Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Seven Phases Of Sauna Training

I joined a gym to use the sauna to train for Badwater, the 135 mile race in Death Valley coming up in July. Here's what I've learned: 1) I'm not a gym person. At all. I need fresh air. 2) The thermometer in the sauna says it is 178 degrees. 3) Hell is exactly 178 degrees. 4) At a gym, lots of people call you "Bro". 5) I have approximately 86% less muscle mass than most people at the gym. 6) I have made it up to 82 minutes so far in Hell, I mean the sauna.

I've realized that the average time people spend in the sauna is around 12 minutes. (You can monitor things like this when you are sitting in Hell with nothing else to do.) I want to walk you through the Seven Phases people go through while sitting in a sauna. Even though I'm in there longer than 12 minutes, I go through these exact same phases myself. Allow me to provide a picture representation:

You drive to the gym. You think to yourself "This is going to be fun! The sauna is relaxing. I will sweat out all the negativity and Justin Bieber music that infected my body when I turned on the radio during the drive.

You walk into the sauna, sit down, and think to yourself "Ah, who cares if the thermometer says 178 degrees. It doesn't feel thaaaat bad. I've totally got this!"

The denial phase doesn't last long. Within five minutes you start smelling your flesh melt. Beads of sweat begin forming on your arms, legs, head, and fingers. (Yep. Beads of sweat on your fingers.) You start to panic. "Uh oh. It's really freaking hot in here."

There's always the moron who thinks they're going to do some kind of physical activity in the sauna. Because that makes them more awesome. Maybe a few push-ups. Maybe some leg raises. Maybe some jumping.

This is when the sauna session starts to get ugly. You expect the Devil to walk into the sauna at any second and say "Hot enough for ya?" You are sitting in a puddle of sweat. (I'm sorry. That's really gross to say.) Sweat is LITERALLY pouring off of you.

Desperation sinks in. People look skyward as if to call in some a heavenly favor in the form of a sauna snow storm. (You think I'm joking but I'm serious. People always, ALWAYS look toward the sky like this. Always.)

When that heavenly blizzard doesn't arrive, people put their heads down in resignation. Sweat pours off their noses like a running faucet, and they generally remain in this position until they can stand Hell no more and they leave the literal pain cave.

Something I've realized the hard way is that sweating doesn't stop after you leave the sauna. I IMMEDIATELY go take a long, cold shower. But even after a long, cold shower, the body continues to sweat for at least a half hour. I'm not talking just a little sweat either. I'm talking profuse sweating. Embarrassing sweating. One time I went to the sauna before work. After my sauna session, I walked into my office sweating like I had just been break dancing for seven hours.

National Geographic describes Badwater as the hardest footrace in the world. I sure hope all this sauna suffering pays off when I find myself at the start line on July 18th.


  1. Please don't die at Badwater. I'd really miss your sense of humor. This may be my favorite post ever.

  2. Shouldn't you do the opposite? Freeze your body in a cryochamber before Badwater and be completely thawed by the end? Of course if frozen you might not be able to move.

  3. you. fool.! Me and my kids loved our morning reading today. Keep up the fun pain for us to laugh at. We will enjoy you from a distance. I never did like the sauna. My 18 year old son says I should only comment "make me a sandwich" and leave it at that. But that's just weird and I am ignoring him.

  4. You must be careful with sauna, because if you aren't kind of ready to it there may be problems with heart. But visiting it for relax is very good. My favourite place is here

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