Wearing two swimsuits while training is a tool competitive swimmers have used for years. (The extra resistance, or “drag,” helps the athlete develop more power.)

Now, Shelagh Stoneham, the former head of marketing for Chico’s, has taken that same theory and created weighted vests for working out in the gym. Called the Power Weighted Workout Vest, it’s intended to amplify any exercise or conditioning routine.

“For as long as I can remember, sports and fitness have been part of my life,” she said. “I have taught Pilates, sailing and scuba diving and enjoy yoga and tennis when I have time. Recently, I discovered that a weighted vest can significantly accelerate calorie burn and build muscle tone without changing my exercise routine. But I also discovered that most weighted vests are ugly, bulky and ill-fitting: they’re purchased by many and abandoned by most because they are one size fits no one.”

So she designed and created a vest from Neoprene, a breathable fabric, with anti-odor technology, and a more streamlined design. The vest comes with 12 4 ½-pound zinc-coated, cast-iron weights that can be added or subtracted, depending upon the workout. They’re available in unisex sizes XS to 3XL.

“You can wear it to walk your dog or to train for a marathon,” Stoneham said.

The vests are available on PowerWearHouse.com and retail for $149. The site also offers several complementary weighted products including a hula hoop for $29; wrist or ankle weights, $49 for a pair, and “snudio” gripper socks with nonslip soles for $12. The vests are also available at select Sport Chek stores in Canada as well as online through the National Osteoporosis Foundation. It has also been recommended for training by the U.S. National Tactical Officers Association.

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