Do You Need To Sweat During Exercise For A Better Workout?
Finishing a training session, swimming in pools of sweat, might give you a strange sense of satisfaction. But do you need to sweat during exercise to have a good workout?
You might see exercise as some form of punishment. And the amount you sweat is a barometer by which you measure the effectiveness of that punishment.
After all, sweat is fat crying, right?
So when you finish a training session, barely breaking sweat, is this a sign you didn't try hard enough?
In this article, you'll discover everything you need to know about why you sweat during exercise. And why it could be the most unreliable and pointless measure of progress.
So if you want to know why you shouldn't sweat it, when it comes to sweat, then read on.
And if you'd prefer to listen to the audio version of "Do You Need To Sweat During Exercise For A Better Workout?", click the play button below.
Why You Sweat During Exercise
Sweating is your body's in-built cooling system. And it's perfectly normal to sweat during exercise as your core temperature increases.
When, and how much, you sweat is influenced by body weight, gender, fitness level, climate, and a variety of other factors.
For example, start exercising to lose weight following a period of inactivity, then expect to sweat a lot during your workouts. Your fitness level is relatively low and you have excess weight. Both of which could cause a rapid change in core body temperature.
But this is normal. So don't hit the panic button if you start leaving wet patches on the weight machines. Just wipe them clean. Because you don't want to be one of those gym assholes.
And sweating isn't exclusive to those relatively unfit and needing to lose weight. A trained athlete may also sweat during exercise if it's hot. In this case, the trained athlete is more efficient at temperature regulation and may start sweating, quickly.
Is It Bad If You Don't Sweat During Exercise?
In the vast majority of cases, it's not an issue if you don't sweat during exercise.
You may be dehydrated or not raising your core temperature to the point where sweating is induced. So as long as you're not uncontrollably over-heating, and staying well-hydrated, there's little to be concerned about.
Is The Amount You Sweat During Exercise A Badge Of Honour?
The amount you sweat during exercise is a pointless yard stick of progress.
Performing the same workout in hot or cold conditions creates variances in the amount you sweat. But the effectiveness of your workout will remain unchanged.
Besides, my guess is you train in a temperature controlled gym. So external climate factors become less of a factor, anyway.
Building muscle is not comparable to more constant exercise, such as running, which elevates your heart rate for an extended period of time. More often than not, lifting weights is characterised by 30 seconds of effort, followed by 2-3 minutes of resting, texting, and taking the perfect selfie. Not exactly a recipe for an all-out sweat-fest.
Obviously, some exercises and workouts will be more intense than others. For example, squats and deadlifts are likely to induce sweating more than bicep curls.
The important thing to remember is that training a muscle as hard as possible has no direct relationship with sweat. After all, sweat isn't an indicator of progressive overload.
Creating tension on the muscle(s) you are training doesn't require sweat. It requires effort and good form, which may (or may not) cause you to sweat profusely.
Sweat during exercise doesn't matter when it comes to building muscle. Focus more on effort and execution. And if you sweat. You sweat...
Sweat Rates: Measuring How Much You Sweat During Exercise
How much you sweat during exercise (also known as 'Sweat Rate') might not be a marker of a good workout, but it could be useful information.
For example, a marathon runner or triathlete can use Sweat Rate data to develop an effective hydration strategy for training and competition. And here's how you can calculate your sweat rate.
Start by measuring sweat loss during exercise. This will mean you need to weigh yourself before and after training. You'll also need to account for any fluids consumed. Here's the calculations you need.
Sweat Loss (L) = Change in Bodyweight (kg) + Fluid Intake (L) - Fluid Loss (ie urine) (L).
Sweat Rate (L/h) = Sweat Loss / Duration of Exercise (mins) x 60.
But remember, the sweat rate you calculate is specific to the exercise and climate at the time of measurement. If you subsequently train in hotter climates and/or at increased intensity, your sweat rate will change.
As a guide, here are the average sweat rates for three common sports:
- Running = 1.2 L/h
- Soccer = 1.17 L/h
- Rugby = 2.06 L/h
So use the information to tailor your hydration strategy and optimise recovery, if it's beneficial to your sport.
The Bottom Line On How Important It Is To Sweat During Exercise
You don't need to sweat during exercise to have an effective workout. How hard you train your muscles has very little to do with how drenched your gym clothes get.
Most workouts that focus on building muscle, have long rest periods and don't cause an elevated heart rate for an extended period of time. And to put it simply, your muscle doesn't care about how much you sweat during exercise. It responds and grows according to the level of training stimulus, not perspiration.
Sweating is very individual and largely driven by your circumstances and environment.
And while the amount you sweat bares little relation to the effectiveness of your training, it's not completely useless information. If you compete in endurance sports, sweat rates may be an aspect of your nutrition worth considering.
But the bottom line is when comes to how much you sweat during exercise, don't sweat it.
What are your thoughts on the importance of sweating during your workouts? Do you feel as though you have worked hard enough if you're not sweating? Has this article changed your opinion on the topic? Let me know in the comments below, or drop me a message on Instagram (@iron_paradise_fitness).
Now You Know About Sweat And Exercise, Here's The Next Step In Achieving Your Fitness Goals
After reading this article, you understand that the amount you sweat during exercise isn't that important. But what about the other pieces of the puzzle? Maybe you feel my personal 1:1 coaching would help accelerate the process of achieving your fitness goals. And you'd be right!
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