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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Conrad

Sweating and Fat Burn

Do you ever see people wearing trash bags/jackets while they workout? The amount of sweat that's dripping on all the equipment is kind of gross.

Sweating is the body’s way of regulating body temperature. It is the cooling process to maintain a steady body temperature, but it is not a workout indicator. Sometimes we associate sweating with more calories burned, and that's not necessarily true.

Sweating itself doesn’t burn a measurable amount of calories, but sweating out enough liquid will cause you to lose water weight. It’s only a temporary loss though. Once you rehydrate by drinking water or eating, you’ll regain any lost weight.

Purposefully exercising in a hot or humid environment doesn't mean you're working harder to burn more fat. You're simply raising your body temperature to a point that prompts you to sweat more. Working hard in a hot, humid conditions can actually be dangerous. Wearing sweats or other warm clothing may also prompt you to sweat more, but it won't make you lose fat faster than someone in shorts. It'll simply make you sweat sooner and possibly lose more water weight, not fat.

How many calories does sweating burn?

Some say sweat-filled activities like Bikram yoga allow you to burn up to 1,000 calories an hour — but that's likely false. One study found that in a 90-minute Bikram yoga class, women burned an average of only 330 calories, and men burned 460 calories. If I walked briskly uphill for 45 min I could burn the same amount. But if you enjoy feeling like you can't breath for the first 15 minutes of class, enjoy Bikram yoga - just be aware that you might get yelled at in class if your form isn't on point.

You can also burn calories during activities where you don’t sweat much, or at all. For example, you still burn calories swimming, lifting light weights, or exercising even when it’s cold outside.

Why do some people sweat more than others?

How much you sweat is based on a variety of factors, including:


environmental factors


fitness level


Of these factors, your weight and fitness level will mostly influence how much you sweat during exercise. Your body needs to use more energy to function at a higher weight. This results in more sweat, because there’s more body mass to cool down. More fit people also tend to sweat more, but this is because their cooling system is especially efficient at regulating temperature -- giving them the ability to work harder for longer.

Risks to sweating?


If you’re sweating, you’re losing water, and if you don't drink you will become dehydrated. The hotter it is, the more you'll sweat. Don't be a turd and wait until you get thirsty. Sip on water every 15-20 minutes. If you're workout is intense and longer that 60 minutes, add some electrolytes in your water.

Severe dehydration can be dangerous. Get medical help for these symptoms right away:

extreme exhaustion or confusion

dizziness when you stand that doesn’t go away after a few seconds

not urinating for eight hours

weak pulse

rapid pulse


loss of consciousness

If you enter a workout dehydrated, you may not sweat efficiently either. Your body increases in temperature, but you're unable to effectively cool the body back down. This results in a decreased ability to perform and is why hydration is critical to exercise success.


If you regularly sweat excessively, you may have a condition called hyperhidrosis. See your doctor if sweating disrupts your daily routine. Also, check in with your doctor if you get night sweats for no known reason, or you’re suddenly sweating excessively. Unless you're a woman going through menopause. God bless you. This too shall pass.

Get medical help right away if sweating occurs with:

fever of 104°F (40°C) or higher

chest pain

shortness of breath

rapid heart rate

How to lose weight safely

Calories in < calories out. You need to burn off more calories than you take in. Around 3,500 calories equal 1 pound of fat. So you need to burn off 3,500 more calories than you consume to lose 1 pound.

The best way to achieve a healthy weight without obsessing over numbers is to adopt an active lifestyle. Eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly (3-5 days a week for at least 30 min) is the most effective. Find your Fitness Lifestyle.

The Bottom Line

Sweating out water weight may help you temporarily drop a few pounds quickly. Wrestlers who need to be at a certain weight to compete use this technique. I've heard rumors of them drinking soap to drop a few pounds...eek!

However, the calories lost aren’t significant, and this isn’t a healthy way to lose weight overall.

So if I see any off you wearing a trash bag out in the 90 degree weather, please know you will be judged and I will send an ambulance your way for when you pass out.

If you're looking for guidance towards a SAFER way of working out, take my application for online training:


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