As a fitness instructor, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen individuals running on treadmills in sweat-inducing heavy gear, plainly believing that more perspiration equals more calories burned and thus more weight loss. Many people have been linking sweat and calories for decades, but can you know how good of a workout you had just by sweating? Does sweating burn calories?
If more sweat equals more calories burned, wouldn’t switching your workout to a warm atmosphere help you achieve your fitness objectives more quickly? Should you train at midday instead of mid-morning this summer to take advantage of the hot weather and increase your sweat output?
In this post, we will find out whether sweating burns calories and whether or not a sweat-soaked shirt means you actually burned more calories. Why some individuals sweat more than others, and what your sweat stains (or lack thereof) say about your workout.
Why do we sweat?
Sweating is the body’s natural method of temperature regulation. This is accomplished by releasing water and salt, which evaporate to keep you cool.
When the ambient temperature is really high or when you put your muscles to work during exercise, those little droplets are your body’s way of regulating your body temperature. In other words, sweating is how we cool down when we’re exercising or under other forms of heat stress.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, exercising does not cause sweating. Instead, exercise raises your internal temperature, signaling to your body that it’s time to cool down through sweating.
Sweating does not burn calories in and of itself, but sweating out enough liquid will help you lose water weight. But it’s merely a brief loss. You’ll restore any lost weight as soon as you rehydrate by drinking water or eating.
Individual Sweating Depends On Many Factors
Sweating on an individual basis is determined by a number of factors, including:
- Environmental and genetic factors
- Fitness level
Your weight and fitness level will have the greatest impact on how much you sweat during activity. At a larger weight, your body needs more energy to function and since there is more body mass to cool down, there is more perspiration.
Does More Sweating Mean More Calories Burnt?
Sweating, on its own, has little effect on how many calories you burn. True, it takes energy to physically transport the ions that allow water to enter into glands and be released as sweat, but only a small amount. In other words, sweating requires some energy, but not enough to make a significant change in how you feel or how much you weigh. Sweating is merely a sign that your body has shed water, not fat.
Yes, a higher-intensity workout burns more calories than a lower-intensity one. But keep in mind that excessive perspiration doesn’t always mean you’re working out harder. Take a hot yoga session, for example, where yoga is practiced in heated rooms. Although the practice (yoga) is mild and low-intensity, the heat, and humidity of the environment may cause you to sweat profusely. Would it mean a hot yoga session burns more calories than a HIIT session out in the elements? Not likely!
Physical exercise burns calories in general. The more you use major muscle groups, the more calories your body burns—and the more heat (and perspiration) your body produces.
When compared to a weight-training activity, this calorie burn is greatest during an aerobic workout. However, if you’re doing a weight or interval workout with rest in between sets, you may discover that you aren’t sweating as much. That doesn’t mean you didn’t get a decent workout, burn calories, or gain strength; it simply means your body temperature didn’t rise as much as it should have.
It doesn’t matter if you’re sweating so much that you could mop the floor with your wet T while your friend is barely starting to glisten. Sweating ability varies a lot from person to person. If you’re used to hot temperatures, you’ll probably sweat more at first because your body understands how to cool itself efficiently. At different temperatures, people begin to sweat differently.
The important thing to remember is that sweat loss is more indicative of water loss than fat loss. Just because the scale displays a few pounds lighter after a sweaty session doesn’t mean you’ve lost a lot of weight. Those pounds are merely water weight and they will usually return after you rehydrate.”
That’s not to suggest you didn’t lose weight during your workout. For energy, you have to burn both carbohydrate and fat calories. But sweating isn’t a good indicator of it.
Risks Of Excessive Sweating
You’re more likely to become dehydrated if you’re sweating profusely. Sweating is increased in hot or humid weather. Make sure you drink a pint of water for every pound of sweat you lose. Don’t put off hydration until you’re thirsty. Instead, bring a water bottle with you to the gym and drink frequently during your workout.
Remember, dehydration that is severe can be fatal. Please seek medical help for these symptoms right away: extreme exhaustion or confusion, dizziness when you stand that doesn’t go away after a few seconds, not urinating for eight hours, weak pulse, rapid pulse, seizure, and loss of consciousness.
Hyperhidrosis is a condition in which you sweat excessively regularly despite the lack of any external triggers. If your regular routine is being disrupted by excessive sweating see your doctor. Also, if you have night sweats for no apparent reason or are suddenly sweating excessively, visit your doctor.
The quality of your workout or the number of calories burned is not determined by how much you sweat. You could sweat a lot but not burn a lot of calories or fat, or you could be mostly dry but burn a lot of calories or fat. How much—or how little—you sweat during exercise is influenced by your fitness level, heredity, alcohol or caffeine use, the atmosphere, and what you’re wearing.
Monitor your heart rate if you truly want to know how hard or intensely you’re working out. This may necessitate the use of specialized equipment such as a heart rate monitor, health tracker, or app. If those options aren’t available, you may go for the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. All you have to do is use a 1-10 scale to judge how difficult the workout is. You won’t have exact figures, but you’ll be able to compare exercises and get a sense of when you’re taking it easy and when you’re going all out.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.