The Coolest Way to Lose Weight?

This is a “review” of the Thin Ice 2.0: A Next-Gen Weight Loss Clothing Line. I’m using parentheses as I’ve not actually seen the vest, let alone try it out!  So to “review” it I’ve elected to look at the science and then look at the company behind the vest and then the claims they make.  Seem sensible to you?

I thought it might!

OK let’s state upfront that they, or rather their PR people, asked me to write this but I’m not being paid or receiving any other inducement to say nice things 🙂

Second thing I need to state is that as someone who could do with shifting a few pounds (ok maybe a stone and a bit), but who is your standard lazy b*gger the thought of just being able to wear something and lose weight is bloody nirvanaland!!  So I really, really want it to work!!

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The whole concept of wearables and “smart or intelligent garments” is really beginning to take off – Gartner sees sales of “smart garments” growing from 60K in 2015 to 5.3 million next year and last year Katherine Power, cofounder and CEO of Clique said…

If a brand is able to produce an item that creates everyday efficiencies or solves a problem in a way that no other device can, we will get on board in droves

So whilst I realise that the Thin Ice Vest isn’t in itself particularly intelligent that said, along with it’s accompanying app, it’s still slap bang in the “athleisure” sweet spot!

OK let’s check out the science.  To be fair to them the PR crew have provided some links to a range of papers including a range of opinions, so it’s not all “yes of course it works!” – scientific opinion is clearly divided at this point.

An article in August 2013 on www.mensjournal.com  exhorted us thus:  “Here’s a new way to burn fat: Turn up the air conditioning, strip down to your skivvies, and embrace the deep chill.” Allegedly by exposing people to cooler temperatures over a 10 day period brown fat activity increased significantly.

Following on in January 2014 MaryGrace Taylor on www.prevention.com wrote “Spending time in cooler temperatures can boost calorie burn by up to 30%, according to research in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.”

Apparently it’s something to do with “brown fat” which turns glucose in the body into energy/heat!

So is it as simple as that?  Is the case proven?  Can we move on….er, not exactly.

On the opposite of the science divide sit people such as Dr Gabe Mirkin who’s into “Fitness & Health“.  He says in hot weather you heart not only has to pump to keep you exercising but it also has work to do in pumping blood to the skin to help you keep your cool! And when it’s colder?  Exactly!  It doesn’t need to do that anymore so you could end up burning less calories and therefore NOT losing weight – doh!  Scarily as someone who puts on weight in the winter this might actually be a fair point!!

Also it’s not just a simple matter of burning calories (or not) there’s the mix of fuel you’re burning that needs to be considered.  Back in 2010 – yup, that long ago – a Spanish study  which actually referred back to work carried out in the last century (1994) which “proved” that running in extreme heat meant you burnt a higher proportion of carbs and a lower proportion of fat than running in lower temperatures! Confused?  You will be after this episode of….etc etc.

There is of course the hugely simplistic but maxim as espoused by many more scientists and medical professionals which equates to “Eat Less, Move More” as a means of managing weight/weight loss and even then people can’t agree!

So, what can we say?  Well the scientific jury is out. Yes, while it is generally agreed that part of our weight gain as a society is down to our more sedentary lifestyle the experts are unable to agree on cold/hot/fat/carbs/move/don’t – and that’s really really helpful – NOT!

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OK onto the company.

Well the man behind this technological breakthrough “that is so different, profound, innovative and truly user-friendly, it is destined to impact literally BILLIONS of lives worldwide.” is one Adam Paulin. He’s from Toronto and as we all know right now Toronto is the hub of the wearable world.  He’s totally convinced this product will be a winner.  This is the 2nd iteration of the vest, apparently the team received a ton of feedback on the 1.0 design, which inspired the changes that led to the 2.0.  It is now thinner with a longer battery life and for today’s world it allows you to control it using an app!!

Adam assures us via the kickstarter page that this device won’t miss it’s delivery date – apparently the campaign on indiegogo which raised almost $600k was stopped in mid-June – this from the Indiegogo page

“Yesterdays E-Mail from Thin Ice means that ALL PRODUCTS FROM THIS CAMPAIGN ARE CANCELLED…”.

Again Adam and co seem to be trying to help people by hiring extra people for their support line so they could help investors with the refunds on offer or upgrades to the 2nd generation vest, or delivery of the Vest version 1.0  – none of the other original garments are available.

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The company is operating out of an Agile offices space 250 Yonge Street, Toronto – that like a Regus office for us Europeans – no issues with that many of today’s leading companies have come from similar roots!   After some digging I finally found the company’s website – the main url takes you to the Kickstarter page but here it is.  A quick view of “the team” is interesting.  Plenty of marketing people but no obvious technical/scientific sorts….and the Crowdfunding CMO owns his own marketing business.

As I write this the campaign has 7 days to go and is 7x overfunded. That’s over $750k in total from both the campaigns! Clearly the promotion has been good and there are a lot of people interested in this product. As I said up front, given the ability to get something (weight loss) for little or nothing (activity-wise) that’s not a surprise!

OK to sum up….we have a product which promises to deliver, we have a mixture of scientific claim and counterclaim, we have had 2 funding campaigns, a change of product strategy and a lot of marketing people involved…oh and the delivery date is 6 months hence…sounds just like plenty of other crowdfunding opportunities!

Would I fund this?  I’ve thought long and hard – I’ve funded quite a few previous products – with mixed outcomes – and in this instance I’m going to wait to see if the delivered product works first.  In the same way that Amazon makes it easy for us to buy stuff I’m going to wait for the user reviews before committing my hard earned money.

If there was one thing that might sway me it would be the involvement of more (some!) scientists – hey I work in marketing and I can come up with some fantastic “marketing bo**ocks” to make you want to buy stuff and this has plenty of hyperbole about it – I think it needs more of its own science – using an article in the Daily Mail (no I’m not going to give you a link to that rag) and inferring that Michael Phelps can eat all of that stuff because he exercises in cold water ain’t going to cut it!!

As with a these crowdfunding tech projects – caveat emptor people, caveat emptor!!

(All images have been copied from the Thin Ice Kickstarter page)

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