Sweating to That Summer Body
If you ain't sweatin', you ain't workin'...or are you?
Many chalk the intensity (and fat burning capability) of a workout up to how much sweat it produced, but how much of this is true? While, yes, a high intensity workout will make you sweat more, does that mean that a lifting session without streams of perspiration running down your face was a waste of a workout? Most certainly not.
For some odd reason, people view sweat as a sign of fat melting-- as if the sweat coming through your pores is actually liquefied fat leaving your body. The truth is, sweating doesn't burn fat; it helps regulate your body temperature. Sweat is the body's natural reaction to its core temperature exceeding 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It is your body's way of cooling itself down.
So, you can wrap yourself in saran wrap, you can sit in a sauna for extended periods of time, you can run a million miles in a sweatshirt and layers, but that isn't going to magically erase fat--despite what your scale says immediately after!
Regardless of the number on the scale taking a dip after a shirt-drenching workout, you have not lost fat, you've simply lost water (as previously talked about here). And while that is helpful at times, it is only temporary.
(How absolutely ridiculous are these things, by the way?? Is a little bit of water weight really worth looking like a fool???)
So, if sweat doesn't melt fat, then what does??
Well, the process of "fat melting" or "fat burning" isn't actually melting or burning at all, but rather breaking down, and this breaking down occurs when your body calls for energy and pulls it from your fat cells.
Now, if you're lounging outside by the pool on a hundred degree day, sweating, you are not exerting much energy and your body is not searching for energy within your fat cells--your sweat is simply a result of your body's cooling system. However, if you're sweating as a result of a hard workout and not just the external temperature, then you are likely using energy and burning fat.
With that in mind, if you're trying to sweat your way to your summer bod, make sure you're approaching it the right way.
While a hot yoga class can be relaxing and help you strip some water weight you may be retaining, it is not going to slim down your problem areas. Instead, opt for a (possibly less sweaty), weight training workout! Seeing as though weight training builds muscle, you are not only eliminating fat, but also increasing your "after-burn" period (the duration of time in which you continue to burn calories after you've left the gym) by increasing your muscle mass.
Not to mention you're sweating in a more productive way than just releasing fluids ;)