Published on August 3, 2019
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Does sweating mean more fat loss?
I get asked this question a lot from clients. They’re soaked in layers of sweat after a work out, thinking those droplets translate into tremendous fat burn (and weight loss). But does that show up on the scale?
Well, let me put it this way:
If sweating meant losing fat, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic in the U.S., as every summer everyone would just sweat off the extra pounds! Everyone who lives in tropical climates would be slim, and those who vacation in the tropics would magically lose fat every time they went on vacation.
Sweating is your body’s mechanism of cooling down. When you are sweating excessively during a workout session, your body needs to cool down and get back to its normal body temperature (98.6 F). And, the harder you work, the more heat that you will generate and the harder the body tries to cool itself.
While working out excessively or, for example, going in for a sauna, does cause your body to sweat a lot, it does not mean that your body is losing fat. As mentioned above, it only means your body is trying to cool itself down. You’re losing water. “I had a good sweat” only means that your body did what it was designed to do while you were exercising and not much more.
In disciplines like yoga (and I don’t mean hot yoga) and Pilates, for example, typically a person sweats much less, if at all. However, to think those activities do NOT lead to fat loss is wrong. In fact, they are working on building a functionally fit body and, in time, will have fat loss even without sweating.