Fitness Friday: The Sweat Belt Dilemma

Let’s talk about sweating.
Sweat happens, and when we workout we sweat. Some of us hop off the stairmill dripping, some of us barely break a sweat on the bike, and some people sweat standing in the squat rack. Everybody is different when it comes to their workout, hydration, and to their sweat rate.

Recently, I’ve had a lot of clients and class participants comment on how they are trying to sweat more during their workouts. That’s great! Putting in hard work and trying to increase your effort is awesome. But is basing your effort off of how much you sweat the right way to do it? Probably not.

Let’s talk science. Remember when I said everybody is different?

Why do we sweat?

When we take our temperature, 98.6*F is the number that comes to mind. With the onset of exercise, our bodies start to warm up! During prolonged exercise this temperature may go up to 100*F, but how do we keep ourselves from IMG_2213overheating?! Our body has several mechanisms which help to regulate our temperature. One of them is sweating.

What’s a sweat rate?
The amount of fluid lost during a bout of exercise. The average person sweats between 0.8 to 1.4 liters per hour while exercising. But that’s a fairly wide range! Everyone’s sweat rate is different and certain factors (i.e. hydration, temperature, and clothing) can influence your sweat rate, not just effort.

Knowing your sweat rate is especially helpful for runners and endurance athletes! Finding that magic number is key to make sure you aren’t dehydrated, but don’t drink too much. Check out this article from Runner’s World about calculating sweat rate.

What about sweat belts?
Have you heard of these? Typically a piece of neoprene that wraps around your abdomen and is worn while exercising. The intention behind these is that if you sweat more around your abs, you will burn the fat in that area.

sweat belt

Original image from Amazon.com

Your midsection is going to become hot and try to dissipate that heat through sweat; however, the weight lost is water weight. After your workout, that will be replenished as you hydrate your body with water and the weight comes right back. Remember, sweating more does not mean your body is expending more calories.

If your body is overheated, it may actually inhibit your exercise performance and you end up burning fewer calories. Limited range of motion can also be a factor that changes how effectively you are performing certain exercises. It is not possible to spot-reduce the weight from just your midsection. By wearing a sweat belt, you are not targeting the fat around your stomach.

Weight loss occurs when calories out exceed calories consumed. To lose one pound, you must create a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. An extra 500 calories out per day will help you achieve a one pound weight loss in a week! Keep that up and you’ll be on pace to reach your goals 🙂

Have a fabulous Friday,
Louise

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