“There’s an app for that” is a truth so universally acknowledged in 2016, it need not be stated. When it comes to your workout, there are, in fact, tons of apps for that. But one of the very fanciest, high-brow ones is Athos, which connects your phone to a collection of “smart” garments to show you just what’s going on on the inside of your legs (that doesn’t sound creepy at all). Sometimes, a serious athlete needs to know more than “I feel that in my legs,” after all.
I, however (especially recently), am no serious athlete. But, with the belief that none of us has anything to lose from increased body awareness, I shimmied my way into a pair of Athos leggings.
The pants overall are not too different from any other leggings one might workout in, at least once you have them on. They are a bit hard to pull on, and a bit tougher—and sticky for some reason—to pull off after sweating. It feels like you have to literally peel them off, particularly in the 12 censored areas. That minor annoyance is mitigated, however, by the fact that you get to check out your butt lighting up on your phone, one butt cheek at a time as you squat or whatever.
The biggest difference is that you are wearing the “core” — a little oval-shaped device that actually measures this information. This little device hooks into one side of the leggings, making one side a little bit bulkier than the other. The leggings are $149, which is, in fact, less than some of the trendy offerings currently being served up in the athleisure market (I’m looking at you, Lucas Hugh/everything on Net-a-Sporter). The core, however, is $199. Yes, that is a one-time expense, but it brings the full experience to approximately $350, which is unfortunate for those on a budget.
So, with the pants pulled on, I headed to SoulCycle, only to discover that they are actually useless there since the signal is too weak for the app to even connect. Cutting my losses, I headed to New York Pilates, where the very cool owner and instructor Heather Andersen agreed to show me some moves. In fact, she’s working with Athos to develop a class in which everyone will properly utilize their leggings, like a Smart Leggings 101.
It becomes very clear, very quickly, that this is a necessity. A few days later, looking over the “video,” we recorded in the app, watching my butt light up blue and one thigh in yellow, showing the muscles activated during a particular exercise. What I am supposed to take away from this high-tech information still remains unclear to me, but it was cool to watch my muscles light up like Christmas lights.
While Athos is undoubtedly a technologically amazing tool, the app is not particularly instinctive or intuitive, but perhaps more importantly, it’s not made to be instructional, which is to say that you are responsible for knowing how to interpret the raw data. That is a task that is beyond my physiological knowledge. So, beyond body-building muscle experts, who are Athos leggings for?
It seems to me that with a little commitment and dedication, they could be for any gym rat or person who invests the money to consistently work out with a professional trainer who can help them make the most of the information Athos core collects. I think, for now, I’ll focus on bright patterns and chic styles to motivate my workouts.