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Last Updated on December 15, 2020

Does Sweating Burn Fat? Find out the Truth Here

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Does Sweating Burn Fat? Find out the Truth Here

When I was training martial arts years ago, there was a guy training while wearing a huge insulated jacket in the gym. It was 25 degrees outside. He was trying to slim down for a fight he would have 3 months from then. He was sweating like a pig (speaking about the iron ore smelting,[1] of course). In the training session, you felt sweat from this guy dropping on your face. That guy honestly thought that losing sweat means losing fat.

Does sweating burn fat? I wish I would’ve had the necessary knowledge back then, because if so, I could have told him that it doesn’t work this way.

Why we sweat

We sweat to minimize body temperature. Our body tries to be on a constant 37°C body temperature with slight fluctuations during the day. At this temperature, the enzyme activities of your body work the best.

Once your body exceeds these comfortable 37°C, it activates your sweat glands. You start to lose water along with salts, sugar and tiny amounts of waste products. You have about 2 to 4 million sweat glands in your body that cool you down.

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The amount you sweat heavily depends on your genetics. The temperature and humidity level does influence your sweat rate, but so does your gender, age and fitness level.

You sweat more in heat and humidity, but that doesn’t mean you’re burning more calories or fat. It simply means your body has to release perspiration to bring your body temperature down. People with a higher amount of body fat tend to sweat a lot more because they have a greater amount of body mass to cool down.

Sweat and body fat

Fat gets released from fat cells to provide your body with energy. Your body breaks down the fat into its parts — fatty acids and glycerol — which are then metabolized.

Fat is quite hard to metabolize, but it’s possible. Read this article to see how I’ve lost my body fat or get in contact if you’re looking for a coach. The more energy you need, the more your body pulls from your fat cells. The bodily function that causes you to use fat for energy operates independently of the one that causes you to sweat.

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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.

When I was younger, I also thought that sweating increases the rate of body fat that you burn. If you sweat more, it simply means that you’re working harder, am I right?

But we have to realize that sitting on a beach on a 100-degree day doesn’t require a lot of energy and doesn’t use notable amounts of fat. You sweat because your body is just in need of serious thermoregulation.

On the other hand, when you work hard in sub-zero temperatures such as jogging in winter, you still burn fat even if your body doesn’t sweat as much to cool you down.

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Weight loss or just water gone?

You may notice that after a shirt-drenching workout, the number on the scale has gone down. You haven’t dropped a few pounds of fat, but you have lost a fair amount of fluids. This is also why training with a jacket can make sense for a martial artist to lose weight short-term (to fit the right weight-class), but not months ahead of the competition.

But for normal people looking to get fit, you should replace that lost weight with water or a sports drink to avoid dehydration.

If you enter a workout dehydrated, you may not sweat at all. Your body increases in temperature but is unable to cool down efficiently again. This results in a decreased ability to perform. This is also why hydration is critical to reaching your performance goals.

Consume about half a litres until you begin a workout and at least 0.3 litres every 20 minutes during the workout session. In the end, you can drink 0.5 litres again (this might also help in muscle buildup).

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Pro Tip: Weigh yourself before and after the workout and then compare the two numbers. When the scale says you’ve lost weight, drink fluids immediately. At best 0.5 litres to make up for every kilogram that you’ve lost.

Conclusion

You’ve probably heard about “Sweat is fat crying”. While I know it’s just a saying to get people stay motivated, now you know that it’s not true.

Sweating more doesn’t mean losing more fat. You sweat because your body is just in need of thermoregulation.

The harder you work out, the more sweaty you get because you are raising your body temperature to a point that prompts you to sweat more to cool down your body.

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Reference

[1] Now I Know: Sweating Like a Pig

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Florian Wüest

Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

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Last Updated on October 4, 2021

5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

  • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
  • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
  • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
  • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
  • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
  • Total: 20 to 22 hours

Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

  • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
  • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
  • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

No equipment? No problem.

So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

  • Quadruped Rocks
  • Frog Stretch
  • Hip Prying
  • Scapula Push-ups
  • Hindu push-ups

Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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2. Yoga

Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

3. Calisthenics

Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

4. Aerobic Exercise

Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

Chipper 60

Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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“Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

Stress

We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

Stimulants

Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
[2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

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