KYMIRA Sport has released infrared clothing to enhance cycling performance, the latest addition to its “human powered sportswear”.
Having spent years in sales and marketing, I confess to initially being cynical about some claims made on behalf of new technology. I will always remember asking a salesman at a trade show how his new wonder product works – and getting the answer “just fine”, which was all he was prepared (or able?) to tell me.
So when I read KYMIRA’s press release claiming the wearer of their clothing could harness and recycle body energy while training or competing, getting an increase in tissue oxygen levels by up to 20%, my usual doubting-Thomas attitude kicked in.
It was then that I noticed some of the accolades for the company, including
- 2017 SXSW Best Bootstrap Company winners
- Lloyds Bank Enterprise Award 2014: Best Start-Up (London & South East).
- Shell Live WIRE Award, SY Global Entrepreneur Awards: Most innovative start-up
- SY Global Entrepreneur Awards: Best tech start-up
- Best Tech Start-Up in the Thames Valley
- Connecting Thames Valley Tech
OK, so the company has impressed people. Are they just PowerPoint heroes? Or is there something to Infrared Clothing?
And then you notice that their infrared clothing is used on all continents, by Olympic gold medallists and members of the country’s special forces, as well as record-setting explorers, competitive amateurs, and committed sports and fitness enthusiasts. Wow!
I apologise. These guys are serious and their products really are quite something!
When I looked at the label in the inspection samples we received, I saw they were made of 32% Polyester and 18% Spandex (so far, nothing unusual), along with 50% Celliant Polyester. “Just another form of polyester”, what is so special? The answer is a lot!
This product has a material embedded into the molten polyester before it is extruded, which turns it in to “Infrared Clothing”.
What is and why would you want infrared clothing?
KYMIRA was founded in 2013 following five years of academic research and development. Ten published independent clinical trials (to date) have led to the products being given medical device status.
Having got over my cynicism, I took the opportunity to ask Tim Brownstone, founder and CEO of KYMIRA in Reading, what is the importance.
“For example, tissue oxygen levels are increased by up to 20% and circulation is significantly increased in all of the exposed areas, deep into the muscle bed (4cm). Background research into the same wavelengths of infrared as the KYMIRA Sport products have also shown accelerated rates of cellular growth, repair and replication (Toyakowa et al. for example). We have not yet been able to sample a large enough sample population under clinical conditions to give a truly representative value across both elite and amateur athletes and all sports with regards to the % improvement in performance or recovery, although there is an ongoing study at St Mary’s University in London, investigating the effects of KYMIRA Sport products on exercise induced muscle damage and rates of recovery. Additionally, an international rugby team that use the infrared clothing products saw a 25% reduction in perceived pain scores and a 33% reduction in stiffness when using KYMIRA Sport kit as a recovery protocol.
“From the data we have, the accelerated rate of recovery is consistent across both elite and amateur athletes. Performance, however, differs quite a lot with amateur athletes making far more considerable percentage gains than elite athletes. This is likely due to the fact that elite athletes are already closer to their best when our products are introduced than an amateur athlete, and thus the additional effort to improve by ‘x’% is exponentially greater in an elite athlete, but potentially more impactful given their career!”
I had also noticed the recommendation to wear KYMIRA clothing for at least one hour after exercise. I know that there are times when I get home from a ride that my base layer and jersey soon make me aware that they are damp from sweating, once I stop riding. As a result, I wasn’t sure about sitting around for an hour and asked Tim about this as well.
“In terms of your question about wearing for an hour afterwards, we say an hour because we appreciate that people may not want to wear our kit all day. However, the longer you wear it, the more benefits you will receive. Ideally, you would have a clean pair of leggings, for example, to change into but because the fabrics dry 35% quicker on average, it is rare that our products will be damp after a ride unless it has been raining heavily. In a cyclist’s case, the suggestion of using a pair of leggings to recover in is also because it is far easier to wear them under trousers for example, than a pair of bib-shorts. You needn’t worry about getting too hot either because the increased circulation and dry rates will help to regulate temperature throughout the day allowing you to crack on with your life.
“The active recovery process when using our kit is maximised when wearing during exercise and for recovery. Just using KYMIRA Sport kit during exercise will significantly reduce DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness – as well as the direct performance enhancing effects at the time of wearing. Wearing it after exercise as a recovery tool will further reduce DOMS and accelerate your body’s recovery so that you are in the best shape for the next session.”
Cynicism demolished! Phenomenal kit!
If I ever had any days of fast cycling, they are long gone, and I now ride the occasional sportive and audax as well as touring, so I don’t think I am in the Infrared Clothing target sector, but I can fully understand the professional and the serious amateur being prepared to invest in KYMIRA products, which have been around for other sporting disciplines but are only now being added for cycling with extensive range of infrared clothing: ankle and compression socks, base layer tops and bottoms, cycle wear and gloves. Check out their website for product details, colours and pricing.