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Recently, I went to take a cardio fitness class at a local gym and I noticed something. I was the only woman who left the class with her hair TOTALLY drenched. The rest appeared not to have sweated at all – makeup and cute, dry ponytails still intact. I got to wondering what this means…does it mean that I’m working harder than they are? Or is it just a genetic thing – some women sweat more than others? Are there women who literally don’t sweat at all during exercise and what does THAT mean?
WHY WE SWEAT
Sweating is your body’s way of regulating its temperature. Your body excretes liquid through its sweat glands when its temperature increases as a way of cooling you down, so it is a healthy and necessary bodily function. When the sweat produced by your body begins to evaporate, your body cools. Without this cooling mechanism, your body temperature would raise too high for your organs and tissues to function properly.
DON’T SWEAT MUCH?
Some people just have more sweat glands than others, and perhaps you’re one of those. If you don’t sweat much, it’s possible you may be in better shape than some of the others around you. Or, if you’re taking a cardio class, lack of sweat may mean that the workout isn’t challenging enough for you to get an intense workout. If you’re curious about exercise intensity, try a heart rate monitor or checking your heart rate using the clock at the gym to determine if you’re working at your target heart rate during exercise. If you’re doing a intense circuit strength routine, like the ones we do in Athlean-XX for Women, chances are you’ll feel your heart rate elevated. If you’re not sweating copiously it’s probably just that you have fewer sweat glands than some of the rest of us.
DON’T SWEAT AT ALL?
If you exercise vigorously and do not sweat AT ALL, or don’t sweat during extremely high temperatures, this could be an indication of a health condition called anhidrosis. This condition can lead to overheating, so if you suspect you could have it, consult a physician.
SWEAT A LOT?
If you sweat a good deal during vigorous exercise sessions, there’s probably nothing wrong with you. It’s likely a good sign that you’re getting a good workout for whatever your current fitness level is. If you’re a heavy sweater, it’s particularly important that you rehydrate. Be sure you’re drinking plenty of water before, during and especially after your workouts.
But, here’s the million dollar question. Does sweating more mean you’ll lose more weight? Well, yes and no. Most of the direct weight loss from sweating will be short term water weight loss, which is why weight loss sweat suits and using a sauna for weight loss are just gimmicks. However, if you do sweat during your workouts, it’s likely that you’re working hard enough to burn off excess calories. So keep with what’s tried and true for weight loss – exercise and nutrition – and don’t fall for the gimmicks.
The important question to ask yourself is if you sweat excessively only during exercise or during normal daily activities as well. If you sweat excessively when seated at your computer or while washing dishes you may be in the 1% of the population that has a conditioned called hiperhidrosis. If you suspect this is you, see a physician.
For those of us whose heavy sweating is limited to strenuous physical activity and exercise, there’s probably nothing to worry about. Very heavy sweating probably indicates that you’re training quite hard, and your body is thus working harder to cool itself down. If you are very out of shape, you’ll definitely sweat more profusely as you increase your fitness level. However, profuse sweating does NOT mean you’re not in good shape. In fact, many professional athletes sweat buckets (if you’re a basketball fan, you may remember how heavily Michael Jordan sweated during games).
If sweat very heavily during your workouts like I do – no need to be alarmed. Take it as a sign you’re working hard and that your workout is working. Just make sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! If you’re a regular exerciser, shoot for 80 – 100 oz of water per day and make sure you’re drinking plenty before, as needed during, and plenty after your workout.
Looking for a super effective workout that will get you sweating in just 30 minutes per day, and looking amazing in just 90 days? Give Athlean-XX for Women a try. You’ll be amazed at what you can do for your body in just 30 minutes per day at home. 30 minutes might sound short, but our workouts are challenging strength circuits. You’ll get your strength training and your heart-pumping cardio in one fell swoop! Join us on Team Athlean and check out our Athlean-XX for Women SuXXess Stories to see what others have been able to do with minimal equipment and 30 minutes per day. Will you be neXXT?
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