Break A Sweat!
Exercise and Hydration
We hear it all the time: “Break that sweat…come on now!” We grow up thinking that the more you sweat, the better the workout. While this is true to some extent, there are certain limitations and myths that go along with it. Here’s the myth: “If I sweat when I workout…then the more sweat the better the workout!”
Wrong. And we see it all the time. People work out with hooded sweaters and long sweat pants with the desire to burn fat thinking that the sweat dripping off their bodies is the fat melting away. What irks me the most is when I see a person jogging down the street with a plastic suit on! Or better yet, the plastic suit with a sweater over it. Boxers, wrestlers and MMA fighters do it all the time. Making weight is just as part of the strategy as your fists, but that’s another story.
So if you put on a plastic suit and lose five pounds in 2 hours (believe me, I did it in high school wrestling) you shouldn’t worry about it right?
Wrong. With sweating you lose body water along with other electrolytes (sodium and potassium) that are very important for your body’s functions.
This leads to fatigue, dehydration and cramping.
“The fact is that sweat (a.k.a. perspiration) is the way the body cools itself – that’s it. Plain and simple. Your body’s temperature goes up, out comes the sweat.”
To burn fat you need to burn calories and the way the body burns calories is through cardiovascular exercise and weight training – regardless of how much you sweat. For example, Joe works out for 30 minutes in his tank top, burns 300 calories and loses 1 cup of sweat. If Joe decides to put a sweater on instead, he will sweat more and lose more water, but he will burn the same amount of calories!
The confusion arises when people weigh themselves before and after a workout. Although it varies from person to person, you can easily lose 3-5 pounds of weight after about an hour of intense exercise. Have you carried a gallon of water lately? It’s pretty heavy right? Well then, the more you sweat, the more water you’ll lose, but that’s it, you’re just losing water. The minute you have drink, and I hope you will, you’ll put it back. Here are a few tips taken from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):
o Drink up before you begin to exercise. ACSM recommends at least 16 ounces two hours before a workout.
o Drink 4-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes during exercise.
o If you’re exercising intensely, in heat or for more than one hour, drink a sports drink to help replace electrolytes.
o If you’ve lost weight after exercising, you’ve lost water. Drink 16 ounces of fluid per pound of body weight lost.
o If you’re exercising in heart, either indoors or out, or at elevations above 8000 feet, you’re going to lose more fluid than usual, so drink more.