Working out in a hot room is beneficial for a variety of reasons. It raises your heart rate, helps you to break a sweat, and loosens up muscles, which reduces warm up time and improves flexibility. Tampa Florida is no stranger to heat when it comes to being outdoors, but with so many people here accustomed to air conditioning, a heated workout can still feel like a strange and unusual experience. Working out in a hot class is an exercise in endurance and perseverance through discomfort, but the relief and elation you feel once you step out of the heat and back into some AC is nothing short of magical.
Hot classes require a bit more preparation than their normal-temperature counter parts. Before you attempt a hot class, make sure you are good to go with these to-dos:
- Stop eating within two hours of the class’s start time
- Bring plenty of water (plan for twice the amount you drink during a normal workout)
- Make sure your clothing is breathable – cotton t-shirts are not your friend here
- Bring along a hand-towel to wipe away sweat with
Hot classes are growing in popularity, here are the 3 Best Hot Fitness Classes in Tampa, FL.
#3 Gaze Hot Yoga – 75 minutes
If you are looking for some honest-to-goodness hot yoga the way it is meant to be practiced, you cannot go wrong with Gaze Hot Yoga. The 75-minute class will take you through 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises meant to stretch and strengthen your body by stimulating glands, nerves, and organs. This is not a flow class but is rather an exercise in holding poses. The idea is to deepen your postures and sweat out toxins. Traditionally, a Bikram practice takes place in a room heated to a whopping 105 degrees, so get ready to sweat. 75 minutes will definitely be a test in endurance, without being totally overwhelming, but there are 60 and 90-minute classes on the schedule as well.
Gaze Yoga is located in the newly trendy Tampa Heights neighborhood. The studio has a sleek, industrial design aesthetic. The grey concrete floors and rope art in the lobby almost give off a chilly vibe, which makes the heat of the practice room all the more surprising when you walk in. The staff is very laid back and inviting – giving off an immediate hippy vibe. This is how Gaze Yoga describes itself on their website: “Gaze Hot Yoga is a place for all human beings to move their bodies in a way that promotes optimal health, greater strength, increased flexibility, and improved mental acuity.” (source).
The people that practice at Gaze seems to be more interested in their internal focus than their external surroundings. People tend to keep to themselves and are quite serious about their individual practices. This class is great for anyone looking for a trendy vibe without too many bells and whistles. This is a studio for people looking for some serious self-care and self-improvement.
#2 The Hot Power Hour at Bella Prana
Walking into Bella Prana Yoga, located right outside of Downtown Tampa on Platt, is almost like walking into a super trendy wellness store. The large lobby space has a lot of retail, including athletic wear, healing books and crystals, and a variety of yoga props. The studio is huge and sees hundreds of students a week, so it can be easy to feel anonymous. However, if you are a repeat practitioner, the staff will quickly learn your name and details of your practice. There are three studio spaces, shower facilities, and an amazing 90+ classes a week! You can even explore private yoga instruction if you are a fan of more one-on-one attention. The Hot Power Hour is a heated flow class that will take you through many, many sun salutations and vinyasas. This is a great class for intermediate yogis looking to improve strength and connected movements. This class is a little more free-feeling and fun than the Bikram class at Gaze, with the class description urging you to “not take yourself too seriously”. If you are looking to try out a heated flow class for the first time, this is a great option since it is only 60 minutes, and the instructors always have anupbeatt attitude. Just be ready for some hands-on adjustments.
The people that practice at Bella Prana range from beginning yogis, so seasoned inversion masters. There are dozens of classes offered everyday, so if the Hot Power Hour isn’t your thing, you can explore Ashtanga, Flow Level 1, or Yoga 101 instead. There are also about three-dozen instructors, each with their own style and sensibility. This studio basically offers a sampler platter of teachers, yoga styles, and levels of heated classes. Maybe try the Hot Power Hour first and explore from there!
#1 Hot Full Body at CAMP
This class is super effing intense. It isn’t yoga, it isn’t pilates, but it lives somewhere in between. This class takes place in the Yoga Building at Camp (described more fully in the Camp Gym Review), and it is described on their website as “50 minutes of total-body, HIIT-based class incorporating powerful plyometric work and deep isometric movements. We use hand-weights, fast paced movements and a heated room to get your heart rate up. This class brings the energy with upbead music an da serious challenge! Get ready to sweat.” Even that feels like an understatement. In this class, you can expect to do something like 45 seconds of jump squats, followed by a 15 second squat hold, and to repeat it 4-5 times. This way, your body is never fully at rest, and your muscles remain engaged. It is incredibly challenging – humbling even. It is the perfect class for anyone looking for a cardiovascular challenge.
The fun thing about this class is that everyone in the room with you is struggling just as much as you are. It isn’t uncommon to hear some nervous laughter, sighs, grunts, and moans of pain as everyone tries to keep up with the super-human instructor. There is comradery in the misery, so you are unlikely to feel alone. The overall vibe at camp is we are here to work our butts off (while wearing Lulu Lemon) but in this class, you will really, really feel it. Not for the faint of heart, but an incredible workout nonetheless.
So grab a towel and some water, muster some internal grit, and face down the heat like a true Floridian!