As someone who has fainted not once but twice after hot yoga (I’m not so great at hydrating and crave AC come summer), I was excited to hear there was a new fitness studio in New York City that teaches its classes in a 45-degree room. The idea seemed refreshing, but still, I wondered if working out in cooler temps had any added advantage.
Brrrn, which opened earlier this summer, operates on the idea that exercising in cooler temperatures can actually increase the efficacy of your workout — and as it turns out, there’s some serious science to back it up. The body burns more calories at cooler temperatures because it is exerting more energy. Plus, studies show that when you’re hanging out in temperatures below 64-degrees, your body may begin to burn fat as fuel to stay warm. Add to that the boost in your metabolism and you’ll wind up getting a whole lot more bang for your boutique fitness buck.
Considering the Brrrn team advised me to BYO gloves and hat to the workout, I was a little nervous about what I was getting myself into. But because it was the middle of a brutal heat wave in NYC with temperatures reaching the 90s, I was also excited to escape the smoldering streets. However, all of my winter wear was in storage, so I decided to brave the cold in a pair of leggings and the long-sleeve lycra top that I rely on for outdoor runs once the temperatures drop.
Brrrn offers three different classes that focus on cardio and core work: a “1st Degree” Yoga-inspired mobility and strength class at 60-degrees; a “2nd Degree” Core and Cardio Slideboard series at 55-degrees; and a “3rd Degree” Battle Rope-Infused HIT Series at 45-degrees. I opted for the “2nd Degree” class, mostly because the description online sounded the least intimidating of the three… and 55 degrees didn’t sound that cold.
Walking into the room was like walking into a commercial refrigerator — in the best possible way. It wasn’t unpleasantly cold, but more like the same sort of chill that you’d experience on a crisp fall day. Aside from the temperature, it was unlike any workout studio I’ve ever seen before. There were rows of plastic slide boards that reminded me of old-school toboggans and in lieu of dumbbells were sandbags of varying weight.
Throughout the 45-minute class, we used the slide boards and the sandbags to perform a variety of different moves that targeted the entire body. We would do a series of strength training with the sandbags, then switch it up and do some cardio on the board, which basically involved sliding back and forth using different speeds and movements. At first, I was terrified I was going to fall (and started to have some pretty brutal flashbacks to my attempts at ice skating in elementary school), but once I got the hang of it, it was really fun.
When the 45 minutes were over, I didn’t want class to end. I enjoyed the workout so much that I hardly realized I was exercising — especially considering I wasn’t sweating or feeling faint. In fact, it wasn’t until the soreness set in the next morning that I realized just how intense the workout actually was. My entire body had been put through the wringer without me even noticing, and IMHO that’s the marker of a class worth going back to. My only regret is that I didn’t hang out in the infrared sauna afterwards, which means I officially have an excuse to head back to Brrrn, (thermo)STAT.