Is it True Sweating More Makes you Lose Weight?

Some people still believe that sweating is related to the amount of calories you burn, but it's not true. We'll explain why not.
Is it True Sweating More Makes you Lose Weight?

Last update: 26 May, 2022

It’s a common myth that the more sweat-soaked your workout clothes get, the more pounds you’re losing. However, it’s not true at all that sweating more makes you lose more weight. The number of calories you’re burning has to do with things unrelated to sweating. After all, if that weren’t true, people who didn’t sweat wouldn’t lose an ounce!

Here we’ll answer the question: do you really get slimmer the more you sweat?

Sweat, weight loss, and exercise

Sweating more makes you want to drink more water

Let’s take a minute to look at what’s happening in the gym or workout area. When you get done with your class or exercise routine, some people are soaked in sweat and need to use a towel and change their clothes. Others, on the other hand, are as dry as if they haven’t moved a finger.

Is the first person losing more weight than the second?

This is a popular belief. However, just because a lot of people believe it doesn’t make it true. In order to be able to determine if more sweat means more calories burned, let’s figure out what happens in your body when you exercise.

Exercise and the body

In order to cool you down when your body temperature gets too high, your body has a mechanism we call sweating. Basically, you excrete water through the sweat glands located in your skin. This lowers your body temperature.

The quantity of sweat glands you have is determined by your genes, and they don’t work the same in all human beings. Studies have revealed that the more you sweat, the more sweat glands you have (the average is between 2 and 4 million over your whole body).

Women usually have more than men, but men’s sweat glands are more active (up to 50% more). In addition, they have a different body composition: men have more water in their body and their sweat is more acidic. Hormonal differences are the reason.

Female athletes, for example, start to sweat at a higher temperature and from deeper tissues. At the same effort and temperature, men sweat more. Women, on the other hand, have more mechanisms for cooling their body (especially circulatory mechanisms).

When you start sweating more, you need to drink more water

That’s why if you look around the gym, you’re likely to see men sweating and women with reddened skin (especially the face). This happens because the capillaries at the surface of their skin are dilating and giving off heat.

How much you sweat also depends on:

  • The weather (humidity and heat cause more sweating)
  • The intensity at which you’re exercising
  • If you drink alcohol or coffee
  • If you smoke
  • What you’ve eaten (spicy foods increase your body temperature)
  • Your weight or how much body fat you have

So, does sweating more cause me to slim down?

Sweating more just makes you thirstier

It has been proven that overweight people sweat more than slimmer people. The excess body fat increase body temperature because it acts as a “coat.” When there’s effort and movement, your body sweats to give off heat.

That means that sweating does not burn calories. Slimming down is more closely related to other factors like muscle mass and fat tissue. It’s true that when you sweat you lose weight, but these pounds lost are made up of water and minerals lost through your sweat. In other words, you don’t lose fat through your sweat glands.

Check this article out: What you should and shouldn’t do before exercise

What you lose exercising you’ll gain back as soon as you drink water or sports drinks. But never stop hydrating before, during, and after exercising.

It’s important to clarify that sweating does not increase calorie burning, so if you sweat a lot during your workout, you may have burned less fat than that person who didn’t sweat even a drop.

So why does exercise slim you down?

Working out or aerobic activity has the ability to make you lose weight, but not because of how much you sweat when you’re exercising.

Where does the weight loss come from, then?
From the intensity of the exercise you’re doing. For example, running 30 minutes burns 300 calories, independent of how soaked your shirt is with sweat.

Don’t forget that sweat is how your body keeps your body temperature stable. That is its function, not helping you lose weight to look good in that bikini.

If slimming down were as simple as sweating, all you’d have to do is sit in front of an oven, go to the sauna, or lay in the sun in the middle of the day. But that doesn’t work.

What exercise will burn fat?

We’ve already busted that myth of sweating being equivalent with slimming down. We’ve also said that if you want to lose weight you must choose high or moderate-intensity exercise. We’re sure you want to know what kind of exercise that is!

Here you go:

  • Aerobic exercise
  • A light walk
  • Jogging
  • Skiing
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Boxing
  • Martial arts

When you do any of these activities, your muscles get energy from your fat reserves, thus reducing them. Along with a proper diet, they will help you get the results you’re looking for.

Remember: it doesn’t matter how much you sweat. What matters is how hard and how long you work.

  • Hendricks AJ., Vaughn AR., Clark AK., Yosipovitch G., et al., Sweat mechanisms and dysfunctions in atopic dermatitis. J Dermatol Sci, 2018. 89 (2): 105-111.
  • Hodge BD., Sanvictores T., Brodell RT., Anatomy, skin sweat glands. StatPearls, 2020.
  • Takahagi S., Tanaka A., Hide M., Sweat allergy. Allergol Int, 2018. 67 (4): 435-441.