I did somersaults with the Under Armour Sportsmask on to see if I could get it to fall off, but it was the treadmill that did me in
Under Armour's Sportsmask was designed for athletes. So as a certified couch potato, I bought two. I decided to put the Sportsmask to the test and make an increasingly rare trip to the gym to run, jump, pushup, and somersault with it on. I found that while the Sportsmask was overall remarkably breathable, comfortable, and cool, it still quickly restricted my breathing during cardio-intensive exercise. While I usually can run 1-1.5 miles in 10-15 minutes with no mask on, I was unable to breathe after 0.4 miles and 6 minutes of running with the Sportsmask on. I can't speak for more seasoned athletes, many of whom already work out with a mask on. However, I'll likely be using the Sportsmask for everyday wear rather than working out. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Under Armour's Sportsmask sold out in less than an hour after it launched. Targeted at pro and amateur athletes, Under Armour's new Sportsmask is supposed to be ideal for sports and heavy-duty workouts. As a certified couch potato, I, of course, bought two. The CDC recommends you look for several features in a face mask, including a snug fit, secure ear loops or ties, and multiple fabric layers. A good face mask should allow for breathing without restriction and have the ability to be laundered and machine dried without being damaged. The World Health Organization also generally recommends against wearing masks while exercising, instead encouraging people to maintain their distance. With many local mask mandates in the US, that simply isn't possible. Other experts say that you can work out in a mask — you just have to lower the intensity of your workouts. And when you do cardio workouts with a mask on, you can expect your heart rate to be elevated by eight to ten beats per minute. Enter the Sportsmask. See the Center for Disease Control's guidance on wearing cloth face coverings. The CDC recommends some people do not wear masks, including children under the age of 2 or anyone who has respiratory issues. Like most masks widely available to the public, the Sportsmask isn't a medical grade mask.SEE ALSO: Dwyane Wade and Budweiser teamed up to launch a nonalcoholic beer with 50 calories as the market for alcohol-free 'booze' explodes DON'T MISS: I compared Budweiser's new nonalcoholic beer with its original beer, and I'm baffled by why someone would drink nonalcoholic Budweiser Behold, the Supreme fanny pack of facemasks. For $30, the package was surprisingly light.
Each mask comes with a pouch and a set of instructions.
Open pouch. Put on mask. Pinch nose. Got it. Take off mask. Wash mask, wash bag, wash hands, put wet mask into wet bag? It's not exactly clear.
The mask itself was far less substantial than I expected.
The top wire is on the thin side, and the interior branding and tags feel like they could become irritating after repeated use.
The first thing I noticed is that the mask isn't built for people like me (Asian). It took a lot of finagling to get a decent fit on my annoyingly cute nose. Once I did, however, the mask was incredibly comfortable.
Previously, I wore Caraa masks, and I'd get winded just by walking and talking. Those things are insanely restrictive.
Outside in direct sunlight and 90+ degree weather, the thick black mask stayed surprisingly cool and breathable. However, I could feel the moisture from my breath building up inside the mask.
At the gym, I decided to put the Sportsmask through a series of largely impromptu stress tests.
Stretching, unsurprisingly, was easy and comfortable. My breath didn't feel restricted at all. With my heart rate relatively low, the breathability of the mask allowed me to focus on my technique.
Next did bodyweight exercises. While doing pushups, I expected the mask to hang down, but it stayed pretty firmly on my face. Breathing: OK.
After that, I did ab workouts. The mask became slightly more restrictive as I was laying down. I could still breathe easily.
Then, I did some somersaults and fall breaks, as well as some Krav Maga drills. The mask stayed firmly on.
Finally, it was time to test this baby against an elevated heart rate.
I can usually run around a mile to a mile and a half without a mask on. This takes 10-15 minutes, and I don't take breaks.
I set the treadmill to an interval program with a 15-minute timer. I also decided to go at what would normally be a comfortable pace and alternate between a 4 mph resting speed and 5.5 mph challenge speed.
This was my attempt at taking a selfie while running on the treadmill. Don't try this at home, kids.
Get ready for a bunch of selfies of sweaty, sad Irene. I started to feel a little out of breath a minute and a half in, but pushed forward.
At around three and a half minutes in, I was extremely sweaty, out of breath, and lightheaded. I had to take a break.
Already, I could feel sweat pouring down my face and dripping down the sides of my mouth. After a short rest, I restarted the treadmill and went for another two minutes at a 5 mph pace.
Face soaked and lungs choked, I stopped after running for a total of roughly six minutes — a far cry from my usual 10-15.
Was it because I'm out of shape or was it the mask? I'm gonna go ahead and say that it was at least partially the mask. I felt out of breath but not tired, meaning that at a certain point, the mask did restrict my breathing.
In conclusion . . . No mask is ever going to be as breathable as, well, no mask. But below a certain level of exertion, the Sportsmask comes pretty darn close. I'd wear it to do a less cardio-intensive workout like yoga or weight training, but I wouldn't wear it on a run. That said, there are plenty of people with more powerful lungs than me, who already run, bike, hike, and more with masks less breathable than the Sportsmask. For those people, this mask is a clear step up in terms of comfort over a classic surgical mask or cloth mask. For me, I definitely plan to use the Sportsmask to go on walks, go to the grocery store, and maybe even chase a stranger's puppy around the park. But I'm not taking it back to the gym.