If you’ve always believed that a good sweat is the sign of a good workout, think again. A new fitness concept in New York City’s Flatiron district, aptly named Brrrn, is championing the benefits of exercising in a chilled climate.
Brrrn is a very timely addition to the wellness scene given the recent popularity of cryotherapy, a treatment in which people submerge their entire body in a deep-freeze chamber for several minutes in a bid to lose weight, increase athletic recovery, reduce pain, and slow aging (and enjoy a plethora of other benefits).
Exposure to cold temperatures can increase brown fat; known by scientists as “the good kind of fat”, it takes white fat and burns it as fuel. The more brown fat you have, the warmer and leaner you’ll be.
Though we are all born with a layer of brown fat to keep us snug as infants, it usually disappears by the time we reach adulthood thanks to central heating and warm winter clothing. Modern life is designed to keep us comfortable, but comfort is not the way our ancestors evolved. Neither is it particularly healthy for us, Brrrn co-founder Johnny Adamic explained in a statement.
“Cold has been the backdrop of the human experience for millennia. But we’ve engineered cold out of our lives,” Adamic says. “Now we live in these climate-controlled environments of 72°F [22.2°C] from the time we wake up until we go to bed, but routine exposure to cooler temperatures is actually good for us. We are reuniting the cold back with exercise—where it belongs.”
Brrrn channeled all this “cold hard” science into a three-part workout program: “1st°” (a yoga-based mobility and strength class with a temperature of 60°F (15.5°C)), “2nd°” (core and cardio using slide boards, with a temperature of 55°F (12.8°C)) and “3rd°” (HIT with battle ropes, set at a chilly 45°F (7.2°C)).
At the studio you’ll also find a group infrared sauna that fits eight people, because the Brrrn founders believe “heat needs to be served as dessert, not the main course.” It’s a smart addition, especially when New York winter comes around and the thought of working out in a refrigerated room is entirely unappealing. A 15-minute session in the IR sauna, said to have myriad health benefits of their own, is the perfect way to thaw out and feel good.