Are Heated or Hot Workouts Safe?

Are Heated or Hot Workouts Safe

Jillian Michaels is a staunch supporter of yoga. In fact, she has created many successful yoga programs. But, what bothers her is hot yoga; not only yoga, but any type of hot/heated workout in general. Heated workouts crank up temperatures beyond 85°. Heated workouts are trending these days. But, why are people following these trends? Just because these are trendy!

Well Jillian Michaels says that just because something is a trend does not mean it is great for you. Rather it could be just the opposite. Trends stray you away from what is right and it can be pretty dangerous when it comes to nutrition and fitness.

There must be science backing the changes the way exercises are done. For example, if you are flexible enough, then you may squat below the parallel for better results, or you can switch to high intensity (HI) training from conventional cardio for quick outcomes as numerous studies claim that these are more beneficial. And that’s totally fine! But, trends, just for the sake of it, are not great. Things like hot yoga and hot Pilates are not backed by science.

Yoga came into existence around 5000 years ago. And, at that time, some norms had been set for it. Jillian Michaels says that all this time, not even once anyone suggested that it should be done in 115° heat. And, what are the benefits…hot yoga? People claim that it speeds up burning of calories and detoxification. But, these are absolutely baseless. Let us understand each one at a time.


The proponents of hot yoga say detoxification occurs as there is intense sweating that happens during hot yoga. Sweating is the way through which, the body cools itself. That’s it. Of the total toxins leaving our system, only 1% get excreted through sweat glands. The function of sweating is to regulate the temperature of the body. It is the natural way to cool off the body. That’s it!

And, what you must note is that the main organs for eliminating wastes from the body are liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, lungs and not sweat glands. Moreover, these organs cannot function properly when we are dehydrated. So, this makes hot yoga an absolutely illogical process when it comes to natural detoxification of our body.

For burning of calories, the most-cited reason is that hot yoga elevates your heart rate and thus, you burn off more calories. But, this ain’t true either! The heart rate gets elevated because heart has to work harder to pump the blood to the skin to cool you. For exercise to be effective in burning calories and improving the athletic performance, the increase in heart rate is applicable only if it generated through effort-based intensity and not from environmental factors like heat. If this would be the case, then people living in hot climates 365 days of the year must be naturally fit. Isn’t it silly?

Jillian Michael asserts that hot yoga prevents you from getting the best from the workout as it mars your ability to train harder. Dehydration results from excessive sweating. This can make you feel weak, tired and dizzy. Not only this, at the internal level, it imbalances your electrolytes.

If you do yoga in a room, which is moderately controlled for the temperature, you can work at a higher intensity. You may not be sweating, but Jillian says she can bet that you are burning more calories than what you’d be burning off with a hot yoga session. And, since you train faster, you are able to adapt to the stress from exercise at a faster rate, making yourself fitter.

So, Jillian suggests that you can be regular with your yoga or Pilates classes. The only thing to keep in mind is that you must train in a regulated environment, which helps you generate heat from the exercise and not from the outside.