Does sweating help you lose weight?

Sweating and weight loss

There are a few myths and misconceptions about sweating when exercising:

Myth #1. “If I sweat loads I will lose weight.”

Fact: Well yes I guess this is in PART true. But the weight you lose is water weight NOT fat weight, and will be replaced when you replace the necessary fluids during hydration!

Myth #2: “If I sweat excessively then that means I am unfit.”

Fact: Sweating is a way to thermoregulate (i.e. regulate your body temperature) and some people are more efficient at dissipating body heat than others, and this is NOT indicative of fitness levels.

When you exercise your body creates heat (when muscles contract the fibres slide over one another creating friction) and you have four methods to release this heat. Radiation, Convection, Conduction, and Evaporation. Now sweating comes under evaporation, but if it is actually dripping off you then it isn’t evaporating and therefore not really assisting you in cooling down. To help this along you will benefit from adding some convection (movement of air) via a fan as when airflow is added to a wet body it cools much faster than when it is added to a dry body.

Myth #3. “If you aren’t sweating whilst you exercise then you aren’t working hard enough”.

Fact: This is also incorrect. The explanation is the same as myth 2.

Your body loses as much as 1.5 litres of water a day and as much as that per hour during strenuous exercise in a hot environment.

As a general guideline, aim to drink around 8 cups or 2 litres/day (more if you exercise) and keep hydrated. However, this is just a guideline and each individual has different hydration requirements that will determine their specific intake.

Note: Fluid intake can also occur when consuming foods that contain water such as fruit and vegetables and this contributes to your required daily intake.