Bride’s trick to shedding calories
Try telling a bride she can't do any cardio - not even a brisk walk - six weeks out from her wedding.
It is devastating.
(Before you come at me, just know that I'm aware there are much bigger issues in the world. But being forced into a moon boot in the final countdown to the day when you'll have all eyes on you and want to feel your best is a real spanner in the works.)
After a year of building up my fitness with 3-5 runs a week ahead of my March wedding, I woke up one morning recently to a painfully swollen right foot.
I won't bore you with the details that led to me eventually figuring out I had tenosynovitis (a muscle overuse injury) - but I will tell you that recovery is time-consuming and delicate.
So that was it. Suddenly I was forced to do, well, nothing, and seemingly abandon my fitness goals, in the desperate hope that the moon boot could be taken off in time for me to walk down the aisle.
Amid a flurry of panicked and desperate messages in the group chat ("What if I get a boot tan line?!"), one of my girlfriends suggested I give cryotherapy a go.
With nothing to lose, I hopped into what looked like a spacious shoulder-height shower cubicle, set to -90C, at Koa Recovery in Sydney.
Owner Shaun Button explained to me beforehand that it'd feel like "standing in your underwear in Antarctica", but I personally would describe it as feeling like Jack probably did as he watched Rose hog the door while he froze to death at the end of the Titanic.
I won't lie: it burns a bit, especially in the stretch between your calves and ankles where there's less body fat.
But three minutes is just manageable (although the last 20 seconds feel like triple that length), and when you're done, a bizarrely euphoric feeling and physical tingles spread with startling speed across your entire body.
Grinning like an idiot and muttering intelligent comments like, "That was cold!", I stepped out of the icy container, having potentially burned up to 800 calories.
So how does it work?
The extreme cold apparently kickstarts the body's own self-regulating mechanisms to warm itself up, which increases your metabolic rate and burns calories. Cryotherapy is also a powerful natural anti-inflammatory - which can help in healing muscular injuries.
Given that I'm in frantic pre-wedding mode and willing to try anything that might help heal my foot faster, I jumped at the opportunity to also try out the infra-red sauna.
Just seconds after becoming an extra in Frozen, I was sitting inside a 55C hot box with green "healing" lights beaming down from the ceiling and the timer set to 45 minutes.
It was considerably more pleasant than the Arctic experience in the next room, and I found myself dozing off as my muscles relaxed in the heat.
The big difference between these saunas and traditional saunas is that the infra-red version heats from the inside out, not the other way around - so it heats the body instead of the air around you and penetrates deep into your skin.
After my 45 minutes was up, I felt a bit drowsy from the heat and also a familiar kick of endorphins, as though I'd just done a workout (I was certainly sweating enough for it).
According to Koa owner Shaun, about a third of his customers are just like me - "young females wanting to lose weight, burn calories and detox". For best results, he recommends people attend a minimum of one session per week.
My cryotherapy and infrared sauna combined session would have burned around 1000-1200 calories, but Shaun claims that there are plenty of benefits other than potential weight loss (which is obviously affected by the user's diet and exercise).
"Improved sleep, increased energy, a reduction in heavy metals in the body, smoother and tighter skin - including a decreased visibility of cellulite, less muscle soreness and improved circulation," he told news.com.au.
Both cryotherapy and infra-red saunas are certainly bang on-trend at the moment, and boast enough benefits to deserve the buzz - but as with all these types of treatments, there are things to watch out for.
Before you give either of them a go, check with your doctor or physician to make sure you're a suitable user, especially if you have an underlying circulation issue or a pre-existing medical condition.