A weight-loss innovation is sweeping through the city thanks to Bright Weights – a wearable system of weights that contributes to burning more calories on a daily basis. We sit down with Jannie Wessels to talk weight-loss, weights and keeping our core in check:

  1. Where did the idea for the Cross Trainer originate from?

Bright Weights started in the SCUBA industry 17 years ago. The system allowed divers to distribute weight across their bodies allowing them to achieve a more balanced pitch in the water.

We recognised that we could create something new and effective for people who were interested in fitness by applying the same thinking, style and ethos used in our SCUBA products – good design, superior materials, meticulous construction.

In mid-2015 we launched our new range of fitness products.

  1. What are the benefits of wearing the cross trainer?

With a properly fitted and balanced weight system your centre of gravity is constantly challenged during movement thus building a stronger core. Due to the centre of gravity being challenged the neuro muscular system reaches maximum activation, giving the muscle groups an increased workout.

  • Strength benefits: The simple principle of overload applies here, just like in any weight training routine. Carrying more weight during training requires added strength and oxygen thus sapping your energy stores, which helps to build strength and muscular endurance.
  • Cardiovascular benefits: Doing any physical activity, be it walking, running, rowing or cycling with extra weight poses a serious challenge. The cardiovascular system has to go into overdrive as a result of the added resistance and, in turn, results in strengthening the lungs, VO2 max and the lactate threshold.
  • Musculoskeletal benefits: As well as increasing muscle strength, carrying the extra weight will increase the load transmitted through bones. This will stimulate osteoblasts to lay down new bone material, increasing bone mass.
  • Variable benefits: Human bodies adapt to specific movements over a period of time, whether positive or negative. Adding a functional weighting system to your training creates a variation that your body is not prepared for thus stimulating an increase in performance.
  1. How does the cross trainer assist with weight loss, even if no exercise is involved?

This is the one instance where carrying a little extra baggage can have a big benefit. To move any type of weight from 1 point to another requires energy, thus when wearing the cross trainer, any movement you perform will force more muscle fibers to activate. As this requires more energy you will end up burning more calories. The Bright Weights Cross Trainer is also great for improving your posture, as any slouching will result in immediate discomfort thus forcing you to correct your posture. People with good posture have been proven to burn 1-2 kcal more per minute than people with bad posture.

  1. Can the cross trainer be used for different sports or only low impact activities?

When weighting the body it is vitally important that the weight is evenly distributed along and around the body. In doing so the body believes it is naturally weighted and the correct muscles get activated during routines.

The Bright Weights CROSS Trainer is a unique 3-component body weighting system. It comes with 2 x 500g ankle / wrist straps, a 2kg waist belt with compensating mechanism, a 3,5kg chest harness with compensating mechanism and a tough little bag to hold all the components, which then doubles up as a 6,5kg kettle bell. The components can be used separately or combined, depending on fitness levels or exercise routines.

The Cross Trainer can be worn in a number of instances from rehabilitation, power walking, Pilates, football, cycling, rugby, ballet and even synchronised swimming.

  1. How many weights do you recommend starting with?

The weight worn is completely up to the person wearing it but progressive resistance training is recommended. Individuals who are new to exercise or just starting out may only want to start with the 0.5kg ankle or wrist weights and then slowly progress to either the 2kg belt, 3.5kg upper body harness or a combination of any of the above. Conditioned athletes may be able to start training with a full 6.5kg system.

  1. Where can one purchase a cross trainer or Bright Weights equipment?

Bright Weights fitness equipment is available at www.brightweights.com and at select Sportsman’s Warehouse stores.

  1. How many extra calories can be burnt during a workout?

On average a person can expect to double-up on calories burned during a workout but this will vary from one individual to another – depending on the extent of the training being done.

Will you try it? Tweet us @ELLEMagazineSA