Question

Fitness

If I sweat during my workout am I burning more fat?

A Answers (9)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Yes, but not in the way you might think. Sweat is water loss, not fat loss. Increasing heart rate (cardio workout) burns calories stored as fat. And if you are sweating, you are working hard enough that your heart rate has hit 80% of your age-adjusted max. The typical person doesn’t sweat from exercise till his or her heart rate hits 80% of the age-adjusted maximum. (We’re not talking about the sweating you do when that black-and-white with the flashing lights stops you when you are driving at a speed typical of Dr. Oz.)
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  • AMike Clark, DPT, Fitness, answered on behalf of Sharecare Fitness
    No.  Sweating is a physiological reaction to heat, working to cool the body down.  It is a means of thermoregulation.  When your muscles heat up, your body works to cool you down.  It is not connected to fat loss – however you might see a downward shift in your weight from the loss of water.  This can actually be dangerous and lead to severe dehydration.  If you find that you have lost significant weight after your workout, you will want to replace those fluids over the following 30 minutes to an hour, steadily drinking water or a drink with electrolytes (to help replace the salt you have lost during your sweat session).  While you might be reveling in the quick 5 pound drop, you are taxing your body and potentially leading to mild dehydration symptoms such as:  thirst, loss of appetite, dry skin, fatigue or weakness, chills, muscle cramping and headaches.  Another fact to consider is that individuals are born with two to four million sweat glands.  This often accounts for why some people sweat more than others.  In addition, men’s sweat glands are more active than women’s.  So if you see the person on the treadmill next to you drenched with sweat – don’t worry – they may not be working harder than you – they might just have a million more active sweat glands! 
  • No you are not.  All sweating is a cooling mechanism to cool off your body.  So just because you are sweating more doesn't mean you are burning fat in the process.  Burning more fat means you have to burn more calories than you take in.  The bigger your deficit is the quicker the weight and body fat drop. 
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  • AWendy Batts , Fitness, answered on behalf of Sharecare Fitness

    Sweating is a sign of your body trying to cool itself. As we heat up during exercise or activity, that heat energy has to be let off somehow. So our bodies release it as perspiration on the surface of the skin. Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of the amount of fat burning taking place but our bodies regulating our temperature to avoid overheating.

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  • ADominique Adair, Fitness, answered

    Sweat is a mechanism your body uses to cool off -- Think of it as your body’s air conditioner.  Not only does sweat cool the skin as it evaporates, but it cools inside as well as the body dissipates heat often associated with activity or environment or both.  That said, you might think that exercise that is hard enough for you to sweat, might also be associated with high energy expenditure, which might translate into fat loss over time.  However, there are many better ways to measure your level of exertion and associated fat loss than sweat (which is variable from person to person, and is also strongly tied to the temperature and humidity of the environment).  Instead of using sweat as your measurement, try working with a heart rate monitor or a fitness professional who can counsel you on "Perceived Exertion" -- a scale on which you measure how hard you feel you're working.  These are better ways to measure the fat burning potential of your exercise program.

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  • The amount you sweat during your workouts has nothing to do with the amount of fat you are burning. Sweating is just your body's way of cooling itself off when it gets too hot. Theoretically, you could perform an hour of intense circuit training in a walk-in freezer and not sweat a drop. By the same token, you can quite easily break a sweat just walking to the store on a hot July day in Las Vegas. Don't be fooled by "sauna suits" or other "weight loss clothing" either. These products will cause increased sweating, which will lead to temporary water weight loss, but can be counterproductive as exercise intensity and endurance will be compromised. Sweating during your workouts is a good thing, but not a good indicator of your level of exertion.

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  • AJoel Harper - Elite Trainer, Fitness, answered
    No, it is your body attempting to keep your body cool-homeostasis. That is why it is important to drink water every day. Take your body weight cut it in half and that is how many ounces you need to intake consistently each day. 
  • Sweat is a way for your body to maintain homeostasis not necessarily a way to determine how much fat you are burning.  Think of a thermostat in your home that regulates the temperature when it gets too cold or too hot.  You can set the thermostat at a set temperature, once it gets too cold the furnace kicks on.  Or during the summer, when it gets too hot, the air conditioner kicks on.
  • Sweat by itself does not indicate a higher fat burn. Sweat is one of your body's cooling mechanisms. When your internal temperature begins to rise, due to either metabolism or working muscles, the sweat glands are stimulated. The evaporation of sweat off of your skin produces a cooling effect.
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