of my size 12 jeans fit more comfortably? Perhaps, though I’m not sure that it wouldn’t be through water loss rather than fat loss. But at £59.99, they’re no more expensive than running leggings by sportswear brands such as Sweaty Betty – so seems to me as if it’s worth a go. I’ll be wearing them for my regular exercise and cycle to work… and trying to remember spare underwear.

Capri flares, £59.99, Flares, £69.99 and Nude Hotpants (to wear under clothes) £44.99, all zaggora.com

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