Does More Sweat Equal a Better Workout?

I both an avid spinner and weight trainer – both leave me feeling totally different afterward. When I spin, I leave the studio dripping with sweat and out of breath (it’s also a closed-in studio with 43 other people and clearly high on the cardio scale). But with weightlifting, depending on what muscle group I’m working, I could leave the gym dry, as if I haven’t worked out at all. So, does this mean that my weight training isn’t giving me a good workout?

Not really. There’s a definite misconception that if you sweat more, you worked out better and harder, but that’s not always the case.

Why do I sweat? You sweat to lower your body temperature (so it makes sense that when I spin, I sweat more because I’m so damn hot) – then the sweat evaporates and your skin cools down, lowering your temperature.

Keep in mind that everyone’s body is different – so depending on lots of factors (temperature, humidity or even how in shape you are), how much you sweat will vary.

So, if I sweat more, do I burn more calories? Was my workout more effective? Hate to say it, but nope! After a sweaty run outside or a hot yoga class, you might notice your weight go down a bit but that’s just due to water weight, which will come back. They’ve even done research in heated yoga classes + the number of calories burned by men and women. The number was lower than some might think, but that’s because the heat helps muscle flexibility, not intensifying the workout.

Okay, so how can I make my workout more effective if I’m not measuring my sweat? Focus on how long your workouts are and how intense they are. If you’re looking to lose weight (aka burn more calories) – increase the duration of your workouts or the amount of cardio you’re doing. If you’re lifting weights, focus on the amount of weight your lifting and how many reps you’re doing.

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