The craziest fitness class ever and is hot yoga worth it?

by Kim on July 25, 2013

I went to the craziest fitness class ever yesterday. It was like Body Pump goes to a wedding, in 100 degree heat.

buff bride

…Let me explain.

The class is called MadPower Training, and it’s held at the hot yoga studio I’ve been going to. But there was nothing yoga about this class. To be fair, the online description was very clear about that…

This is not a yoga class. This class is for men and women of all fitness levels who want to incinerate fat at an incredible rate while building lean, functional and aesthetic muscle. In any given session, you’ll experience a combination of standard resistance training, calisthenics, body-weight training and plyometrics in one integrated high intensity, heart pounding interval training session. The music and occasional flash mob make MadPower Training fast paced and fun.

Occasional flash mob? Tell me you wouldn’t be curious.

Squats, deadlifts, and dumbbell presses were dispersed between insane bursts of jumping jacks, running in place, and squat-jumping from one side of the mat to the other. Then there were the dances—last night, we did the YMCA and Solja Boy (which no one actually knew), but apparently the macarena and chicken dance have showed up in previous classes.

Basically, the instructor put her iPod on shuffle and planned the workout on the spot by reacting to whatever song came on next. She’d turn around and yell, “What should we do next? Triceps? Or are you guys ready for more legs?”

There was also lots of talking throughout the class, and people going off book to break into random dances per the music.

It was nuts. If we weren’t sober and pouring sweat, I’d swear we were at a wedding.

0905_20090926_203544_01Squatting (?) at my actual wedding

I’m guessing this sounds pretty awesome, but to be honest, it wasn’t really my bag. I’m not a spontaneous person by nature, and I like my fitness classes well-organized and pre-planned just like everything else in my life. (Wow, don’t I sound cool and fun?)

I also didn’t feel like I was working that hard because I was constantly a step behind, trying to figure out what we were doing. I know that’s not an unusual feeling for a first-timer, but in this style class—where even the instructor is trying to figure out what we’re doing—I don’t think there’s any way to eventually graduate out of that.

Plus: plyometrics? Yeah, I still can’t really do that stuff (since having a bambino).

Tonight, I’m doing Fit yoga again, which might just be my favorite fitness class OF ALL TIME. Yes, it’s that good. I swear I gained a 4-pack from one class last week (which, erm, kind of softened up through a weekend of camping somehow). I’m planning to do a full write-up of it soon!

Now that I’ve been doing hot yoga for a few weeks (basic 95-degree hot yoga, not insane 105-degree Bikram—you remember how that went), I’ve started to wonder: am I really getting more out of these classes because the room is hotter?

hot yoga(source)

In this ACE study, people’s heart rates and average core temperatures were only a hair higher when doing hot yoga vs. performing the same exact flow at room temp. In fact, because your heart rate should naturally increase anytime you’re in higher temps regardless of what you’re doing, the fact that the study participants’ heart rates went up so little suggested that they might have actually reduced their effort in the hot setting.

What’s even more alarming is that while they were technically working as hard (or possibly even slightly less hard) in the hot setting than the room-temp one, they all indicated much higher rates of perceived exertion (RPE) in hot yoga.

Well, of course: it’s easy to think you’re working your butt off when you can barely see through the sweat pouring into your eyes. And boy, do you feel like a rockstar walking out of that studio with your glistening bod. But is your body really “earning” all that sweat, or is it just reacting to the jacked-up temps?

And if you’re just working harder psychologically but not physically, is it worth it?

I’ve been meaning to do a whole post about sweat, so I’ll address the “sweating your toxins out” controversy (myth or fact??) then.

For now, I’ll say this: I do feel cleansed when I walk out of a hot yoga class, drenched in sweat. I do appreciate the extra focus it takes to get through class, with the added discomfort of heat. And I think challenge is an important confidence-builder. (If you’re not into heat, what about some cold shower therapy?)

There are also the benefits of deeper stretching due to warmed muscles, although: isn’t that the whole point of warming up? Are we just using heated rooms to bypass that annoying first step of any workout?

Anyway…my point is: I do think I’m getting something extra from hot yoga. And I’m even comfortable saying that I like it—as long as it’s not that hot.

Something interesting:

I heard on the Today show this morning that, according to a British study, people’s happiest ages, in general, are 23 and 69. Hmm.

I’d actually say I’m happier now than I was at 23. And 69…I’m still trying to decide if that was a dirty joke…

Some things that make me happy:

This girl’s last name

This baby

Does the ideas of a wedding-like fitness class appeal to you?

Do you think people get more out of hot yoga, physically?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness July 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Whoa… that class sounds… very interesting. I think I’d have to experience to see how I’d feel but I could see how the description could be intriguing. As an instructor myself, I do often wing it through classes but I don’t let my people know! So I can see how that could throw things off… I need to feel like i have some kind of structure too!
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Kristin @ A Mom on the Run July 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Oh goodness, that class would not work for me, I’d be so overwhelmed and confused!

I’ve never tried hot yoga, it just never appealed to me. I get kind of claustrophobic feeling when I get really hot.

I’m 31 and I’m definitely a LOT happier now than I was at 23!
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Melissa @My Peach Life July 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I am not a fan of hot yoga. I totally agree with the thought that you maybe don’t push as hard because it is just sooooo hot. The class you took sounds very, well, odd. I like structured classes where the instructor tell me what is going to come next. I don’t think I would like that class.
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char eats greens July 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I don’t know if I could do the randomness of a fitness class either! I am super jealous of your options though! I live in a smaaaaall town, so my options are limited (as in, like NO hot yoga even!). So I must admit, that if I had these options, I might dabble in all of them haha
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Erika July 25, 2013 at 1:05 pm

No – that class doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy… maybe if you took out the dancing and the unprepared teacher I would like it!

I have never done a hot class but would like to (the closest one is 50 minutes away!).

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Kim July 25, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I’m with you Erika. :) It was an interesting change, but not something I’d really get into.

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Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome July 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm

wow that class sounds awesome! It sounds a little similar to my boot camp as far as plymetrics, intervals with weights and cardio but not too sure how I feel about the impromptu dance routines. I’m not a big zumba fan and that sounds a little close… although I guess YMCA and Solja Boy probably aren’t done in Zumba. Or maybe they are? I’m interested in your sweating your toxins out post. I’ve thought about doing one myself as there are so many conflicting thoughts and theories on that one.
Agree with you, much happier now than at 23 although I definitely thought I was happy at 23!
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Kim July 25, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Funny you should mention Zumba…I forgot to talk about the warm-up, which was 100% Zumba-inspired (full on booty-shaking, hip-popping, and arm-pumping!). I loved the music, and it worked to get me pumped up, but I just didn’t feel like I was working out that hard.

I guess the theory behind happy 23-year-olds is that they overestimate their future success. Although I feel like I’m dreaming of future success now more than ever, so maybe I’m just not living up to my ages correctly. :)

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Karey @ Nutty About Health July 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I have to admit, I actually think that spontaneous wedding-style fitness class sounds awesome!! I really wish we had something like that here. I have a short attention span, so things like that would help keep me interested, plus I really like a crazy sweaty style workout. ;)
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Kim July 25, 2013 at 1:11 pm

I’m glad I tried it, but I have a hard time with unclear expectations, even with something that’s supposed to be for fun. What a nerd, right?? :)

Thanks for stopping by, Karey! Hope you’re doing well! Are you going to the Healthy Living Summit in Sept?

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Kim July 25, 2013 at 11:57 am

I think that class would be a blast! I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it on a regular basis but for something totally different I would love to try it.
I don’t do any of the “hot” classes because as I’ve gotten older, it is harder for me to work out when I’m over-heated. (in my teens and 20s I would have loved them!)
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Kim July 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm

It was fun! Despite being lost half the time. Maybe I should bring dumbbells to the next wedding I go to.

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