Does Sweating Burn Calories?

by Matt Wilson
Last Updated: 18/04/2021
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Does sweating burn calories? This is the question most of us have asked at the start of the fitness journey. 

Well, sweating is the body’s natural way of regulating body temperature, releasing salts and water to help you cool. 

Sweating alone is not a measure of the number of calories burned during your workout class; neither is it a determinant of how much weight you will lose with time. However, a good sweat will lead to loss of water weight which you will gain back once you drink water. 

This article dives deep into the topic; does sweating burn fat. Continue reading to understand the role sweat plays in your workout. 

Key Takeaways

  • Sweating does not burn calories, but it can be an indication of a workout’s intensity levels. 
  • You do not lose weight from sweating; however, you lose water weight and electrolytes that build back after rehydrating. 
  • Moderate to high-intensity exercises may result in more sweating; however, the amount of sweat does not determine the amount of fat you burn. 

How Does Sweating Burn Calories?

Sweating is an indication of the energy you expend, generating internal body heat. That means, if you are exercising hard enough, you will be burning calories in the process. These calories could come from stored fat in the body or from eating carbs. 

When you work out, the body tends to use carbohydrates first. It is important to note that that will depend on your overall output and workout duration. 

The body tends to use carbs first because carbs are stored in the muscles and liver; therefore, they are easier to access. However, since they are available in limited amounts, the body uses the fat reserves for energy, which leads to burning fat. 

How Many Calories Does Sweating Burn?

The amount of calories you use is not dependent on how much sweat during your workout. It solely depends on the type of workout and duration of it. That said, different exercises or activities will use up more calories than others.

For example, a 90-minute hot yoga class burns around 330 calories for women and 460 calories for men, according to a research study by the Colorado State University [1]. Regardless of how much you sweat, the calories burned will remain the same.

This study shows that the number of calories used is higher in men than in women ( when doing hot yoga).

It is essential to note that you can lose fat doing activities where you don’t sweat. For example, when you swim, lift a heavy object or exercise in extremely cold temperature, you still lose fat without necessarily breaking a sweat. 

Sweating can be a way to measure your performance or how hard you “go” at the gym. That said, it is recommended you have at least 30 minutes to an hour of moderate-intensity exercise each day for at least five days a week [2].

Do You Lose Weight From Sweating?

Well, if you take your weight after a sweaty workout, you may have lost some pounds. But, as mentioned earlier, this is most likely water weight that will return back once you rehydrate. 

Therefore, this will not count as ‘real’ lost weight because, after rehydrating, which you should do anyway, your actual weight will be reflected on the scale. 

Another reason you may weigh lighter after a sweaty workout is the intense sweating leading to the loss of electrolytes and minerals through your sweat glands. This is why it is essential to replenish your electrolytes and minerals as you rehydrate. 

Some good sources of electrolytes are sports drinks. However, be careful with these as most are loaded with sugar. Look for sports drink brands that have low sugar content and high electrolyte and mineral content. 

A short answer to this is sweating does not indicate weight loss. It is a determinant of the degree of performance. But, this does not take away from the fact that some people naturally sweat more than others. 

Also, your diet plays a significant role in how much weight you will lose.

How Do You Know You Are Burning Fat?

Now that you have understood that sweating does not indicate how much fat you burn, how do you keep a tab on your fat loss? If you are training for weight loss, this is certainly something you want to keep track of and monitor. 

A simple answer to this question is that if you exercise at a level that gets you sweating, you are most likely burning fat.

It is essential to understand that how much sweat you produce depends on a variety of factors. 

For example, if you work out in a heated gym or out in the heat, then you will naturally sweat more than running outdoors early in the morning when the humidity is lower. Also, some people sweat more than others regardless of the level of workout intensity. 

Therefore, if you want to maximise your fat-burning process, focus on your intensity levels more than the sweat amounts. 

A tip for this is to work out at a lower intensity for a longer duration. That way, the body will naturally use fat reserves as fuel for your exercise. When you increase your intensity, you shift to carbs as they are easier and quicker to access than fat. 


Why Do Some People Sweat More Than Others?

Several factors affect how much sweat you produce during a workout. Here are some of them:

  • Environmental factors
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Genetics
  • Fitness/ health levels

The most outstanding factors of these are weight and fitness level. These will influence how much you sweat during exercise. 

You will need to use more energy to function with a heavier weight when. This results in more sweat as the body will require more mass to cool down. 

If you are in better shape, you tend to sweat quicker. This is because, with a consistent exercise routine each day, you get more efficient at regulating body temperature.  

That results in cooling down faster, allowing you to work out for a more extended period at a steady intensity. 

The environment you are in will determine how much sweat you produce. If you run outside in the heat for an hour a day, you will most likely sweat more than running early in the morning. 

What Are The Benefits Of Sweating?

As much as sweating does not help you lose fat, it does come with a few benefits. The main benefit is cooling you down after an intense workout or activity. 

Another benefit is healthier skin. The intense training gets your blood circulating throughout your body, allowing oxygen and nutrients to reach and nourish your skin cells. Sweat glands open, releasing salts and moisture in the form of sweat, which is beneficial for the skin.

Another significant benefit of sweating is the challenge you set for yourself. If you are exercising to the level of a considerable amount of sweat, you are most probably doing challenging exercises that push you even more. 

Can Sweating Burn Fat Around The Belly?

No. Sweating does not burn fat around your belly. Cardio and core exercises do. You may break a sweat during exercise but how much sweat you produce is not an indication of the fat you lose around your belly. 

That said, you should focus on ab exercises that will get you the fat burn around that area. Note, however, that most exercises will not use fat from a specific part only. Exercises crafted for fat loss will, to some extent, use fat from every part of your body. 

Does Sweating More Indicate Burning More Calories? 

No. Your performance during workouts determines how many calories you burn. But, if you are sweating more, this could indicate a rise in your intensity, which would lead to burning more calories.

The Bottom Line

Sweating does not burn calories but can help you determine your intensity levels during workouts. Therefore, it is essential to focus on exercise, fitness level, and fitness routine for weight loss and general health. 


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