Pilates is my favorite form of exercise, and I truly believe that it’s one of the best workouts that’s ever been invented (thank you, Joseph Pilates.) I love the movements involved, how I feel, and the results I get. So when I heard that hot Pilates was officially a thing, I was intrigued and excited. I've never embraced the hot yoga trend (sweating in a hot room has always seemed a bit crazy to me), but hot Pilates sounded liked it could be my cup of tea.
When I first entered the room at Hot Pilates on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles (the first Hot Pilates studio in L.A.), it was set to 95 degrees, and I truly thought that I might need to grab my water bottle and bolt. I was trying to be cool (no pun intended), while quietly mulling over the possibility (and genuine concern) that I might not physically make it. The heat felt smothering and I didn’t understand how the human body could exert itself at this temperature and not pass out or feel sick. Clearly, I was apprehensive.
However, I trusted that the temperature had to be optimal and intentional, considering so many people not only successfully complete these classes, but love it and keep coming back. Actresses Paula Patton and Abigail Spencer (the latter being my personal holy grail in terms of fit celeb bods), are regulars at the studio. After dreaming of me and my girl Abigail sipping smoothies after future sessions, I was determined to see my first class through.
Within five minutes, the fear that I might need to bail disappeared. The heat became not only bearable, but an enjoyable benefit. And then I became sold on why hot Pilates is the best winter workout. Here's why:
Reminder: It’s hot, and winter is cold.
During winter, our muscles are tight and stiff. Our blood flow is slower, and it takes longer to warm up the body for a workout than it does during summer. A heated class will help loosen up your muscles and make it easier to get into the flow of the workout. You feel less like a frozen icicle and more like a limber gymnast.
It’s amazing for belly bulge.
It’s so easy to emerge from winter with a layer of stubborn fat on our lower bellies from all the season’s comfort food. We crave and eat starchier, creamier things, from soups and hot chocolate, to grilled cheese and mashed potatoes, and they make us feel all snuggly and warm. The only problem is, those calorie-laden carbs go straight to our belly pooch.
Pilates is one of the best exercises for your lower and overall belly. Every movement is designed around strengthening and flattening your core. In a hot class, the ab work is amped up, and you'll feel like you're walking away with a tighter tummy in an hour.
It’s more approachable than other hot classes.
Yoga inherently involves a lot of downward facing and upside down poses, which, with blood rushing to the head while holding poses, seems like a bit too much for me in the heat. On the other end of the spectrum, there are hot spinning and cardio classes, which feel too extreme without the AC blasting in my direction.
Hot Pilates is the perfect middle-of-the-road hot class if you’re thinking about trying one. The movements are fast enough that you don’t have time to sit and swelter, but fairly paced so a beginner can still crush it.
Have you ever done a hot workout class, and if you haven't, would you try Hot Pilates? Tell me below!