You’ve tried hot yoga and CrossFit. You are accustomed to sweating while you’re working out. Your scale may even indicate a small weight loss following a trip to the gym. Does that mean you’re sweating your way to a leaner body? Or more importantly, does sweating help you lose weight?
In this article, we hope to answer that question as we explore several theories on the relationship between sweating and weight loss
It is common knowledge that weight loss is associated with fat loss. So does sweating help weight loss too? The answer is a bit complex and involves a number of factors.
To start, let’s discuss the function of sweat. It occurs when your body is trying to reduce its internal temperature. It may also signify your level of exertion. You are more likely to generate a large volume of sweat during an intense workout as opposed to a lighter workout.
Moreover, the amount of sweat production also varies from individual to individual. The amount a person sweats is determined by internal and external factors. For example, genetics, health, lifestyle, diet, and weather conditions can all affect the amount of sweat a person’s body generates.
As mentioned earlier, sweat is basically water coming out of your body as a mechanism to reduce your internal temperature. Thus, if you weigh yourself before a workout, and then immediately after, the weight will likely decrease. However, that is just the amount of water you lost as sweat during the workout. Thus sweating and weight loss appear to be related.
But as soon as you drink enough water, your weight will increase due to the water that is back in your body. Of course, if you burned some fat during the workout, then that weight loss will remain. So when considering if sweating helps weight loss, hydration only plays a temporary role.
Sweating can serve as a measure of an effective workout in some individuals, and not in others. However, as a rule of thumb if you are sweating after a workout it means that you had an effective workout.
The amount of sweat you produce also depends on the type of activity you are involved in. If it is a light activity like brisk walking, then you are less likely to sweat. Yet, more intense workouts, like High Interval Intensity Training (HIIT), likely result in a greater volume of sweat.
To elaborate, HIIT is a type of workout when you engage in intense physical activities in small bursts while resting in between. This type of physical activity has been scientifically proven to be helpful in losing weight; thus linking weight loss and sweating. However, it is important to note that sweating without the component of physical activity does not promote weight loss.
Sweating itself does not cause calorie burn. However, many processes that lead to calorie burn will produce sweat as a by-product. Yet again, even in the calorie-burning aspect, the relationship between sweat and weight loss is not straight forward.
As mentioned earlier, sweating is a sign that your body needs to cool down. It can either be due to hot weather or due to burning calories. As a result, if you are not sitting under the scorching sun, the sweat is likely caused by calorie burning.
The calories burned can either be from carbohydrates or fats. In most normal cases, carbohydrates are burned first. Then the body switches to burning fats, which are usually stored in ample amounts. So, does sweating help you lose weight? Not by itself, but it is a strong indicator that calories are being burned.
So, does sweating make you lose weight? The bottom line is that sweating contributes to the loss of water weight, which you will likely replenish to avoid dehydration. And if you sweat a lot during an intense workout, it is likely that you are burning calories and fat, which will eventually lead to weight loss.
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