Beverly Personal Training & Fitness Consulting

Does sweating mean you're getting a good workout?

You might think that sweating is a sign of a good workout. But there is a big problem with that reasoning.

If that were true, then I certainly would not own a fitness studio. Instead, I’d be a pilot, or at least a travel agent or tour guide. I’d promote trips flying people to tropical beaches where the blazing sun is guaranteed to induce a nice sweat while we bask in the sun sipping fruity drinks (organic, protein infused of course). Surely that would be an easier and more lucrative way to get folks healthy, right? Or perhaps for the time restricted or travel phobic, I’d be dealing saunas. A sure fire way to sweat, and get in great shape, right?

The secret to weight loss?

Clearly, getting a good sweat is not the sign of a good workout. In fact, you don’t even need to sweat to get a good workout.To understand why, let’s consider some facts about sweating, then some facts about working out.

Sweating is to cool (funny how and extra ‘o’ really changes this sentence)

The purpose of sweating as it pertains to exercise is to dissipate body heat.  When your core temp gets hot, the nervous system triggers the release of water through the endocrine glands. This serves to cool your body when it evaporates off your skin. Sweat is not triggered by heart rate or movement, but rather the hypothalamus.

Fit People Sweat more

People adapt, and the more you workout, the better you are at regulating your body’s systems, including temperature regulation. So more fit people will likely sweat earlier into their workout, and sweat more.


Why this is important:

First of all, you could be getting a great workout and not sweat much. The most obvious example of this is swimming. Why would your body sweat if it’s being cooled off well by the water you are immersed in?

Second, just standing in a hot room could make you sweat. Don’t confuse that with an activity that will be good for you to lose weight (as the water loss will be immediately regained when you hydrate, which you must do lest you’d like to die).

Third, not all workouts should be focused on significantly raising core temperature. Some workouts are focused on learning new movements or increasing mobility. These don’t always require sweating to be effective.

And finally, some people simply sweat more than others, so it might have nothing to do with how good of a workout you are getting.

Better Indicators of a good workout

Don’t buy into the myth that sweating is a sign of a good workout. Instead, focus on other better indicators of a good workout like:

You’ve learned how to move better, you can do more than what you were previously able to do, or my favorite…you better understand why your workout makes sense for your goals.

Want to get a better workout? Don’t guess, assess! Start here.

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