Last week, a Gilt City coupon appeared for a place called Shape House. I had heard of this “urban sweat lodge” from some of my trendier LA friends and from watching Khloe and Kris attend a session on an episode of KUWTK.
Shape House is essentially what the title of the vicinity suggests — a place where you go to shape, cleanse, relax, and renew your body. Your body sweats out toxins while you lay in an infrared bed for 55 minutes. As an admittedly lazy person, this place sounded like pie in the sky. I could lose weight, sleep better, and feel renewed all without moving a muscle? Did I mention that each Shape House room is equipped with a flat screen television where you can watch watch Netflix, Hulu, Ted Talks, HBO, or listen to music? Literally a lazy person’s fantasy.
Before I purchased the Gilt City coupon, I did a little research to see if this place was all it was cracked up to be.
First question: does this really count as a “workout?” I mean, how does lying down watching my favorite episode of Friends for 55 minutes qualify as “strenuous” activity.
According to Shape House’s website, “In a 55 minute sweat, the heart receives a workout similar to a 10-mile run and the body perspires the same amount as a 12-mile run (or more with a Hyper Sweat Suit). Sweat Therapy is ideal for those who do not go to the gym. It is also used by athletes with non-acute injuries who can’t workout for a period of time.”
I read until the part that says, “…ideal for those who do not go to the gym,” and then purchased the Gilt City coupon — 3 sweat sessions for $59.
Shape House currently has three locations — Pasadena, Larchmont Village, and Santa Monica. I visited the Pasadena location first. It was a bit farther away, but the easiest to book a sweat session. That is one downside of this place; you have to book far out (hey, you’re not the only one trying to get fit and fabulous the easy way)! I reserved a sweat room from 8:30PM-9:30PM.
Upon arrival, they have you sign a waiver and provide you with some Kangan alkaline water to sip on. I headed to their bathroom/shower area to change into my grungy sweat outfit. They suggest you wear cotton clothing that covers up your entire body. I brought my own clothes, but they have clothing on site in case you forget. After changing, I was escorted to one of the sweat rooms where I was tucked into an infrared blanket with only my head exposed. There’s a small slit in the blanket where you can reach your hand through to grab water or press the call button for assistance.
The staff member helping me explained that over the 55 minute session my heart rate would gradually then rapidly start to increase. Slightly frightening.
And so it began.
The first 25 minutes were a breeze. I switched on an episode of KUWTK since it was, after all, the show that inspired me to try this place. I found myself totally comfortable and unaffected by the heat. I was sweating about as much as I would on a long jog.
During this five minute period, I began to really feel the heat. The employee helping me stopped in to make sure I had enough water. I had to start wiggling my body around so that I wouldn’t stick to the disposable compostable sheet separating me from the blanket.
The next ten minutes were uncomfortable. I spent time searching Netflix for a show capable of distracting me from the situation. I settled on an episode of Friends.
Five minutes into the episode of Friends (“The One with Chandler in a Box”), a staff member checked on me again. This time, I was dripping sweat. She placed a cool wash cloth on my face and gave me some water. She asked me how I was doing, and I could not lie, I was not doing well. I asked her how much longer. 15 minutes. NO.
The last fifteen minutes were the worst. I tried watching another episode of Friends, but even the comedic relief wasn’t helping. I switched over to Pandora and started listening to some country music. Yikes, bad idea. The last ten minutes I listened to classical music, shifting my body every 30 seconds to avoid feeling glued to the blanket.
When the employee returned to help me out of the blanket, I couldn’t have been more relieved. I was drenched. Seriously, the amount of sweat my body had produced was down right disgusting.
The remaining fifteen minutes of my visit were the most enjoyable. I sat in the relaxation room while they poured me a cup of hot green tea and served me a few fresh slices of orange.
That night, I slept like a rock (but, let’s be real, I normally sleep pretty well). My roommate asked me if I had lost any weight, so I jumped on the scale, and to my surprise, saw that I had lost a whopping pound. I probably gained it back that day — it is only water weight that I lost, after all. I will admit that my skin felt fresh, and someone even commented that my skin looked “dewy.” If that’s good or bad, I’m still not sure. But, I’ll take it.
Since the results were considerable, I decided to make a second reservation. This time I booked a spot at the Shape House location in Larchmont Village. My experience was relatively the same, but I found that knowing what to expect helped me enjoy myself more the second round.
This time around, I snapped some pre and post-sweat selfies for comparison. I even built up the courage to ask one of the employees to snap some pictures of me burrito-bundled to perfection.
7. This is the glorious outfit they gave me because I forgot a change of clothing on my second Shape House visit.
Can you tell I’m thrilled by the look on my face? Nothing shouts hot like an orange long-sleeve and too-tight sweat pants. SEXY.
8. Here’s me wrapped up and ready to cook. I was still getting over the embarrassment of asking a Shape House employee to take my picture.
9. To embarrass myself further, I asked her to get a shot of me checking out my options on Netflix.
I’ve never looked more relaxed.
11. And here it is, quite possibly the most horrific picture ever taken of me. This is what I looked like immediately after getting out of the infrared blanket.
I feel like I’m channeling Regina George from Mean Girls.
Overall, my two sweat sessions at Shape House were enjoyable. I plan on visiting the Santa Monica location as soon as I can book an appointment. For more information and to book an appointment visit their website at http://www.shapehouse.com. My only advice going into Shape House is to be prepared to come out looking ugly (but fabulous).
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