Sweat may be an indication of an intense, fat-burning workout, or it could simply be a reaction to an especially hot or humid day. Sweating doesn’t burn fat; it helps regulate your body temperature.
If high-intensity exercise causes you to sweat, you may be burning significant calories – many of which may come from fat.
But, forcing yourself to sweat more by working in hot conditions or wearing heavy clothes won’t lead to additional fat loss.
Your body creates sweat to cool you off when your body temperature gets too high. You’re born with between two and four million sweat glands, and how much you sweat depends on the number of sweat glands you have (more glands equal more sweat).
Women tend to have more sweat glands than men, but men’s glands are more active, so they sweat more. Perspiration is also affected by how hot it is, how intensely you’re exercising, and whether or not you smoke or drink coffee or cocktails, smoking, caffeine, and alcohol can increase perspiration.
What you’re wearing also affects your sweat as synthetic fabrics trap in heat. Fat also acts as an insulator, so overweight people sweat more than those of normal weight.
What is sweat?
Sweat is your body’s reaction when your core temperature exceeds 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In an effort to maintain your body’s preferred temperature, your brain activates the sweat glands in your skin.
You start to lose water along with salts, sugar, and minute amounts of the waste products created during protein breakdown. Between 2 million and 4 million sweat glands on your body release sweat to cool you down.
Some people sweat more than others, even in the same conditions. The temperature and humidity level does influence your sweat rate, but so does your genetics, gender, age, and fitness level.
When moisture in sweat evaporates off your skin, it cools you down. You sweat more in heat and humidity, but that doesn’t mean you’re burning more calories or fat; it simply means your body has to release perspiration to bring your body temperature down.
Larger people tend to sweat more because they have a greater amount of body mass to cool down. Fitter people also tend to sweat more, but this is because their cooling system is especially efficient — giving them the ability to work harder for longer.