Recently I found myself in a dilemma that I face every time I move. I hate signing up for new gyms because they all have startup fees that are quite expensive. So instead of biting the bullet and just signing back up at my old gym I did the unthinkable, I stopped going to the gym for a few months out of laziness.
It was time to get my butt back in gear and I decided to check out other gyms in my area instead of my gym that I usually go to. This coincided with a couple of different things. First, I wanted to start doing yoga to calm the fuck down and get flexible again. Back in the day I was able to do some serious kicks and have since seen my flexibility go to shit. It was important to me to find a gym that offered yoga classes as part of the package.
I decided to check out the local LA Fitness. While taking a tour with a salesman, I was very impressed. They have all the equipment I need covered, with multiple squat racks and free weights galore. They have a very nice room where they hold classes. There is a yoga class every day so I can go every day if I wanted. There’s also a pretty nice pool in case I ever want to go swimming. What really caught my eye though was the fact that they have a sauna available to members as well.
This really got me excited because I’ve been wanting to get into the sauna game for a while now. I read an article about how using a sauna after working out has incredible benefits for you. Some benefits as described in the article are increased muscle mass from the release of growth hormone, increased endurance through the release of EPO, and better brain function. Saunas are also awesome because they give you a great sweat. This makes your skin look great and releases toxins from your body.
How to use the Sauna
My routine at the gym is to do yoga for an hour class, hit the weights for my workout, go in the Sauna for around 20 minutes, then immediately take a cold shower. This routine completely destroys stress in my life. I’m at the gym and I don’t have to worry about anything else for that time period, it’s great! However, saunas are powerful. You don’t want to mess around when you have extreme heat, so please take heed.
You absolutely need to be hydrated if you are considering using a sauna. The heat gets up to around 180 degrees fahrenheit. You will sit down and be extremely hot almost immediately. During the process you will sweat a lot and lose a lot of water that way. If at any time you start to get light headed or sleepy please exit the sauna and drink some water and cool off.
The first time I did the sauna, I just sat there and waited for 25 minutes to pass. It started to get excruciating to just sit there until some random dudes showed up and started talking about Kim Kardashian. The next time I was prepared. I brought a book that I like to read from time to time. That book is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. It’s a good book you can pick up and just start reading. The point here is that it’s easier to pass the time for me at least by taking my mind off the fact that I’m sitting in 180 degree heat.
Once around 15 minutes start to pass you will start to want to get the hell out of there. I like to fight past this and keep going. I usually end up doing around 20 minutes. I could most likely go longer than that with no trouble, but the mind is screaming at that point to leave.
Test of Discipline
Another benefit of using saunas are that it really tests your discipline. I’m a huge fan of testing yourself and when you are sitting in a sauna it’s so easy to just get up and leave discomfort. My mind starts racing and I have to will myself to calm down a lot of the time. I start getting these crazy thoughts about people locking the door and being trapped in the room. I think to myself, can I smash through that door if I have to? The mind is a powerful thing.
I have a new found respect for collegiate wrestlers, boxers, and MMA fighters who use the sauna to lose weight before a weigh in. These savages will do crazy shit like work out and wear plastic suits to lose extra water weight. It’s dangerous as hell and must be a horrible experience. That’s huge dedication.
This video is insane. Obviously you shouldn’t go to dangerous levels, but you get a good idea of how intense a sauna can be.
What to watch out for
There’s a danger to using a sauna in a public gym like LA Fitness that isn’t really talked about. At any gym out there, one of the things that you will encounter are weird old dudes. They don’t give a fuck anymore. They walk around all over the locker room with their nuts hanging out like it’s nothing. I’ll be sitting there getting changed and some guy is next to me with his leg up on the bench with his balls flying free. The weirdness gets amplified in a sauna.
Essentially you are in a really small room with other dudes who you hope are at least wearing a towel. You’re all sweating profusely and once someone starts trying to converse with you it starts to get a little weird. I walked in the sauna the other day and there’s two naked dudes just dripping all over the place talking about CERT training, completely oblivious to the fact that they are two naked dudes sitting next to each other. God bless them!
It’s actually not a big deal at all, you just go in and sit down, but if you aren’t used to naked old dudes you may be in for a bit of a shock.
All Natural High
We can talk all day about different benefits of a sauna. There are studies that show that saunas release different hormones to give you more endurance and make you bigger. The complaints on those studies are that it was a small sample size. Hey, I’m not a damn doctor. I have no idea how to measure my levels after a sauna nor do I really care to be honest. I’ll just choose to believe that I’m getting more jacked. One tangible benefit that I can absolutely attest to is the natural high.
After you spend 20 minutes in a sauna, you will feel euphoric! I’ll often come out of the sauna, march right over to the showers and put it on cold. After I get out of the shower, I’ll go get changed in the locker room. I’m often surprised at how great I feel. I’ve been lifting for years and have always felt great after doing my routine, but this is different. I feel like a million bucks after a sauna session.
This feeling lasts through the whole day for me. There’s some belief that this comes from just taking a relaxing 20 minutes to sit by yourself but I really think something different is going on. I have meditated before a bunch of times and never felt this good. This has something to do with a release of different endorphins in your brain so it’s really a unique part of using a sauna. Not sure if this would go over with the phama community because it would cut into their profits but this may be a great treatment for depression.
Give it a try today
If you aren’t a member of a gym and don’t work out, you should amend that situation immediately. If that’s the case, I would advise you to see if your prospective gym has a sauna. If not, consider trying another gym. They are seriously awesome and I would advise all my readers to start hitting the sauna.
Just make sure to wear a towel if you do. Please.
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