When it comes to the contents of my gym bag, I have a ‘less is more’ approach.
My primary objective is getting to the class. I opt for yoga or pilates because neither require a change of shoes, and all I have to do is throw a sports bra, leggings and top in a canvas bag just before I run out the door. The way I think of it is that the less barriers to exercise, the higher likelihood I have of actually exercising and keeping it up.
However, I'm willing to make an exception for Mission's Enduracool Yoga Towel.
Essentially, it's your basic sweat towel that a bunch of very clever towel engineers managed to infuse with cooling technologies. Swanky, right? And while it might sound frivolous, it's only $10, and we all know that when you're in a middle of a gruelling workout, it's often the little things that get you through to the end of the class.
Speaking of fitness, if you're a frequent gym-goer maybe you're a bit guilty of this too. We wear exercise clothes all weekend and sometimes even to work. Have we reached peak activewear? The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss. Post continues after audio.
Ok, so how does the cooling sweat towel work?
First things first, ignore the name. While it says it's a 'yoga towel,' you can use it during any type of exercise that gets you hot and sweaty, like a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session or during a run.
In order to activate the towel's cooling properties all you have to do is get the towel wet, wring out the excess water, then grab the opposite sides of the towel and rapidly snap it taut.
In my experience it stays chilled for an hour or two, and most importantly doesn't drip or soak through your clothes... because wouldn't that be gross for your fellow class-goers and gym fellows.
What does the cooling sweat towel do?
The first time I used the yoga towel, I admittedly didn't have much luck - I took it to a heated yoga class and while it mopped up my sweat it wasn't nearly enough to saturate the towel for the cooling effect to kick in.
In hindsight this was probably be a good thing, because having a sweat-drenched towel keeping you cool in a heated, humid room while trying to sit into an eagle pose sounds as unappealing in theory as it would be in reality.
However, after class I soaked the towel using the studio's tap, squeezed out the water to the point that the towel was a little bit damp, did the 'snapping' motion and off I left with a cooling towel around my shoulders, refreshed and relaxed.
For the second time around I went into the same class with the towel pre-chilled and found that when the class got too hot, or when we were doing a particularly strenuous sequence, shifting my focus to the chilled wrap around my shoulders made the class a lot more enjoyable.
Also, despite the room being heated to a toasty 40 degrees, the towel stayed cool for the entire one hour session, and felt lovely draped on my shoulders during Savasana (the bit where you lie down and meditate sleep).
Side note: It's also great tied around your shoulders during runs because again, it distracts you from the actual running and, in the interest of complete transparency, it personally made me feel a whole lot more 'in with the cool running group,' (while jogging by myself) as if I was the kind of person to have an actual running kit.
All I'm saying, is that I feel no shame in using vanity as a motivator and neither should you.
So if you're currently after a little workout 'pick-me-up,' the refreshing powers of a cooling towel might in theory seem a bit extra, but mid-downward dog or burpee circuit, it might just be the thing that gives you a bit more motivation to continue.
The Mission Enduracool Yoga Towel is currently on sale for $9.99.
What's your go-to workout hack and would you ever use a cooling towel in your exercise routine? Tell us in a comment.
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