If you’re wondering when sweating got so fashionable, so are we. But we can’t deny how great you feel after finishing a hot workout class—not to mention the calories you can burn (up to 800 in an hour-long kickboxing class!). But why the obsession?
“At the end of class, we are drenched in sweat and exhausted but also empowered and accomplished,” said Kyle Mims, General Manager of HOTBOX Fitness, a kickboxing studio in Nashville, TN. “These are all the benefits one needs.”
Not only do you leave feeling like you can take on the world (even if you do have to change into dry clothes first), but your body becomes accustomed to working out in the heat, meaning you’ll be able to perform better over time. Plus, when you’re practicing something like yoga or barre, your stretches deepen as your flexibility increases with repeated practice.
“The heat literally warms up the muscle tissue so it is more pliable and can stretch more than cold muscles within the postures,” said Brooke Asbury, founder of Hot Yoga East Nashville. “This increased flexibility and elongation of the muscles produced during the posture is retained after class to a degree.”
Another positive to hot classes? They help your mental game, too.
“The challenge of the heat builds the mental focus and discipline to overcome panic, discomfort, frustration, etc,” said Asbury. “By the end of class, the student has developed new mental habits to help them in stressful situations outside of the classroom.”
To do it right though, make sure to drink plenty of water beforehand. Most instructors will also tell you to take it easy if you’re new to a class or are acclimating, meaning you might need to pause activity or leave the room to find better airflow.
“There's a learning curve, so be patient and try to have fun with it,” Asbury said.
Asbury also says not to expect to get every posture all the way on your first day. If you’re intimidated or need added support, bring a friend! For many, the classes are also about the relationships.
“Hotbox is more about community and having a good time in and outside the gym,” Mims said. “The cardio and bodyweight workouts you get in class are amazing, but if you're not having fun doing it and don't enjoy that hour of your day, then the harder it becomes to stay consistent.”
Because these workouts are considered high intensity classes, ask your doctor before attending if you have any health concerns, then let's sweat!
Hot cycling: Indoor cycling, but with heat! We suggest choosing a teacher with a good workout playlist (because when you’re sweating that much and need some extra oomph, that makes a difference).
Hot yoga: While classes vary, the studio is typically heated to about 105 degrees and 40% humidity. A more traditional yoga class goes through the 26 postures during a 90-minute period.
Hot kickboxing: Kickboxing includes parts of boxing, martial arts, and aerobic activities, and heated classes (around 80-82 degrees) can burn up to 800 calories.
Hot barre: Most barre classes are a combination of movements from ballet, yoga, and Pilates.
Hot boot camp: Think of power yoga, meets strength training and high-intensity cardio. Each class changes so look up the details at your local studio.