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Personalized Heat Pods Next 'It' Workout?

January 14, 2014

CrossFit? That's so 2013. The "it" workout of the new year might be the one that involves spending 30 minutes in a heated pod.

The Iobella workout takes place in temperature-controlled pods heated to 98 degrees and uses weighted pulleys to work the entire body, it claims, in just 30 minutes.

Iobella has seven locations in Argentina and one in the United States, in Santa Monica, Calif. Roxana Lissa, the California spa's owner, was visiting her mother in Argentina and came across Iobella.

She had just had a baby and was looking to lose a little around the middle. She tried Iobella and said she noticed a difference after a few sessions.

"I realized I had to bring it to the U.S.," she said.

It took a year and a half to make it happen.

Iobella isn't the first workout that requires heat. Bikram yoga has been around for decades. Its devotees sweat it out in 90-minute workouts in a room that's heated to a sizzling 105 degrees.

It's not even the first workout that involves pods. The pod method is popular in Europe, especially Italy, and parts of South America, Lissa said. But the Iobella in Santa Monica attracts primarily U.S. clientele.

"There was some skepticism at first," Lissa said. "But people are always looking for something different."

The Iobella workout takes place in a pod, rather than a heated room, Lissa said, because of the personal nature of the workout. Each individual has a personal trainer for his or her 30-minute session.

The person's head it outside the pod for every part of the workout except the ab portion. The trainer can turn down the heat if necessary.

Plus, Lissa said, "you only have to deal with your own sweat."

But it's that heat, and sweat, that supposedly makes a big difference.

"In Spanish, those difficult parts of our body are called the 'cold areas,'" Lissa said, referring to the parts of the body particularly susceptible to cellulite.

"Working out at the body's natural temperature promotes immediate circulation to those areas."