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With lockdowns easing up, we bet you’ve been dying to train again in your favorite gym. Working out at home is cool, but the past few weeks could make anyone crave for the thrill of being with equally pumped-up fitness enthusiasts.
It’s no secret that Bodyweight Heaven always cheers you on towards your body goals, but we don’t want you to rush it at the expense of your general health!
A lot of us greeted the reopening of gyms with a happy dance. However, our skeptical buddies are probably still asking – is it REALLY safe to head out for training?
Any public place can put you at risk of exposure to COVID-19, but only if you’re stubborn enough to ignore minimum health protocols. Your best shot at protection? Face masks.
Count on this guide to help you feel safer to train outdoors. Tons of protective equipment have also flooded the market, so we picked out three of the best workout masks for going back to the gym.
How did COVID-19 reshape the fitness industry?
This pandemic is no joke. It even got people thinking that the expected wrath of 2012 came eight years late. One thing’s for certain, COVID-19 greatly disrupted the world as we knew it and the fitness industry is no exception.
We’re transitioning to the “new normal,” and that’s easier said than done for people who’ve had active healthy lifestyles.
Finding a pandemic-ready fitness mask can be tough. Those usually put on sale are optimized for cardiorespiratory health by simulating low oxygen levels. As for their efficacy for filtering microbes, don’t expect much.
Now, fitness brands are up for the challenge of developing a product that balances protection and performance. After all, COVID-19 isn’t the only threat to our health. Don’t forget the rising pollution levels way before this crisis exploded.
Take it from Don Albert of Reebok – people around the world, especially in Asian countries, have long used masks for outdoor training. The pandemic did not give rise to the demand for fitness masks, but only increased it.
Albert’s company have its best brains focused on meeting such need, but we find their recent designs totally EXTREME. The kind that would make you feel like you’re starring in a dystopian movie.
Just take a look at their “Immersion Mask,” a full-coverage product that encases your entire face complete with a respirator and hood. Imagine running across a burning city filled with toxic gases – that’s the set up that seemed most fitting for this product.
To be fair with Reebok, this odd face mask takes protection to the maximum levels. Albert also boasted of its potential features, including adjustable oxygen and temperature levels.
But let’s be honest, are you comfortable with using the black plague as your training outfit inspiration? Yep, we don’t think so too.
Do I have to wear a mask during outdoor exercise?
From our peers in the business sector, let’s move forward to what health experts have to say. It seems like wearing a mask for outdoor exercise is a matter of courtesy and public policy rather than protection.
University of Hong Kong’s epidemiology and biostatistics professor Benjamin Cowling believes that the chances of acquiring COVID-19 when you train outside are generally slim, regardless if you wear a mask or not.
Unless you decide to workout out with a really large crowd, risks of transmission are minimal. This is true both in the scenario where you pass by infected people, and where you’re actually the virus’ carrier.
However, we’re still advised to not take any chances.
This is why many cities require facial covering for anyone who will enter a public establishment. There are even those who impose hefty penalties for violators.
Wearing a fitness mask also gives the people around you a sense of safety and reassurance. We’ve seen a lot of worried pedestrians purposely change course upon seeing a jogger about to cross paths with them.
What are the benefits of using masks for training?
Americans are actually divided as to whether or not wearing face masks should be a norm. But as far as the fitness industry is concerned, allow us to drop a couple of reasons why they can be a really great training companion.
- Fitness masks can kick your exercise’s difficulty up a notch, both in terms of physical and mental training. Consider them as scalable weights, but for your cardiorespiratory system. By increasing your endurance and stamina, you can reduce the risk of fatigue even during intense workout sessions.
- They’re awesome in shielding your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. On top of your sunblock, count on it as an added layer of protection against sunburn.
- To make humid days more bearable, you can cool yourself down by soaking your workout mask in the water.
- In chilly weather, fitness masks can help you keep your neck and face warm.
- By doing your part in slowing the spread of COVID-19, chances are your favorite sporting and fitness events will get back on track sooner.
What kind of mask is best for exercising?
For extremely thrifty people, the cheapest option would be to go for surgical masks. They’re proven effective to ward off microbes, but they won’t be able to stand your swear during work out. You’d have to endure that icky wet feeling all throughout.
Therefore, the ultimate standard for choosing a workout mask is a balance between comfort and protection.
Before clicking that buy now button, consider the following factors that can help you find your best fit:
- Design – Generally, there are two types of reusable face masks. Those with valves and those without. You’d notice that our top picks all have valves than assists breathing when you wear them. These small pieces are powerful enough to reduce heat and moisture buildup as you exercise. You’d also love how our recommended products are equipped with patented multi-level resistance technology that makes breathing training scalable for both novices and veterans. They also have built-in slots for cotton filters that are proven effective against microbes and pathogens.
- Material – What good will your fitness mask be if it won’t stand a chance against your intense workouts? We’ve gathered up products that feature non-slip and lightweight fabrics that are easy to wear and clean.
The Best Workout Masks For Going Back to the gym are:
Training Mask 3.0
First on our honor roll is the Training Mask 3.0 designed for increased respiratory power. As a testament to its quality, it’s been a favorite among coaches who incorporate Respiratory Muscle Training (RMT) into their programs. The same community gave way to rigorous studies behind the development of the product’s patented flux valve resistance platform, a breathing device that evenly and smoothly distributes resistance.
- Design is backed up by researches and patented NXT FRC3 technology, enabling this workout mask to control airflow and tension with its six levels of resistance
- When used consistently in training, it has been scientifically proven to stimulate the production of growth hormones by up to 25%. This promotes quicker shedding of excess fat, muscle build-up, and recovery periods
- Lightweight and comfortable for use
- Comes with a 3-year warranty
- Suitable for beginners and seasoned fitness enthusiasts alike
- Its design has been constantly imitated, so watch out for puny knock offs!
- Some customers wished it came in bigger sizes
In the long run, the Training Mask 3.0’s design can do wonders for your endurance, stamina, recovery rate, and workout capacity. The brand guarantees that their product can push you closer to your fitness goal, may it be muscle building, losing weight, or athletic training.
FDBRO Sports Mask
Using three generations of workout mask as its fuel for innovation, the FDBRO Sports Mask brings together performance, comfort, and even style. Its mecha design definitely caught our attention! With just a spin of a dial, you can also match its resistance level to your desired workout and breathing challenge.
- Guaranteed safe both to humans and the environment, made with food-grade silicone gel that passed international certifications
- Comes with a slot for cotton filters which can provide an added layer of protection
- Proven to increase growth hormone levels for faster metabolism and muscle growth
- Adjustable resistance intensity from light to extreme, equipped with a six-level valve system
- Removable yet sturdy elastic straps that are easy to clean
- The product’s design has a bunch of fake imitated variants
- FDBRO cautions that the mask alone has no medical claims for the prevention of viral transmissions, but using it with activated carbon cotton filters can do the trick
FDBRO’s latest upgrade makes its workout mask suitable for varied types of gym-goers. In fact, the brand suggested optimum setups that utilize both its multi-level resistance valves and its cotton filter slot. Using the product without a filter is best for routine training among novice, intermediate, and advanced fitness enthusiasts. For infernal training, workout masters can insert a filter and adjust the resistance level to the max.
Pioneeryao Sport Dust Mask
We know the pandemic might have taken a toll on your budget, so we’ve included the best affordable option among fitness masks. Without breaking the bank, the Pioneeryao Sport Dust Mask is a worthy alternative to inefficient surgical masks. When paired with activated carbon filters, you’ll get to enjoy much-needed protection against air pollutants minus the uncomfortable wetness due to moisture buildup.
- Features a slot for replaceable activated carbon filters which are powerful enough to ward off 95% of pathogens in the air
- Adjustable velcro strap and nose pad for an optimum fit
- Lightweight and comfortable fabric that’s easy to wash
- Built with a two-valve design that facilitates airflow and reduces moisture buildup while training
- Guaranteed windproof and dustproof, awesome companion for outdoor trainers
- Unlike the two previous entries, this mask’s valves are not adjustable in terms of the resistance level
- Only comes in one size that might not fit all customers
If you’re in a rush to get back to gym training, Pioneeryao also got you covered. They’ll ship your order from their New York factory so expect to receive it in just three to eight days.
In light of the new world in which we live in and masks, our new reality, we are curious to hear your thoughts and experiences? Do you think these masks are a passing thing if and when COVID-19 passes or is this going to be legit performance gear as we move on?