Thinking Inside the Box: Hotworx

I don’t shy away from a sweaty workout. In a former life, I operated a Hot yoga studio for several years and still managed to get away with washing my hair only once a week. When I first heard whispers of a hot yoga in Hattiesburg, that was taught by someone other than yours truly, I saw it as a challenge. And then I met the virtual instructors of the HOTWORX infrared spa at Planet Beach, located right next to my pals at UpDown Trampoline Park.

Aside from an assortment of spa treatments (see the helpful guide on the far right for my favorites) that include Hydra Derma Fusion, infrared light therapy and even two kinds of massage chairs, one of the most unique aspects of Planet Beach is the series of infrared HOTWORX pods in which I spent the better half of the month sweating out all my bad decisions.

A traditional sauna uses heat to warm the air, which in turn, warms the body. Infrared saunas, with temperatures ranging from 120 - 149 degrees F, heat your body without warming the surrounding air.  Also unlike traditional saunas, there’s not a lot of lounging happening during a HOTWORX session.

In the small box, designed to tightly house three students at a time, digital instructors guide you through a range of classes: Pilates, glute targeting workouts, a murder attempt disguised as Hot Warrior (which, in all fairness, instructor Josie did warn would be “hard.”  I read later that Hot Warrior is actually designed for athletes to complement a training regiment and promote injury recovery).

So why would you work out in an infrared sauna? Aside from eliciting vigorous sweating, increased heart rate and calorie burn, similar to what you’d experience in a lengthy hardcore workout, infrared therapy is believed to help with chronic pain, inflammation, low energy and poor circulation. Additionally, I noticed a huge improvement in my complexion, which could also be linked to my increased water consumption – a must for those participating in these 30-minute sweat sessions.

Most of the classes on the HOTWORX schedule utilize isometric exercises, or static positions that engage specific muscles, rather than going through a dynamic range of motion.  Aside from being great due to their low-impact nature, isometric exercises bring a host of other benefits including lowering blood pressure and even offering relief from depression. For those who have a need for speed, HOTWORX also offers shorter infrared cycling and rowing circuits. Best of all, you can experience your first class for free. Visit their website to schedule a tour of the spa and sign up for your class  by calling 601.436.0072.

A guide to making the most of your planet beach membership

For only $59/month for unlimited spa access, here’s a sample of spa day for maximizing calorie burn and relaxation.

Hot Pilates

Begin your day with my favorite HOTWORX program. Thirty minutes provides an intense yet low-impact core workout focused on the principles of Pilates. For a less intense start to your day, try the Hot Yoga instead.

Hot Row

Scorch those last few (aka, 100 or so) calories in a quick 12-minute rowing session, also conducted in the infrared sauna. The HIIT circuit works legs, glutes, arms and upper back while getting your heart rate elevated.

Hydra Derma Fusion

Treat yourself to a soothing 20-minute session in what I have affectionately dubbed the ‘sauna pod.’ Infrared heat and steam penetrate deeply while gentle vibration provides a meditative experience.  Opt for the Aloe additive for extra soft skin.

Dreamwave Massage Chair

After drinking approximately a gallon of water following your infrared adventures, finish the day with a visit to the Dreamwave Massage Chair. After a body scan to match your individual needs, the 1,200-square inches of Shiatsu massage, coupled with the optional light therapy facial, wraps up a truly immersive spa experience.