Saunas: Fab or Fluke?

Stepped out of the box a little for b-fast this morning..

bfast quinoa2

breakfast quinoa!

It’s been forever since I’ve had it for breakfast, but it’s an awesome am option- so good heated up with almond milk, topped with berries and almond butter.

bfast quinoa

After yesterday’s adventures, we chilled at the house, and when Liv went to bed, I went upstairs for a little core workout using the stability ball. 15 minutes and I got in a lovely burn.

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I was debating going to workout at work, but figured if I ended up there, I’d just sit in the Inhalation room for a while and then leave- it’s been calling my name lately. I’ve been craving a super heated room since it’s been a little colder –I say “colder” but it jumped down from almost 90 to the 60s- and think it has something to do with the fact that I miss Bikram and Power Yoga like crazy. I love the heat SO much –the hotter, the better- but taking a class right now isn’t realistic since it’s really like a 2 1/2 hour ordeal (90 min class + driving time).

Since I was thinking about the awesome Inhalation Room (with eucalyptus to soothe breathing passages)- I might have to hit it up for a few minutes after work this week- I also got to thinking about saunas. At LA Fitness, I used to see people roasting in the saunas all the time and loved how relaxing it looked. Of course, the bacteria factor comes to mind… undressed bodies sweating away… would the heat zap the germs?

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So why are saunas and steam rooms in many gyms in the first place?

Saunas are extremely hot and dry (125-200* F), while steam rooms are at a slightly cooler temperature (max 120* F) but feel just as warm from added humidity. They’ve been used for centuries by various cultures and gained gym popularity from the calorie-burning and weight loss potential. You sit and burn extra calories.. sounds pretty good, right?

Is it true?

Weight loss occurs from profuse sweating, which is all water weight. You rehydrate and will gain in back.

Since your heart has to to work harder and the body uses its energy resources to cool down, you will burn calories, but according to various sources, only up to 300 for a 30 minute session. The thing is, you’re just burning calories- you’re not promoting muscle growth or fitness gains from your efforts. Actual exercise has a totally different affect on the body, since it gives you the ability to burn fat and tone muscle. More muscle leads to higher calorie-burning potential in the long run, and sitting in a sauna doesn’t promote strong, lean muscles.

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Why do it, then?

If you enjoy being roasty toasty like yours truly without sitting in the sun, I say there’s no harm in it if you monitor how long you’re in there and hydrate appropriately. I also believe that sweating helps the body eliminate toxins, so a good sweat sesh every now and again is a good thing. Of course, the best way to achieve fitness and weight loss gains is through old-fashioned healthy eats and moderate exercise.

As far as the germ thing goes, I have no idea if the high heat in the saunas zaps the germs –steam rooms are a little easier to clean since they’re lined with tile, so I’d imagine they’d be less germ-y. Word to the wise: wear shower shoes, sit on a towel and shower after using the sauna or steam room. [Edited: deleted “wear a swimsuit” because instead of protecting against infections it does the opposite! Yikers]

Do you use a sauna or steam room every now and again? Fan of hot yoga, or notsomuch?

The first time I took a Bikram class, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy it. And just like Jenna warned me, I started to crave it.

Hope you have a great day!

See ya later with a family post <3

xoxo

Gina

Head’s up: New workout will be up tomorrow 😉

Something to do: Check out your Amazing April list and see what goals you have left to tackle- we’re halfway through the month!

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75 Comments

  1. sandy on April 17, 2012 at 12:08 am

    been getting the best of both worlds for the past 30 days…tonight just completed my bikram 30-day challenge!!! i highly recommend!!:)

  2. Janiek @ A non-perfect girl on April 17, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I definetly prefer steam rooms over saunas but really like neither one much. I always get so bored in there!

  3. Chelsa on April 17, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I’m not a huge fan of saunas because it feels so dirty to me… kind of like Bikram. At any Bikram class I ever took I always thought about how badly it smelled in the room and how many people had their sweaty feet all over the floor…eww! Now if I had my own personal sauna in my home, that would be a different story. I’d probably go in before showering a few times a week.

  4. Katie on April 17, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I love the effect Bikram Yoga had on my body after each practice, but I didn’t like the cost per month, the demanding instructors, overpacked rooms (the last time I went, the person next to me blew their sweat on my arm – not on purpose but still – and I left early) 🙂 , and the controversy Bikram has been under. He doesn’t seem genuine to me (as in a genuine, humble, person). But his yoga was the most relaxed I’ve ever felt!!!

  5. SweatyGirl on April 17, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I sweat enough during a regular workout, I certainly don’t need to encourage even more sweating!
    I tried a sauna once or twice, but found it so hard (and painful) to breathe, I didn’t last more than a minute!

  6. Ashley @ Sweat for Sweets on April 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I’m so curious about this Trader Joe’s business! I’ve heard SO much about it from U.S. bloggers, but have never experienced its glory! Unfortunately, in Canada we don’t have any TJ locations! But, what we do have, is an amazing chain called Loblaws, which carries THE BEST house brand ever – President’s Choice. They are always coming out with amazing, innovative products & at great price points. Their organic produce is also cheaper than non-organic products from international brands – phenom!

    Also, thanks for sharing the bench workout! I spose it could also be done on a regular bench @ the gym as well! How did you take those self-exercise pictures, Gina? Self timer or did someone take them for you? I just started my blog & would love to take demo shots, but don’t know how to best approach it! Thanks 

  7. Priya on April 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I just came across your blog, and I’m getting excited about all your tips, and that you’re in Tucson too!
    I just started doing Bikram…the feeling after is just amazing! But will I continue it forever? Probably not, it takes up a lot of time, it’s pricey and there are so many other fitness classes I like. Btw love your little doggie 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      thank you! so cool you’re in tucson!!
      xoxo

  8. Julie on April 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I would never use them because things like Legionnaires disease thive in that environment, as well as bugs that cannot be killed at the low temps and can survive for (relatively) long periods of time outside the human body, like Hepatitis. Microparasites that are resistant to anything other than extreme chemicals, steam/pressure (the reason you autoclave stainless steel instruments in a hospital) can thrive in them as well. It just isn’t a good idea, even the most diligent cleaning can’t suffice in getting rid of everything. Hospitals dedicate teams to environmental control and aseptic sterile (as possible) conditions and MRSA/Clostridium Difficile are still prevalent. I am too scared to go near a sauna/steam room!

  9. Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner on April 18, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Your breakfast looks FABULOUS!!!! <3 <3 <3

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