Do TikTok's viral "fat burning leggings" actually work? Here's what a fitness expert says...

·3-min read
Photo credit: Marco Govel - Getty Images
Photo credit: Marco Govel - Getty Images

From appetite suppressing lollipops to fat burning beverages that promise to drop pounds with every sip, it (sadly) seems there's no end to the lose-weight-quick schemes that worm their way into our TikTok feeds. Thankfully, more and more of us are savvier than ever when it comes to spotting fake fitness news.

In fact, when reality TV star Megan McKenna took to social media recently to promote "fat burning leggings", her video – which has since been deleted – was met with widespread criticism, with plenty of people taking to TikTok to call out the fad fitness item. "These are fat burning leggings," McKenna said in her clip, adding: "Basically, you sweat in them, really sweat in them, and it helps you burn your calories quicker."

But, stitching The Only Way Is Essex star's clip, fitness influencer Gracie Collis called the claim out. "How can people still be saying this? Surely she just knows," Collis told her 501.9K followers. "I'm just gonna explain it, there's no possible way that that is even possible at all. Calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight. I just can't even believe I have to say this."

So, do "fat burning leggings" actually work?

Spoiler alert... no, they don't – in the long run, at least.

"What these types of products do is increase localised sweating, elevate your body temperature and prevent air from circulating, which is going to cause water loss," Elliott Upton, a certified personal trainer and Head of Online Training at Ultimate Performance, explains to Cosmopolitan UK.

"So, in theory, you might very temporarily and very acutely lose a bit of weight simply because you are losing fluids," he adds. "But it doesn’t do the slightest thing to burn fat, it won’t do anything to speed up your metabolism and in no way, shape or form will it have any impact on burning calories quicker."

That's not to say that every fitness video that comes up on your feed is false, but Upton advises doing your own research as well as getting to know your body better – especially when it comes to what sort of exercise work for you.

"I want to stress that there are some genuinely good fitness experts on TikTok. It’s not as simple as dismissing the platform entirely, because there are some very experienced, very knowledgeable experts on there, who have good advice to share," he points out.

"However, there is a lot of information on TikTok that is either out of date, or worse, out of context. When it comes to fitness, everyone is different. What works for one person might not work for another. And it can therefore be dangerous to follow an influencer on TikTok blindly because you could end up following a workout programme or a diet that is not right for you, and you could end up injuring yourself and doing more harm than good."

Photo credit: UWE_UMSTAETTER - Getty Images
Photo credit: UWE_UMSTAETTER - Getty Images

If weight loss is something you're wanting to work towards, instead of spending money on "fat burning leggings" like the ones in McKenna's social media clip, Upton advises honing your health and fitness regime – and, most importantly, sticking to it. "There is no quick-fix to burning fat. It takes consistency, patience, determination and dedication," he explains. And of course, it's always best to consult a professional before embarking on any major diet or exercise changes.

"Don’t fall for the gimmicks," the expert adds. "The best way to lose fat is to follow the tried-and-trusted methods of being in a calorie deficit, prioritising sleep and lifting weights." He goes on, "It’s worked time-after-time for centuries, long before someone came up with the nonsensical idea of trying to flog 'fat burning leggings' to the public."

Cosmopolitan UK has reached out to Megan McKenna for comment.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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