Sweating – the body’s process of releasing water and salt in order to help cool itself down. It’s our natural way of regulating body temperature.
I know for one I’m a big sweater. Always have been. Just watching someone else work out leaves me prone to breaking out.
Bit of an exaggeration but just trying to emphasise my point.
In all seriousness though it doesn’t take long for beads to start forming on my face as soon as I begin a training session.
For those like me, our cooling systems kick in immediately even after only light work, but for others, they can somehow still be as dry as a bone after a slog sesh.
Why is that?
And does the amount we sweat make a difference as to how effective our weight loss attempts will be?
Well there’s a few things to cover here and some specifics need to be pointed out.
Firstly, as I mentioned the amount we sweat differs from person to person. Genetics play a part. As does age, fitness level, weight and environmental factors.
Your current weight and fitness level plays an important role as to how much you sweat during exercise and the trigger points at which you start to sweat can vary as a result.
On one hand if you’re overweight and unfit, the intensity levels don’t need to be super high to break into a sweat. The larger your body mass, the harder it needs to work to function. This triggers your body’s release of water and salt to help cool you.
On the other hand the more in shape you are, the more efficient you can become at regulating your body temperature. Your body has been conditioned to sweat early but also sustain intensity due to its ability to cool down quicker.
However even after taking these two examples into account, I want to point out something straight away. No matter how fit or unfit you are, the only weight you’re losing through sweat is water weight.
And this means it’s only temporary.
Once you rehydrate after exercise through drinking water or eating, you’ll regain the water weight you’ve lost pretty much straight away.
And no, this doesn’t mean that you should skip drinking and eating altogether as this is counterintuitive. Dehydration can hugely disrupt overall weight loss attempts and isn’t the answer.
You’ve probably seen athletes like jockeys or boxers use the sweating technique to lose or maintain a certain body weight before an upcoming event.
They’ll forego drinking fluid and lock themselves in saunas to simply sweat and drop the kg’s. However please understand this isn’t healthy at all.
Even the popular Bikram yoga is used by a lot of people as a weight loss technique but once again, the theory behind it is flawed.
Some of these techniques are dangerous and can lead to dehydration and other medical risks.
Sweating alone should never be your go to measure for dropping weight. Especially if you want to lose it for good.
What you really should be focusing on is losing body fat, not water weight. There’s a massive difference between the two that people still don’t understand.
A really simple way of focusing on fat loss is the equation of calories in versus calories out.
Calories in (through food as fuel) versus calories out (through exercise and everyday functions of your body including breathing, talking, incidental exercise, body temperature and the process of digesting food).
More calories coming in than going out equals weight/fat gain.
More calories going out than coming in equals weight/fat loss.
This is where exercise plays a huge role in your fat loss journey to help boost the balance of calories out vs calories in, in your favour.
And this is where sweating comes back into the conversation.
However, the focus shouldn’t be on the amount you sweat. The amount of calories you’re burning should be based around intensity levels and time period of your exercise sessions.
The fact you’re exercising alone means you’re burning calories however the amount you sweat doesn’t necessarily equate to more calories being burned. It’s simply your individual cooling system going to work.
And remember, the amount everyone sweats is different for a number of reasons so it isn’t really the best gauge.
It’s more important to understand the difference between the type of weight you may or may not be losing.
So I’ll say it again – fat loss and water weight loss are two different things.
Fat loss is more healthy and a better indicator that you’re taking a sustainable, more well rounded approach. This is essentially what most people are searching for.
Fat loss only comes over a long period of time through consistent exercise, healthy eating and sufficient sleeping patterns. Not simply just the amount you sweat.
Water loss through sweating is literally just that. It’s water. Nothing more. It’s a byproduct of your body’s cooling system and it needs to be replenished at some stage to help keep the body functioning properly. This means it’s temporary.
Yes, your body is working to produce the sweat which does mean it’s burning calories. Ultimately though, there are more defining factors that need to be understood if you want to lose the right type of weight, and more importantly sustain it.
‘’If you have a body, we can help you’’
Infinite Fitness Peninsula