New Trend: Freeze your Way to Fitness!

Forget Cross Fit, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), and VBarre.  The new workout craze freezes your way to fitness, and the boutique studio in New York City that founded the concept is appropriately called Brrrn.

Makes a Raynaud’s sufferer shiver just to think about entering a 45 degree gym that feels like a refrigerator!  Many of the members dress for the gym like a Frostie dresses for the office in summer air conditioning – lots and lots of layers.  But during the workout when the body warms up and they begin to build up a sweat, the winter garb is removed.  Jimmy T. Martin, co-owner of the gym, is quoted as saying, “…within the first couple of minutes, it feels like backstage at a strip club. They’re just taking all their stuff off.”

Brrrn’s mission is “to make cold more palpable to the average American.”  The owners claim that cold gets a bad rap, including boosting alertness and performance, heart health, better sleep.  And – a big benefit here – cold burns more calories.

We’ve read research that contradicts the alertness and performance claims.  An article in the New York Times titled “Enduring Summer’s Deep Freeze” claims “mistakes increase and productivity decreases as the temperature descends to uncomfortable levels.”

However, the claim of cold helping to burn more calories may be true.  We’ve written in the past about the news on good fat (brown) vs. bad fat (white), and how the good fat helps regulate body temperature by generating heat that burns calories.  When people are cold, we stimulate good fat to help keep us warm.  It’s one of our theories that because Raynaud’s sufferers are often cold, it could be helping to keep Frosties trim (still to be confirmed, sorry!).  Information on Brrrn lends more support for this theory.

We do agree with the gym owners that as the body heats up during exercise, outside heat often makes exercising uncomfortable.  They point out it’s why marathons are held in the spring and late fall.  However, trying to work out when you’re freezing cold also makes it difficult to warm up the body which can make a person more susceptible to injuries, so don’t know if we’re buying all of their supporting arguments.

Got to give the founders credit, it’s a novel idea that does stand out in today’s crowded workout menu of options.  We are seeing more and more ideas follow this colder path, including cryotherapy, ice baths, and “fat freezing” centers, but owners of these icy health and wellness concepts shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for Frosties to sign up for these services.   Raynaud’s sufferers are more likely to opt for Hot Yoga!

Here’s the full article in Fast Company titled “At world’s first cold temperature gym, you still feel the burn.”