08/31/2012 07:53 EDT | Updated 12/13/2012 02:16 EST

The Workout Diaries: Fad #1, Hot Yoga


Working out: my mortal enemy. I've never been one for strenuous activities. Like fashion-obsessed women before me, I like to consider shopping my personal cardio and lifting those bags and boxes my weight training.

Ever since high school, I've hated fitness regimes. Running the 5k to pass gym was torture. I would usually team up with the girl who had asthma just for an excuse to walk at a leisurely pace. Joining a sports team was a given since all my friends did too but my time was spent on the bench happily cheering them on.

Unfortunately, I've begun to notice tiny changes in my body. Suddenly my stomach isn't as flat as I remember and those super cute shorts from last summer seemed to have shrunk. But let's be honest, this isn't about size. This is about being able to climb a flight of stairs without ending up winded.

I've been putting off working out for so long that I've completely missed out on all the fads in fitness. Instead of accompanying me for evenings at movies or dinners, my gal pals inform me that they have two-hour yoga classes. I completely missed the workout bandwagon and have been left behind.

So, in lieu of wailing and whining, I've decided to not only catch up with the trendy sweaty regimens but to try them all out one by one and decide what works for me (lazy and the opposite of loyal). I'm sick of celebrity trainers and actors who are paid to be slim telling me what magical workouts they invent or take part in and the wonders they work. If this is going to be my new life, I'm going to find out for myself exactly what's out there and what it really feels like. Every week or so (I'm not the bionic woman) I'm going to be taking part in all the new and crazy workout fads popping up around the city.

Join me, won't you?

First up on my fitness calendar was hot yoga. Regular yoga was out of the question since the prospect of searing heat makes my heart flutter. (No seriously...tropical temperatures are a dream). Setting out to find a yoga studio that offers the sweaty class was easy and I settled on Hot Yoga Toronto in the Annex. You have the option of taking either a verbally taught or silently lead class. Personally, I opted for the class with was going to be hard enough to follow.

What You'll Need: a yoga mat, a towel, flimsy breathable clothes, hair ties, much water.

For those of you who haven't been to a hot yoga class, they're not joking about it being hot. I registered the hottest temp of the class at 112 degrees and while it does make it somewhat easier to morph your body into poses like downward dog and tree it can get overwhelming. To my delight, I wasn't the only person who had to take a break and lie down in corpse pose; instructors advise not going in and out of the hot room to the cold hallway repeatedly.

Here's a short snippet of my inner thoughts:

6 p.m. - Wow, this room is gloriously warm. I wish my house felt like this.

6:02 - Starting off with meditation, I could get used to this. *Zzzzzz* Oops.

6:10 - Loud breathing and stretching feels amazing. I'm already loving this. Look out Gwyneth, I'm coming for you!

6:20 - Why am I sweating exponentially more than everyone in this room? Okay except that guy....he's got the Nile running around his mat. Ew.

6:25 - Is it getting hotter? Those steam machines can't be helping.

6:30 - I don't mind these poses but do we have to stay in them for so long? I feel like everyone can see me trembling.

6:40 - Are these beads of sweat or tears?

6:45 - I bet the third circle of Hell is cooler than this room.

6:50 - Dear Yoga Girl at the front of the class, I hate you. With everyone so zen would anyone notice if I nudged her out of that balancing pose? Show off.

7 p.m. - Corpse pose! Suck it Yoga Girl. I rock this.

End Result: I feel so good! I've sweat so much that the skin all over my body is breathing. My limbs feel a little achy and my hair is matted to my face but a lukewarm shower (please, no more heat) will make it better.

Effort: The class hasn't left me gasping for breath, instead I feel positively re-energized, yet super calm. I was worried that I would strain myself with poses that are too advanced for a noob like me but luckily everything has an adjustment to make it easier while still testing myself.

Return Trip?: Definitely. I like that there's no expectation of having to be the best. Yoga talent in this class ranged from Yoga Girl and her perfect poses, to an older gentleman who spent the majority of the class lying down. Plus it combines the workout with the steam room that usually follows. From what I've seen in the movies, anyway.

Read other entries in the series

Workout Diaries