HOTWORX-San Jose brings heat to fitness

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HOTWORX-San Jose stands out from other Bay Area gyms as a unique experience where residents can do yoga and work out in an infrared sauna in as little as 15 minutes.

As of 2017, Nora Heindel was attending the University of Mississippi and working part-time at a fitness studio near campus called HOTWORX. This was the company’s first location, which offered customers the opportunity to exercise in 120-degree infrared heat.

“When I was hired for the job, I thought it sounded good, but I didn’t really understand what it was. I did a 15-minute cycle the day after I was hired — I got out and was exhausted,” Heindel told San Jose Spotlight. “I loved it, and have done it almost every day since.”

His mother, Mary Jo, was initially skeptical when she came to visit him. It seemed too hot and she wasn’t sure what the infrared would feel like. But after one session, she too was a convert.

“I walked out of the studio in Oxford, Mississippi, and called my husband,” Mary Jo Heindel said. “I said, ‘We need to bring this to Silicon Valley. People will love this.

HOTWORX-San Jose, a franchise that opened downtown in 2018, has five saunas with two different types of workouts: isometric, a sequence of static poses that takes about 30 minutes, and interval training. higher intensity which usually lasts 15 minutes. Up to three people at a time can occupy a sauna, and all workouts use virtual trainers, a recording that runs through the routine.

The studio is open 24 hours a day and is self-service, although a small staff is available during normal hours. All members have an app and code they can use to enter 54 W. Santa Clara St. in downtown San Jose at any time.

Infrared is at the heart of the fitness room. Mary Jo explains that it’s not just about heat: calorie burning comes with a range of other benefits. Scientific support is mixed – some studies support the benefits of recovery, for example, while others dispute detoxification. But customers seem convinced.

Resident Shawneen Ramirez said she found HOTWORX by chance a year ago, shortly after moving downtown. For her, the infrared component is a major asset because it makes workouts more intense and helps relieve joint pain. She also likes the smaller studio vibe.

“I mostly do the classes and my husband loves the 15 minute rowing,” Ramirez told San Jose Spotlight. “I didn’t think I would like the virtual part, but I love it. I always thought I needed an instructor there, but it’s actually nice to walk in and not be so crowded.

Resident Michelle Nino agreed that the experience is unique. Besides the novelty of the infrared, she appreciates the variety of workouts and the free weights at the back of the studio.

“The heat makes it tough, but what I feel after a HOTWORX workout is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before,” she told San Jose Spotlight.

HOTWORX-San Jose General Manager Nora Heindel wraps up a yoga session in the infrared sauna. Photo courtesy of Nora Heindel.

A family business

Mary Jo said she knew opening a HOTWORX franchise would take a family effort.

“We had a family reunion before signing on the dotted line – okay, we do, and everyone should participate in whatever form they can,” she said.

Her husband, David, uses his experience in real estate to manage the studio’s finances and repairs. Mary Jo, previously a journalist and now Director of Admissions and Outreach at Almaden Country Day School, handles marketing. Their son Jake, a film producer for the San Jose Sharks hockey team, added his social media chops when they opened. And Nora, who majored in exercise science, is now the executive director.

Mary Jo, David and Nora Heindel are the family behind HOTWORX-San Jose. Photo courtesy of Nora Heindel.

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the studio was forced to shut down completely to comply with health guidelines. Eventually, the Heindels reopened the studio, but temporarily reduced the saunas to single occupancy.

“Because we’re family-owned and operated, we have more of a sense of community,” said Nora Heindel. “Because it’s a small boutique studio, everyone knows each other. Sometimes people come to practice and talk to me for half an hour before leaving.

Resident Albert Charles Bolden Jr. knows the studio produces results. He often mixes multiple rowing sessions with longer isometric training and tracks his progress on the HOTWORX app. Each day it comes, it typically burns between 1,200 and 2,000 calories.

“It changed my life. I was 309 pounds, now I’m about 235 pounds. This place really got me to where I am today,” he said.

Contact Jack Delaney at [email protected]

HOTWORX-San Jose: sweat it out

Phone: (408) 320-1030

Location: 54 W. Santa Clara St. in San Jose


Social networks: Instagram — @hotworxsanjosedowntown

Open 24/7 self-service

Business hours :

  • Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

What Puts Them on the Map: Infrared Sauna Workouts

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