Sweat: Does it really make you burn more fat?

Sweat. Often the first word that springs to mind in the quest for weight loss and improved fitness levels. And sure, if you workout hard you’re likely to sweat. Sweat is often a sign that you’ve successfully increased your heart rate, pushed your body to the limits and kept going past your comfort zone. But does sweating really make you burn more fat? In short, the answer is no! 

The number of people I’ve witnessed whack on the layers over the years in the belief it’s going to speed up weight loss never ceases to amaze me. Being hot, perspiring, sweating when you exercise is no different to sweating on the sun lounger with a glass of vino and a gossip mag in hand. Sweat is simply the body’s way of regulating its temperature by releasing water and salt, NOT the body’s way of getting rid of fat. Those water droplets rolling off your forehead are not akin to melted butter I’m afraid. And the number of calories you’re burning does not increase when you start to perspire.

If sweating doesn’t make me lose weight, why am I always lighter after an intensive cardio session?

Sweating gets rid of water weight, so temporarily you’ll weigh less. This is why boxers and MMA fighters train with lots of layers on then take a sauna prior to their weigh-in so that they ‘make weight’ for a fight. Do not mistake lost water weight for having shed body fat.

Can I drop body fat without sweating?

In truth, yes you can! Sweat is a very personal thing. Some people sweat more than others. If Tina on the treadmill is sweating like a b*tch and you feel nice and cool, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fitter than her, nor is it an indication of who is working harder. Some people sweat buckets, some barely sweat at all- it’s as simple as that! 

Does temperature affect weight loss at all?

Some studies suggest that if your body temperature is low, this can help to stimulate development of “brown fat” a “good” fat that helps to rev up your metabolism. 

According to a study published in the journal Diabetes, blasting the air con or turning down the heat in winter may help your body attack tummy fat while you sleep because colder temperatures subtly enhance the effectiveness of our stores of brown fat. Participants in the study spent a few weeks sleeping in bedrooms with varying temperatures, and after a month those who slept in 66° Fahrenheit rooms (the lowest temperature tested), had nearly doubled their volumes of “good” brown fat.

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