Sep 14, 2023 - Things to Do

Fitness studio HOTWORX offers tough workouts heated to over 100 degrees. Here’s what to know before you go.

HOTWORX is a 24-hour infrared fitness studio with five locations across Charlotte.

Why it matters: HOTWORX aims to provide a challenging workout in less time than a typical gym workout. It’s achieved by exercising in an infrared sauna cranked up to around 120-130 degrees.

As a fan of heated exercise, I was curious about the HOTWORX method. So, I took the hot pilates class at the recently-opened HOTWORX in Highland Creek.

Want to give the HOTWORX method a try? Here are my key takeaways.

It’s relatively affordable.

If you’ve dabbled in Charlotte’s fitness scene, you know you can expect to pay well over $100 a month for most studios.

  • HOTWORX offers unlimited use memberships for $59 a month at one location. Or, $79 a month for access to all (there are over 500 locations nationwide).
Your membership also comes with access to the functional exercise area (essentially an open gym). Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

It’s always open.

HOTWORX is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

  • This would be particularly helpful for college students or someone whose job makes it difficult to workout during regular business hours.

The HOTWORX method claims a range of health benefits.

For example, it’s claimed you’ll burn 250-400 calories in one 30-minute isometric workout and another 350-600 calories in the hour afterward, due to the heated environment.

  • Essentially, you’ll burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
  • HOTWORX also claims the infrared light in the saunas can help accelerate workout recovery.
  • I didn’t go full scientific method and duplicate my workout in an air-conditioned environment, so I can’t say much for how this may differ in terms of metrics, like calories burned.

There are a variety of classes.

HOTWORX offers about every workout you can think of, but heated. Every workout falls under two categories: Isometric (meaning you hold the position for a certain amount of time) or HIIT (high-intensity interval training).

  • Isometric workouts are 30 minutes and include options like hot pilates, hot yoga and hot core.
  • HIIT workouts are 15 minutes (think cycling and rowing).

They’re (sort-of) instructor-less.

All classes are virtually instructed on a screen in front of you.

  • Classes are limited to three people, given the size of the saunas.

You should expect to sweat — a lot.

Don’t underestimate this. Trust me, you’ll want to factor in time to shower.

There are three instructors — one demonstrates a standard pace, and the two others present a modified and an advanced version of the workout. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

And to be exhausted.

I know this sounds par for the course of a hard workout. But just like being out in the sun will zap you of your energy, so will sitting in a 123-degree sauna for 30 minutes.

There’s little to no humidity, though, so no frizzy hair, at least. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

If you don’t want to workout, you can go just for the sauna.

Having essentially 24-hour access to a sauna is a huge perk, in my opinion.

Each sauna has a panel where you can adjust the temperature. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Don’t be afraid to take breaks.

Heated exercise is no joke. And it gets hot, fast.

  • Drink a lot of water beforehand. And make sure to bring a full bottle in the studio with you.
  • I stepped out a few times just to cool off (even my phone overheated a few times).

The bottom line: HOTWORX is an option for those who are fans of heated exercise or curious about the benefits of infrared light.

  • I’d go again, especially to try more of the classes.
  • Though there are some trade offs — like no in-person instruction — HOTWORX is an efficient choice for short, heated workouts at a lower cost than a boutique studio.
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