The anti-hot yoga workout class is finally here. And if you, like me, feel like you’re in literal Hades in a 95 degree room where you bend yourself into elaborate poses, than rejoice, because I found your new favorite workout—and it takes place in a 45 degree room. The first dedicated cool temperature fitness concept, aptly named Brrrn, has arrived in the Flatiron district in New York.
The cool studio, which opened in the beginning of May, has a variety of classes, which differ in the type of workout and temperature. The three-tiered program involves: 1st°, a yoga-inspired mobility and strength class at 60 degrees, then 2nd°, the heart-pumping cardio class at 55 degrees, and for those wanting to cool down even more, there is 3rd°, the HIT and rope-using class at 45 degrees.
If you’re thinking to yourself, cool (literally), but what’s the point? When you exercise in cooler temperatures, your body works smarter, not harder, for a few reasons. You burn more calories in cold weather than hot or ambient temperatures, because when exposed to cooler temperatures (64 degrees or lower) the body turns to burning fat as fuel to stay warm—as opposed to hotter temperatures, where you’re sweating not for calorie burning, but to cool the body down.
And long term, there are additional benefits, too. "When it comes to exercise, it's the abundance of heat that is the problem, not the absence of it,” say Brrrn co-founders Jimmy T. Martin and Johnny Adamic. “Research suggests that exposure to temperatures between 40-64 degrees (known as mild-cold stress) helps to burn fat, more calories, acclimate to the cold, and in our opinion, improve the fitness experience."
I personally prefer cooler temperatures than hotter, so when I heard about this, I needed no convincing, I was already sold. But hours before the 2nd° cardio class, I began to slightly panic about the blizzard I was about to face. But when you first enter the rustic, lodge-inspired space, it simply feels pleasantly brisk, not frigid like I feared. Wear a light long-sleeve shirt and leggings, and you’ll likely start lightly sweating within 10 minutes of the cardio workout.
For the cardio, half of the hour-long workout was on a slide board (helps with balance, mobility, sculpts legs, strengthens inner thighs, improves core strength), and the other half involved interval weight training. The two-part class, which a lot of studios smartly do nowadays (like Rumble), keeps you from getting bored—both mentally and physically.
In the end, I felt pleasantly worked-out (it was difficult, but not beyond the limits of someone who works out less than frequently), just a touch sore, and slightly sweaty, but not dripping. The cold actually wasn’t even frustrating; it was refreshing in the middle of a cardio workout, like the air equivalent of cold drink of water on a hot day.
“Cold has been the backdrop of the human experience for millennia,” said Adamic in a press release. “But we’ve engineered cold out of our lives. Now we live in these climate-controlled environments of 72 degrees from the time we wake up until we go to bed, but routine exposure to cooler temperatures is actually good for us. We are reuniting the cold back with exercise—where it belongs.”
After that chill workout, you can head to their eight-person infrared sauna (the city's first, as they usually they fit one to two people max). Infrared has a strong list of benefits, from improved blood circulation to pain relief to a euphoric feeling. And of course, a warm, cozy room for a 45 degree workout can be pretty refreshing. Infrared lighting is even incorporated into Brrn's workout studio, as the lights are meant to incorporate healing benefits while you exercise.
Brrrn’s 3,000-square-foot studio is at 107 West 20th St., and classes are priced at $34 each.
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