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For my story in the May/June issue of InFluential Magazine, I explored new & innovative ways to enhance my fitness game.  I didn’t necessarily want to cover new moves to try in the gym or what trendy classes to take, but focused more on how to add to what I’m already doing:  what to eat, how to speed recovery, and supplementary spa treatments that are new to the market.  See the full article here:  http://issuu.com/influentialmagazine/docs/influential_mayjune_final_/48

May/June Cover of InFluential Magazine

In doing my research on the topic, I seriously think I’ve discovered the hottest –both literally and figuratively– new way to lose weight:  SmartSweat Infrared Saunas.  I predict that these sauna sessions will be all the range soon, especially when it comes to weight loss & detoxification.  I was truly baffled at my results after just 3 sessions!  Btw, they are NOT sponsoring this post…this is me, just wanting to share more about the experience.  I cover a lot of the specifics (the technology, health benefits, etc.) in my piece for the magazine, but I thought I would share a little more of the personal firsthand details here on the blog…

I first heard about the infrared sauna/weight loss connection when I read it was one of the tricks Rachel Frederickson had up her sleeve to win The Biggest Loser.  You remember her:  the most recent winner of the weight loss reality show who shocked judges at her final weigh-in and went on to win the whole competition.  Well, in the time after they finished taping but before the live season finale, she did a lot of work on her own back at home and got what some thought was too skinny for her final reveal.  I think she looked fit, healthy & happy and she’s added back on just a couple more pounds since winning and apparently has found her happy medium.  Reportedly, regular infrared sauna sessions were one of the tools she used to seal the deal on winning and that’s how the idea first got on my radar.

A few weeks later when I noticed it was offered at the place where I get my spray tans, I knew I had to try it out!  I bought-in on a bundle promotion they were running and snagged three sessions for around $30.  –Definitely worth trying it out at ten bucks a pop, ya know?  They book appointments in 1-hour blocks, and my total time inside the booth was 40 minutes.  A few more things I should note:

–Unlike your gym where a traditional sauna is either unisex (uh, have you ever had a man in a speedo hit on you in the steam room? -gross!) or separated back in the men’s/women’s locker rooms, these saunas are completely private.  You’re in a small room all by yourself where you get to disrobe and sit through your individual session in total privacy.

–These saunas won’t wreck your tech.  I played on my iPhone to get acclimated at the beginning of all my sessions, in fact.  The type of booth I went to (called SmartSweat) boasted an array of digital entertainment choices to keep me occupied:  Apple TV, Netflix, music, and a digital display with the current time, session countdown, and temperature.  See, you can even take selfies in them!  🙂Me inside an infrared sauna

–No headaches in this heat!  Even just ten minutes in a traditional sauna can send me to headache city, gasping for fresh cool air upon exit.  They say an infrared sauna allows the body to sweat out less water and more toxins, and in turn, reduces my risk for head-pounding dehydration.  You should still drink lots of water during and after your time in the sauna, though.

–During my first session, I freaked out for a second at the thought of “infrared” and imagined I was like, microwaving my insides or something.  It does heat you from the inside out, but I was assured that it’s the same technology behind baby incubators and completely safe.  So, I just chilled out & meditated on the “infrared” technology benefits:  detoxification, weight loss, reduced blood pressure, improved circulation, and pain relief.

My experience was a bit different with each visit, too…

1st session:  Not too much sweat.  Just relaxed…checked my e-mails & Instagram account.  Left feeling more energized & somehow, in a better mood.

2nd session:  A little more sweat.  Feeling psyched…tweeted about it and took a #selfie.  Experimented with some arm exercises utilizing the provided small 1-lb. hand weights.  Noticed my post-session skintone looked less sallow and more vibrant.

3rd session:  Almost immediate sweat…and lots of it.  Drank tons more water.  Did a pretty legit workout in the booth with their 3-lb. weights:  bis, tris, chest press, calf raises, squats, etc.

My results:  diminished appearance in cellulite (this is a HUGE plus right here, folks!!!), a more toned look to my physique, and glowing skin.  I’m telling all my friends about it and would recommend this to anyone — apparently you can burn up to 600 calories per visit!  Because they’re so new to the market, people have asked me where you can find infrared sauna booths and I’ve noticed they’re at a variety of establishments.  For example, I’ve heard a radio commercial offering it at a local massage place and I’ve seen them at tanning salons, too.  If you’re in Austin, you can experience the very same infrared sauna technology that I did at Aruba SunSpa in West Campus.