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Hotworx virtually instructed exercise fitness center on Baxter Street in Athens, Georgia, on Monday, April 29, 2019. (Photo/Rebecca Wright)

Hotworx, the 24-hour heated fitness studio located at 496 Baxter Street, is offering nine different workout classes just in time for students looking to destress during late night study sessions this finals season.

Among these classes, there are two 15-minute High Intensity Interval Training sessions and 30-minute isometric workout sessions. With the infrared sauna set at 125 degrees and three people in each room, clients follow along with the virtual instructors shown on the television installed in each sauna.

The studio combines isometric workouts with infrared light and heat, according to their website.

An isometric workout is a type of strength training where the body parts involved in the workout do not move as the muscles contract. A wall sit, squats and planks are examples of isometric postures.

The franchise made its Athens debut on April 9, and this is the chain’s 50th location.

Owner Katharine Francis warmly greets clients as they come through the door. A group of friends exits one of the saunas lining the right side of the studio slightly red-faced, breathlessly answering that their sessions were great when Francis asks.

“It feels really great because once you get all that sweat out, it’s like, it feels like it lets out some of your frustration or stress and releases endorphins and it’s just really, it’s a better feeling than just a regular old workout for me,” said Jenna Maddox, a junior journalism major who has been going to the studio since it opened.

From surgeries to support

Francis found relief in Hotworx after she underwent a number of surgeries a few years back.

“I’ve had double fusion back surgeries, I’ve had two shoulder surgeries, you know, I was an athlete and I just beat the crap out of my body,” she said.

After hearing about the studio for the first time from a physician when the only location was in Oxford, Mississippi, she decided to try a class for herself. After one class, she was hooked. Not long after, she opened her first location in Johns Creek. Now, she has opened another location in Athens.

“So when I opened my first studio, I maybe could hold a plank for 15 seconds, it was pretty pathetic, and now, I can hold a two minute plank.” she said.

Qualities of a warrior

The studio offers a total of nine different classes that can be taken every 45 minutes. It also has a free weights section in the back and a shower.

The schedule includes various 30 minute heated classes from Hot Yoga to Hot Core. The Hot Warrior, is thought to be the most challenging class.

Kristi Sproull, an Athens resident, is on her second week of Hotworx classes and says the pilates class is her favorite so far.

“I’ve only done the yoga and the pilates, I’m getting ready to do the Warrior, which they say is the most difficult, and I’ve done the bikes,” she said.

For students, the studio presents a change of environment from the Ramsey Student Center. Maddox was attracted to the studio because it paired the heated aspect of a workout with flexible scheduling and convenience, as the storefront is centrally located on campus. With prior experiences with hot yoga, Maddox was also interested in the variety of other similar workouts.

“It’s really hard for me to get over to Ramsey,” Maddox said. “So I needed ultimately a gym that I would enjoy going to.”

Francis said the Hotworx locations in college towns are usually well-received. Since college students often have schedules that fluctuate every day and they stay up late studying, Hotworx can provide a way for them to get a workout in any way.

“Nowhere else are you gonna be able to take a yoga or a pilates or a spin class at 1 in the morning or 10:30 at night,” she said.

Clients are also able to tailor their workouts to fit their fitness level. From triathletes or football players to those who are not active or are recovering from an injury, Francis says she has seen it all.

The studio has recently received attention from former Georgia football player and recent NFL draft pick Isaac Nauta, who has posted his visits to the studio on his Instagram stories.

“There’s no one type of person that it’s good for,” she said.

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