Friday, November 15, 2019
Fitness

Can NYC’s newest cold-climate workout craze really freeze off fat?

11views


I went running in the snow once. Sounds absurd I know. I was living in Whistler, Canada, and it was around minus three degrees – frosty and a bit foggy. It was three PM-ish, I’d just finished work and rather than catch the last lift up the hill for a quick ski, I thought a 20-minute run might give me a much-needed mood boost. Now, as I am typing this from the sunny suburban streets of Sydney, I can’t believe I passed up a ski (fellow snow-lovers will agree), but at the time it was far less palava pulling on my workout gear.

Aside from slipping and sliding down my driveaway, it was a pretty envirograting and thrilling exercise experience running around the lake’s snow-free walking track – my heart forcefully pumping blood through my body and my lungs almost exploding with cold air. Sure, I nearly froze off my fingers, but I came back pumped. Like, throw your hands in the air and jump-up-and-down pumped.

Well, a new workout trend is aiming to package all of the above and deliver it to the people in a 45-minute class. So, is it just another quirky fitness trend or the, er, coolest new fat burn around?

So what is it?

Giving hot workouts the cold shoulder (so many puns, sorry), a chilly workout class has just opened in NYC, a place where all new fitness trends are born, of course (think SoulCycle and Rumble Boxing). The cold-workout studio, Brrrn, opened in May and its founders, Jimmy Martin and Johnny Adamic, reckon their three years of researching and planning – they trialled their genius concept in a mate’s brewery fridge before testing it with their instructors in the actual snow – might just kickstart a global fitness trend.

Their “cool temperature fitness experience” involves three 45-minute workouts in temps ranging from a brisk seven degrees to a balmy 15.5. First Degree is a HIT session combining a circuit of battle ropes and weights for strength and conditioning. Second Degree is a low to mid-impact class using their nifty signature slide board, which looks like you’re ice skating really, and focuses on core strength. Lastly, the Third Degree is a mix of the first two and promises you a banging full-body body workout. In the more intense classes, participants might show-up in a sweatshirt but strip down by the end, Adamic told the New York Post. Now, in due journalistic diligence, I trawled the internet to see if there were any other workouts like this around the world. Nothing as yet folks. (It seems, especially in cooler countries, you just need to step outside.)

With so many hot-room workouts, you kinda wonder why it’s taken so long for something like this to surface. Ben Lucas, owner and director of Flow Athletic in Sydney, says it was only a matter of time. “I personally love to see new workouts, because why not?,” he tells me. “There is more than one way to exercise so you may as well find something that interests you and motivates you to show up. The cold method is an interesting one because over the past few years, gurus like Vim Hoff, who is famous for his cold hikes with no shoes on, ice baths etc have started gaining popularity. Cryotherapy is trending, and so are cold showers, so it makes sense that a cold workout was bound to happen.”

So, is it really better for your body to shiver through a sweat session? And could it be the secret to burning fat superfast?

Your body on ice

Here’s the thing: studies have proved that being in a cold climate does have benefits as your body transforms the everyday white fat – the stuff around your stomach and thighs – into the kilojoule-burning brown fat. A 2014 University of Kentucky study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found your body could signal slightly more kilojoule burn in winter as it insulates itself.

But this really only works if you’re stationary, says Mark Watsford, Associate Professor of the Sport & Exercise Discipline Group at the University of Technology. Yes, like standing still doing nothing. “Unfortunately when exercise is added this increases metabolic activity and creates a warmer internal environment,” he says. “This then reduces the reliance on involuntary muscle activity (shivering) and also lowers the use of brown fat as an energy source as we use carbohydrates as fuel instead. It seems that cold exposure does have benefits for energy expenditure as long as you don’t become active.” Sounds like you’d be better off standing in a beer fridge at BWS.

Surely cold weather makes your heart work harder? Increases cardiovascular endurance? “Exercising in the cold reduces the need to cool the body,” says Watsford. “This enhanced temperature regulation (called thermoregulation) could mean you can exercise at a higher intensity, or for a longer duration, and perhaps with a lower level of perceived exertion thus enhancing your energy expenditure and/or aerobic fitness.” Bingo, it could help increase performance levels.

The one thing I remember from my run in Canada was that I was supremely energised. My endorphin flow was epic – I was buzzier than I’d normally feel after a quick loop around my streets. Now, I wonder how the boffins in white coats measure that? Another plus, says Lucas, is the mental toughness it creates. “The mental stamina that it takes to be in a cold room for 45 minutes would be a benefit,” he says. “However, if it’s very hot outside, going between the two extremes may have downsides. Also being stuck in a 45-minute cold room when you live in Australia is not ideal.” What about the body? Any risks? There are no dangerous risks for tissues, says Watsford, until you get to 0 degrees.

Will we see cold workouts down here?

No word as yet whether we’ll see cold workouts down here, but as we’re a sucker for fitness trends watch this space. However, both Watsford and Lucas agree that it’s more of a fitness gimmick. A word of advice from Watsford, too, on the absolute best way to freeze fat: just get moving. “Being aware of what foods you eat and in what quantity especially reducing sugar and overall energy intake, and remaining physically active for as much of the day as possible,” he adds. So, would cool workouts be something Lucas would consider for his Paddington gym? “Unless someone really really loves the cold, I couldn’t imagine getting enough clients to cover the air con bill,” hsays. Best you stick to spending your cash on ski trips instead.

Felicity Harley is whitman’s editor-at-large. After two decades working in – and running – Australia’s leading women’s publications, she now juggles desk life with cleaning-up-after-three-kids life. In her, er, spare time the health and wellness fan drinks coffee, exercises (to stay sane) and cheers the Sydney Swans.



Source link

Leave a Response