If your favorite thing about a workout is the sweat, then boy oh boy do I have a new exercise trend for YOU. Hot Pilates (which, yes, is exactly what it sounds like) is bringing the ~heat~ to your otherwise pretty chill mat workout—and taking the term “slow burn” to a whole. new. level.

While you’ll need to be able to take classes at a gym or fitness studio to truly get in on this trend, even if you’re working out from home right now, it doesn’t hurt to hear about cool new fitness concepts, no? And this way, you’ll be prepared for what to expect should you actually decided to give it a try.

Okay, so hot Pilates involves the traditional low-impact endurance movements you know and love but kicks things up a notch by heating the room to between 95 and 98 degrees. “[It’s] a high-intensity, low-impact interval training workout using Pilates principles,” says Kate Davies, RYT, a hot Pilates and yoga instructor and owner of the Brooklyn-based YO BK studios.

For it, all you need is a yoga mat, your body, some focus, and a solid pre-class hydration routine. Intrigued? Keep reading for a complete breakdown of the sizzling new sweat sesh.

What To Expect In A Hot Pilates Class

Though the exact experience varies from location to location, if you show up to a hot Pilates class, you should be ready to perform all of the usual Pilates exercises in a slightly sauna-like setting.

At YO BK, for example, hot Pilates classes were structured as follows: “We start class on the floor with glute bridges and abdominal exercises,” explains Davies. “The second [half] is done standing.” That’s when more intense moves, like squats, come into play.

Of course, water and towel-off breaks are a-plenty—as are available modifications to make your hot Pilates experience as fiery as you want it to be.

The Difference Between Hot Pilates And Hot Yoga

While hot yoga and hot Pilates might sound quite similar, aside from both being heated, they’re super diff. “Hot Pilates is an entirely different set of exercises, focusing on strengthening, toning, and elevating the heart rate,” Davies explains. “Hot yoga, while still a challenging workout, places more emphasis on stretching, holding postures, and the breath.”

Hot yoga classes may also involve meditation and elements, like chanting, so they may ultimately be spiritual experiences as much as physical ones.

The Benefits Of Hot Pilates

The satisfying drippiness of hot Pilates makes it second to none for low-impact sweat enthusiasts. But the joy of being totally drenched isn’t its only perk—you get all the benefits of Pilates plus a few new ones too.

Exercising in a heated environment helps to elevate your heart rate, which is an added stressor for your body which in turn burns more calories trying to regulate your internal temp, says Davies. The extra heat element also further challenges your focus and mental strength.

Plus, if your hot Pilates class also involves some more high-intensity functional movements, like lunges and squats, you’ll also reap the benefits ofexcess post-exercise oxygen consumption (a.k.a. EPOC), Davies says. Basically, when you push your body hard (like in HIIT), your body works extra-hard to recover afterward, burning additional calories in the process.

That said, no scientific studies currently show whether doing Pilates in a heated environment has benefits over practicing at room temp., according to Dr. Elizabeth Barchi, MD, a sports medicine specialist at NYU Langone Sports Health. She notes, “Some studies on hot yoga vs. thermo-neutral yoga have shown similar performance outcomes for both groups.”

The Potential Risks Of Hot Pilates

Heat adds an element of risk to any workout by impacting your body’s ability to cool itself down, and the same goes for hot Pilates. “This can lead to excess sweating, which in turn can cause dehydration and even heat exhaustion (dizziness, headache, nausea, and poor performance),” Dr. Barchi explains. Before taking a hot Pilates class, make sure you’re adequately hydrated (think: pale pee).

Another easy way to limit your risk in a hot Pilates class? Master regular ol’ Pilates first! “Poor physical conditioning and being unacclimatized to exercising in heat are risk factors for heat exhaustion,” cautions Dr. Barchi.

So, Is Hot Pilates Good For Weight Loss?

Though a jam-packed hot workout sked might seem like the secret sauce to weight loss, don’t count on it to yield superhuman results. “It is incorrect to believe that sweating more increases weight loss,” says Dr. Barchi. In fact, “a body sweating excessively seeks to retain more water to restore balance.” Basically, water weight you lose through sweat doesn’t last. Doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the drip (or the full-body benefits of Pilates), though!

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