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Calorie Count Blog

Can What You Wear Under There Make You Fit?

By +Elisa Zied on Apr 08, 2010 11:00 AM in Dieting & You

Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN

Let’s face it—deep down, we all know we’re most likely to get and stay fit when we’re active and eat a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet. But what if we could burn calories, shape and tone our thighs and butts, and enjoy slimmer silhouettes simply by slipping into nylon/lycra underwear? ShaToBu™-The Workout You Wear - is one of the latest products that hopes to get a share of the estimated $68.7 billion Americans are expected to spend on weight loss products and services in 2010 according to Marketdata Enterprises.

Frustrated by clients who weren’t getting enough exercise, board-certified chiropractor Denise Perron tried to figure out how to help clients do exercise without knowing it. “When I noticed more and more women wearing shapers, I decided to create a shaper that could help muscles contract while walking around” says Perron.  And so ShaToBu™ -The Workout You Wear - was born. According to the ShaToBu™ press materials, typical shapers weaken muscles over time since compression keeps muscles from moving freely; on the other hand, ShaToBu™ uses seamless resistance bands to make muscles work harder (and therefore help you burn more calories) during natural movement, like walking.

But is there actual proof that ShaToBu™ shapes you up? To test its effectiveness, ShaToBu™ was studied at Mayfair Tech. Inc. (in Canada) and at the University of Virginia. According to Perron, unpublished studies at Mayfair Tech. Inc. showed that ShaToBu™ provided a 3 to 6% reduction in size compared with regular underwear. Other studies (also unpublished) at Mayfair Tech Inc. showed the shaper provided 30% more resistance and caused more muscle contraction and more toning than traditional shapers.

In a later study at the University of Virginia, researchers tested ShaToBu™ on women who walked on treadmills at different speeds and inclines. Those who wore ShaToBu™ burned up to 12% more calories than those who did not.

Perron recommends wearing the undergarment every day, as long as possible, to get the most benefit; she estimates doing so can help you burn up to 30,000 more calories and lose about 8.8 pounds after a year.

Only you can decide whether you want to give ShaToBu™ a test drive. At the very least, it’ll likely enhance your shape, much like Spanx®. At most, only well-conducted controlled clinical trials published in peer-reviewed journals can show if ShaToBu™ will turn into Spanx® with benefits and provide a calorie-burning, get-fit edge. Perron admits that although ShaToBu™ shouldn’t replace regular exercise, it’s a great tool that can help women achieve and maintain a healthier body weight and better fitness level.

I don’t know about you, but for me, being strapped into a tight-fitting undergarment would only bring back less than pleasant memories of my overweight teen years during which I practically lived in control top pantyhose (I even wore them under shorts and tennis skirts thinking no one would even notice and that they’d make my less than svelte legs look slim and trim). I’ve since lost and kept off more than 30 pounds and use Spanx® or pantyhose only when I wear a form-fitting dress made of a thin, fine fabric like silk or satin. For now, I plan to stick to eating healthfully and being physically active—running around with my kids, walking, and weight training—to stay fit and trim and leave my underwear out of it!

Your thoughts...

Will you ShaToBu?

Editor's note: ShaToBu will be available at major retailers throughout the United States and online. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $50.00 for the Waist To Knee Style and $60.00 for the High Waist To Knee Style.

Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips, Feed Your Family Right!, and So What Can I Eat?!. She is also a national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.  For more information, go to, and Follow Elisa on Twitter and Elisa on Facebook.


Sounds like a pretty good "supplement" to diet and exercise.  Especially for those of us who have trouble trimming the midsection.

I think I'll stick with old fashioned exercise.

I agree with alphawordsmith - as long as it's only used as a SUPPLEMENT.  There is no replacement for exercise.

Yeah it can't replace a healthy diet and regular exercise but as an additional measure, why not? Price tag seems reasonable.



I'd be happy to wear control top panty hose again!  Does anyone here remember the old Playtex girdles?  Never again for that one.  Whatever you squash into a girdle or whatever, pops out at the opposite end.



Sounds like a lot of unpublished proof to me. Unpublished=non-peer reviewed=****. If the product is legit, SOMEone SOMEwhere would have done a proper study on it that would have made it into a legitimate scientific journal.

You have to wear this while you work out? Can you say EWWWW sweaty grossness??????

Wanna buy a bridge?

I think it is actually a good product. I happen to like tight-fitting undergarment. It not only helps me feel less Floppy, but for some reason whenever I have them on, I have less trouble committing to my diet. It's like a physical reminder that I must keep up my resolutions, maybe it sounds crazy but it happens like that. They also help me to walk straighter and of course smooth out my body under the clothes. I bet this one looks pretty good under dress pants and jeans.
As for the whole burning calories thing, sure it may help but I doubt it would be significant enough to call this a workout, but hey if I'm already using something like this, I might as well switch to the one that brainwashes me into believing it will actually help me burn calories. It's a mind over mater thing :D

We all can agree it's not going to be any miracle product (or even very effective on it's own), but if you're already in the market for shapewear, seems like a good choice.

I agree with lizzielm. I have the shape ups and even if they don't actually work I feel healthier walking in them and this helps me make better choices about what I eat and how active I am. Everyone I know, including my thin friends, have a pair of spanx.  So if you're wearing them anyway might as well wear the ones that burn calories.

How ridiculous!  As PT Barnum said, "there is a sucker born every minute!"

I am all for looking my best especially when going out but I really could not see myself putting a shaper on every day. One of my other thoughts is how hard is this thing to get on and off? What about using the restroom with that under the bust one?? I tried a spanx on in a store one time and I struggled to get it on and off so decided not to purchase one. Did you ever notice in their ads the people wearing them wouldn't need one in the first place? Why don't they have pictures of real women with them on?

This is such an obvious infomercial/ad. Never ever trust studies that are "unpublished". That means they are afraid to show their "studies" to others in the field and have their "findings" subject to review by them. If you cannot prove your claims by rigorous testing/review methodology, you should not be able to advertise them as science/medicine.

They insult your intelligence by counting on you to overlook the "unpublished" part and just fall for the "studies show" part.



Might as well throw a Shake Weight in while you're at it.

OMG people are so lazy!

It is wise to be apprehensive about these kind of products. Weight loss has to be natural & should reflect overall betterment of health. A product that works just on specific area of the body can never replace exercise & diet.

Assuming that that everything written about the product is true, at best it can be an add on to all other healthy lifestyles.

Here is an article on Health Supplements which puts things in the right perspective.

Ha!  Even though it probably doesn't work - if the "resistance bands" help the shapewear keep its shape, it would be worth the price.  After having a C-section (because the baby was toooo big to go any other way), my lower midsection is shot (not to mention that my muscles, having been cut through for the C-section, are shoddy at best.)  Might be worth a shot a wearing these with a dress so that I don't STILL look pregnant! lol!

Are you kidding me?  Isn't part of this process about being healthy, not just thin?  So, does this magical shaper improve my lung capacity, strengthen my heart, and anti-oxidize my body?  Sounds like another "quick fix" and we all know how well those work!

As the Director of Marketing for ShaToBu, I am thrilled to see the level of excitement and discussion stimulated by this blog post. This is a brand new product and the independent Scientific Studies are being presented and submitted for publication as we speak, including at the national ACSM meeting (American College of Sports Medicine). For more on our scientific studies, please visit our Proven Technology page at Have any questions?  We would be happy to answer them!

Well, I have to come down on the side of the doubters.  If you look at all the exercise aids that are out there now-- from Bowflex to WII Fit (which allows Americans to get exercise without leaving their beloved TVs) -- you have to ask, "Why should this stuff work?"

I mean how many extra calories will a person burn by wearing ShaToBu while watching television?

Will ShaBoTu look good hanging on that exercise machine that is collecting dust in the corner?

Living better thru chemistry is the only realistic answer for this generation.  Scientists are working mightily on an anti-fat pill that will jimmy your body's normal processes so that you don't gain weight regardless of how much you eat.

I thought someone pranked Calorie Count... I mean, really.

Yes! I'm with you ,pantyhose were a great invention!

A ShaToBu wouldn't help me.  My weight is all in the center of me and all the panty is going to do is push more excess fat and skin up around the waist!  So what's the point of wearing the panty?  Sounds like this design is only for the pencil-thin people.

My other thought is, if I were able to pull on a pair of Spanx, I'd never be able to move around after they were on and would probably have a heart attack just trying to get them on. 

It's all about money; every corporation wants in on the action.

So if the concept is legit... it basically creates more resistance while you walk and move around: low-key muscle toning. It's basically the same concept as those fancy Nikes and the Sketchers shoes, too. It's not designed to be a miracle cure. If any one actually read the article, they'd get that point instead of giving exasperated cries of incredulity on how it will never work. It's basically supposed to make your body work slightly harder to do the exact same thing as before. Subtly. Like a ninja workout.

From the pictures on their website, they definitely look different from any pair of Spanx I've seen. Then again, I'm not often in the market for Spanx because they don't seem to favor tall AND fat, haha. (No panyhose manufacturers do, really. Imagine that!) However, I agree with some of the other folks on here: If you're already wearing shapers, why not give these a chance and just see how it works? If you're not wearing them, but have always been curious, it couldn't hurt. After all, while they are a little spendier than normal shaping pantyhose, you really only see middle class consumers for this type of product. It's not out of the price range entirely.

I dont know...I always proud myself on the fact that I dont need something like that to wear tight fitting clothing, but lately I started noticing that I had gain some weight, and the worst part is that some people have noticed too, my husband has always liked me just the way I am, but he said that I have gained some...but you cant really tell because im somewhat tall...but about 3 weeks ago ive started excersising and counting calories (thanks you CalorieCount) and Ive lost 2 pounds, which i think its not that bad. So maybe once I realize that there is not hope for me and the only way that i will loose weight is getting myself in one of those body shape things then I will give it a try.


Original Post by: thymine

I think I'll stick with old fashioned exercise.

yeah but add this product it it help you burn more, because nylons make you sweat more when you workout. It's also, helping your body tighten up in those areas. For example, lets refer back to the past 1200 years, G-I-R-D-L-E! It is basically the same as girdles,to tighten the body or give that "perfect silhoutte" look as it is helping you burn extra calories. So, I would highly recammend this product. It is like an upgraded version of girdles.

With warmer weather approaching, bike riding or running outside sounds a lot more appealing than wearing an extra layer of clothing to displace fat and *possibly* burn a few more calories. Tongue out

Original Post by: sallyann56

I am all for looking my best especially when going out but I really could not see myself putting a shaper on every day. One of my other thoughts is how hard is this thing to get on and off? What about using the restroom with that under the bust one?? I tried a spanx on in a store one time and I struggled to get it on and off so decided not to purchase one. Did you ever notice in their ads the people wearing them wouldn't need one in the first place? Why don't they have pictures of real women with them on?

Actually, if you look at the ShaToBu site, they DO have a comparison photo of a "larger" woman with it on, and without it on.  It's true that it doesn't actually "make you thinner" (as so many of the shaper ads claim).  I have a Hanes shaper and it just smoothes everything out.  I don't actually think it makes me LOOK thinner.

But in answer to so many on here that have questioned its efficacy, the company's primary ad copy is:
"Independent scientific studies from the University of Virginia show that women who wear ShaToBu during daily activities burn UP TO 12% MORE calories during daily activities like walking or climbing stairs."

I think the KEY here is, "like walking or climbing stairs".  You're ALREADY exercising if you're walking or climbing stairs!  If the product works like they say it does, it will just increase the muscle toning that's already achieved by walking or climbing stairs.  And UP TO 12% MORE...can't be all bad!  I say....If you can afford a shaper to begin with, why not give it a TRY?

I've gotten to a point in my life where I have lost my weight, and 3 years into it, need to keep it off. As anyone knows who has studied it, the more you weigh the more calories you burn just walking around. The bad news is after you've lost your weight, you are no longer burning those calories at that level, so you have to do something to keep the pounds off. A commitment to eating right and exercising is key, but having extra help is a welcome thing too. I wear ankle weights ( I think they are 5lbs) during the course of my regular day as I trot around hidden under my jeans. I'm willing to try this new product as it does make sense to me.

I think you burn all the caleries with all the work it takes just to put it on and take it off...

Something like this  - is what you make of it... if it helps you keep the right mind set to eat better and move more then more power to it.

This article reads like an ad.

Original Post by: sallyann56

I am all for looking my best especially when going out but I really could not see myself putting a shaper on every day. One of my other thoughts is how hard is this thing to get on and off? What about using the restroom with that under the bust one?? I tried a spanx on in a store one time and I struggled to get it on and off so decided not to purchase one. Did you ever notice in their ads the people wearing them wouldn't need one in the first place? Why don't they have pictures of real women with them on?

I feel that way about so many examples of advertising.

Skin advertising that shows people with already flawless skin oh but they have one pimple or one wrinkle to clear up.

Advertising aimed at (heterosexual) women with semi-naked salaciously posed girls.  Makes me feel really insecure and I often avoid it (they lose my money).  If it looks good on her it will not look good on me.

Adverts regarding weight/fat control where they show a perfectly slender model.

Teeth whitening on models with perfect and white teeth.

Even sex-toys aimed at heterosexual women show pornographic images of women on the advertising and packaging!

It is crazy.  There is no realism in marketing.

There is a Danish clothing brand called Zizzi who do in fact use larger sized models for their clothing.  I particularly like it that in the denim section of their magazine they show women with big thighs and big hips wearing all the different types of jeans and it really helps to decide which to buy.

There are plenty of companies out there wanting to take money from women and from obese people but they fail to make their advertising and marketing appropriate.

I think that products like these and those clever shoes by Nike and Sketchers are a fine idea if you have the money spare to spend on it.

Not going to change much unless you take the other actions necessary (real exercise and nutrition) but every little effort can help.  Even carrying those water bottles about can help a little.

Cumulative effect :)

I would try them for free but definitely not spending money on doubtful/small results.

I guess what I took away from this ariticle is not that these are to be used INSTEAD of exercising but rather this:  If you are someone that uses a shaper on a regular basis and those are proven to weaken your muscles by making them lazy, then wear these instead and get some added benefit as opposed to working against your good eating habits and exercise program.

Secondly, this practitioner developed these after seeing countless women do NO exercise at all and yet wear shapers so she figured something was better than nothing and it was a step in their daily routine with which they were already compliant.  She just added benefit to that daily step of wearing a shaper (or at least countered the harmful effects of the shapers.)

Just my opinion.  :)

Do they carry any for men?

Comment Removed

I'm really disappointed that you said that universities studied it, but then you did not tell us the results of those scientific studies by independent sources!! Can you fix that, please?

Thank you,


The independent studies were conducted at the University of Virginia and the findings were presented at the national meeting of the Ameican College of Sports Medicine and at the National Obesity Conference.  It would be too long to post all of the results here (you can check the ShaToBu website for more details) but here is a quick summary: 

  • TONING: ShaToBu tones the muscles of the hips and thighs due to the resistance bands within the garment, which provide 90% to 116% more resistance in movement, which causes an increase in muscle activity in the targeted areas causing toning
  • BURNING: ShaToBu burns 3% to 16% (with an average of up to 12%) more calories when worn during daily living activities, due to the resistance bands making muscles work harder therefore increasing caloric burn.
  • SHAPING: ShaToBu instantly gives women a sleeker silhouette; shaping hips, thighs, tummy and derriere by a reduction of 3 – 6%

Thank you. Any details on the Canadian study?

The Canadian shaping studies showed a reduction in size of up to 6% and the toning study conducted on mannequins with inclinometers showed at every level of hip flexion to 45 degrees, a resistance of up to 30%, equivalent to about 3 to 5 pounds of resistance.  Surface EMG studies conducted on human subjects were also conducted showing an increase in muscle activity, however, we cannot share the data because we are planning on presenting these findings an upcoming scientific conference.  I hope that assures you of the validity of our science and the diligence that we have taken to provide you with a product that delivers on its promises.  Reminder - this will not replace your workout, but give you an edge on your fitness goals!

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