Does Sweat Really Equal Weight Loss?


Filed under: Weight Loss


You’ve just returned from your morning run, breathing heavily and dripping sweat, and you step on the bathroom scale. Hooray! You’ve just lost another pound. Or did you?

Young athletic man taking a break during a challenging jogging outdoorWe often see a difference on the scale immediately after a good workout. But realistically, you can’t lose an entire pound during a thirty-minute jog. What really happens is that you lost quite a lot of fluid through your sweat. Don’t get us wrong; you definitely burned some calories on that jog, and it will most certainly lead to weight loss. But a sudden difference on your scale usually points to dehydration, not a miraculous calorie burn. To prevent problems such as dizziness and muscle cramps, you need to rehydrate right away.

But that sweat is a sign of a good workout, right?

Yes and no. The amount that each person perspires has a lot more to do with their personal physiology. Some people are simply born with more sweat glands, and therefore appear to sweat more than other people.

And of course, some people appear to sweat buckets while sitting on a park bench on a hot summer day, whereas others might sweat minimally while hiking in cool weather. Obviously, the person climbing a mountain is the one burning more calories!

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t measure the success of a workout by how much you sweat. Track your heart rate instead, or even rate your own exertion level by how difficult you perceive the workout to be. Either of these methods is more a more reliable indicator of calorie burn than sweat or seeing an immediate difference on the scale afterward.

This also means that those saunas, sweat suits, and heated yoga classes don’t provide any additional calorie burn. You can pursue those activities if you enjoy them, or believe in the toxin-flushing properties of sweating. Just don’t fall for the notion that you’re burning more calories through sweating profusely. What you’re really doing is dehydrating your body, and seeing a temporary “result” on the scale.

A balanced diet, adequate water intake, and regular exercise plan is still the not-so-secret “secret” to weight loss.



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