Illustration: Matija Medved

Optimize Me

Exercising in the Cold Really Can Burn More Calories

But that doesn’t mean you’ll lose more weight

Published in
5 min readJan 7, 2020


Optimize Me is an Elemental column exploring (and fact-checking) the weirdest self-improvement trends. It comes out every Tuesday.

DDon’t let the hot yoga devotees fool you, there is no better way to train than with the air-conditioning blasting and an ice bath afterwards. Or so goes the theory behind the hottest new fitness trend: cold temperature workouts.

Jimmy Martin and Johnny Adamic launched their New York studio, Brrn (see what they did there?), in 2018 based on the idea that people can get a better workout and burn more calories exercising at lower temperatures. Brrn offers three different workout classes, all cooled to a brisk 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Martin, a personal trainer, came up with the idea in 2013 while working with a client who said she felt her best when exercising at cooler temperatures. The anecdote flew in the face of the conventional wisdom that “a hot and sweaty workout was the barometer for a great workout experience,” Martin says. “For her to say that she was encouraged to move versus discouraged to move, which heat often does, that piqued my interest.”



Dana G Smith

Health and science writer • PhD in 🧠 • Words in Scientific American, STAT, The Atlantic, The Guardian • Award-winning Covid-19 coverage for Elemental