STEPHEN HEMELT — HOTWORX plans to heat up exercise scene

Published 7:00 am Monday, December 16, 2019

How does the idea of spending your time in a specially built infrared sauna to perform exercises sound?

If that is not initially appealing, what about the idea of more workout in less time?

Now, that’s a business approach new customers can believe in.

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Welcome to HOTWORX.

Nederland High School graduates and siblings Walt Toler, Jill Lawrence and Pam Toler purchased the HOTWORX franchise rights for the Beaumont-Port Arthur region.

They have plans to open as many as three locations, and the first is slated for a Nederland opening by March.

It will be open by late February if the remodeling process runs smooth at 1475 South Highway 69, in the shopping center behind The Schooner Restaurant.

HOTWORX is a virtually instructed exercise program that implements the use of infrared heat and isometrics designed to flush toxins and burn calories.

Although the workouts torch an impressive amount of calories, Walt Toler said, there are plenty of other benefits for HOTWORX clients.

The active ingredient in this combination is the implementation of infrared heat that penetrates the skin and muscle tissue, which speeds up metabolic processes and requires less warm-up. It makes for an extended cool down, leading to additional calorie burn after the workout is complete.

HOTWORX in Nederland will include 10 saunas made out of wood that are seven feet wide and nine feet long. They include ceramic and carbon fiber heaters that generates the infrared wavelength.

Each sauna has a video screen inside with a virtual instructor that teaches the class, holding up to three people at a time.

Five saunas are dedicated to isometric-type exercises, like hot yoga and hot Pilates. The other five are set up with exercise bikes and a blast machine that is a combination skier and bike. A rowing machine will be added in the future.

HOTWORX sells memberships to their 24/7 access model and each member can use an app to view and schedule training sessions in the saunas.

Sessions last between 15 and 30 minutes and are offered on a constant loop.

The location will be staffed Monday through Saturday, although exact hours are still being determined.

During non-staffed hours, computer entry and video monitoring offer safety.

Walt Toler said the warmed up atmosphere means less injuries and less pain.

“The extra blood flow removes lactic acid and you don’t have the soreness you usually experience after doing a workout,” he said. “That extra blood flow helps speed recovery. It’s also very good about helping with blood pressure. Infrared is really good for reducing inflammation, which is the major cause of arthritis and pain.”

Walt Toler, who lives in Dallas, said he is excited to bring this exercise opportunity to his hometown and to work with his sisters, one who resides in Mississippi and another who is a teacher in the Port Neches-Groves Independent School District.

“This is a vibrant area,” he said. “It has lots of potential because of the petro-chemical industry. I think this is a really strong economic area.”

Stephen Hemelt is the publisher of The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at 409-721-2445 or