Fitness studio HOTWORX offers tough workouts heated to over 100 degrees. Here’s what to know before you go.

Fitness studio HOTWORX offers tough workouts heated to over 100 degrees. Here’s what to know before you go.

HOTWORX in Highland Creek. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

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HOTWORX is a 24-hour infrared fitness studio with five locations across Charlotte.

Why it matters: HOTWORX aims to provide a challenging workout in less time than a typical gym workout. It’s achieved by exercising in an infrared sauna cranked up to around 120-130 degrees.

As a fan of heated exercise, I was curious about the HOTWORX method. So, I took the hot pilates class at the recently-opened HOTWORX in Highland Creek.

Want to give the HOTWORX method a try? Here are my key takeaways.

It’s relatively affordable.

If you’ve dabbled in Charlotte’s fitness scene, you know you can expect to pay well over $100 a month for most studios.

  • HOTWORX offers unlimited use memberships for $59 a month at one location. Or, $79 a month for access to all (there are over 500 locations nationwide).

Your membership also comes with access to the functional exercise area (essentially an open gym). Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

It’s always open.

HOTWORX is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

  • This would be particularly helpful for college students or someone whose job makes it difficult to workout during regular business hours.

The HOTWORX method claims a range of health benefits.

For example, it’s claimed you’ll burn 250-400 calories in one 30-minute isometric workout and another 350-600 calories in the hour afterward, due to the heated environment.

  • Essentially, you’ll burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
  • HOTWORX also claims the infrared light in the saunas can help accelerate workout recovery.
  • I didn’t go full scientific method and duplicate my workout in an air-conditioned environment, so I can’t say much for how this may differ in terms of metrics, like calories burned.

      There are a variety of classes.

      HOTWORX offers about every workout you can think of, but heated. Every workout falls under two categories: Isometric (meaning you hold the position for a certain amount of time) or HIIT (high-intensity interval training).

      • Isometric workouts are 30 minutes and include options like hot pilates, hot yoga and hot core.
      • HIIT workouts are 15 minutes (think cycling and rowing).

      They’re (sort-of) instructor-less.

      All classes are virtually instructed on a screen in front of you.

      • Classes are limited to three people, given the size of the saunas.

      There are three instructors — one demonstrates a standard pace, and the two others present a modified and an advanced version of the workout. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

      You should expect to sweat — a lot.

      Don’t underestimate this. Trust me, you’ll want to factor in time to shower.

      There’s little to no humidity, though, so no frizzy hair, at least. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

      And to be exhausted.

      I know this sounds par for the course of a hard workout. But just like being out in the sun will zap you of your energy, so will sitting in a 123-degree sauna for 30 minutes.

      Each sauna has a panel where you can adjust the temperature. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

      If you don’t want to workout, you can go just for the sauna.

      Having essentially 24-hour access to a sauna is a huge perk, in my opinion.

      Don’t be afraid to take breaks.

      Heated exercise is no joke. And it gets hot, fast.

      • Drink a lot of water beforehand. And make sure to bring a full bottle in the studio with you.
      • I stepped out a few times just to cool off (even my phone overheated a few times).

      The bottom line: HOTWORX is an option for those who are fans of heated exercise or curious about the benefits of infrared light.

      • I’d go again, especially to try more of the classes.
      • Though there are some trade offs — like no in-person instruction — HOTWORX is an efficient choice for short, heated workouts at a lower cost than a boutique studio.
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