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Picture this... we’re about a year into a global pandemic, it’s dark by 5 p.m. before you even get off work, and it’s a crisp 40-50 degrees outside at night (a bit chilly for an outdoor spin ride). Not only have you watched every show and movie on Netflix, Hulu, and possibly even Disney Plus—you’ve scrolled through every virtual workout class in your general range of fitness. Put simply, you’re bored and craving something that makes you feel alive—that pre-COVID connection and sweat. Something out-of-the-box that feels like the summer of 2016 when you wore real clothes, and the world was your oyster.
Okay, now that I’ve set the scene—this was exactly where I was at, mentally, when I downloaded Mindbody Flex. A part of me wanted to download it as motivation to exercise more, but I also wanted to experience working out virtually with real people and instructors, from all over the US.
So, I’m scrolling through my class options for the day, and I think to myself, “let’s see what’s going on in Miami.” I mean, why not? Miami is the healthiest and happiest city in the US, I was curious. I was immediately blown away by my options. I was expecting yoga, barre, meditation, and sculpt classes, but Tai Chi, sound meditation, self-defense, life coaching, kickboxing—all in one place? All for the same price of one pre-paid pass? I had never seen so many diverse and unique classes in one place. I wanted to take a week's vacation just to try as many as I could. The world, and my choices, felt big for the first time in months.
After a few moments passed and I was able to process all that was in front of me—I had this epiphany moment. I was going to make it my goal to try the most out-of-the-box, fun, and interesting classes. After almost a year of being in my comfort zone, I desperately craved the feeling of switching it up and learning something new. I made this my mission and got to work signing up for classes.
Since the app lets you see workout classes and their times weeks in advance, I was able to plan my classes out for two weeks. I decided on a Barre class with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, a twerk-aholics class, beginner’s Tai Chi, a sound meditation, and kickboxing to name a few. Even though I wasn’t leaving my house for these workouts, I felt like I was going places. It made me so happy to get that same excited and partially nervous feeling of trying something new, with other people who would also be doing the same thing.
Like a cliché rom-com, the hero of this story fell back in love with her past-love turned enemy. Just like you’d expect. But it reminded me why I loved going to group classes so much in the first place. With livestream real-time workouts I instantly had that feeling of being coached when you go to a new class and step on your mat, bike, or on that machine, you’ve never been on before—whatever that feeling looks like to you. I looked around and saw real people just like me that were about to take that same journey. While I didn’t get to see those people face-to-face, they were there with me. We took those classes together.
I also loved getting to try such a wide variety of classes without signing up for five different memberships or studios. It was a great way to see what clicks for me. I mean, the chances of me getting to fly to Dallas for a single workout with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders? Ambitious, but unlikely. I could start my day and pick a workout that fit my mood. Raining and gloomy? Let’s do a cleansing sound meditation. A case of the Mondays? Time to release some steam with a kickboxing class. The possibilities are endless and personalized to me.
Ab-so-lute-ly, yes. Even if you’re not silently resenting your current virtual workouts and colder weather outdoor classes, I would suggest you try this out. I say this because I believe we could all benefit from that feeling of traveling, getting out of the house, trying something new, and connecting with other people who have the same interests as us. It’s comforting to be reminded that we’re all in this together and the world is still much bigger than the places we’re hunkering down. Workouts can still be riveting, and we can still try new things that get us a bit more out of our comfort zones with each new virtual experience!
I know I’m not the only one who feels like they have fallen into a virtual fitness rut as of late. This is precisely why it’s the perfect time for you to expand your horizons when it comes to your at-home workout routine.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.