Over the last 10 years working as a personal trainer I can’t count how many times I have been asked two very common questions related to exercise. The first is whether or not being sore the next day equates to a good workout. The second question relates to whether or not sweating a lot equates to a better workout. In today’s article, I will be answering once and for all whether or not sweating a lot is the same thing as getting a good workout.
For the longest time before I was a personal trainer, I always judged the quality of my workouts based on how drenched I was afterwards. It always baffled me that some days I could get soaking wet while other days I felt like it was impossible.
Sweating happens due to the increase of body temperature. Your body will release sweat from your eccrine glands in order to lower your body temperature by the evaporation of the sweat off of your skin. Sweating can also be caused due to other stresses and fear, but in terms of exercise, increased body temperature is the reason you sweat.
Let’s go more in depth over the factors that affect sweating in order to determine whether sweating is metric you should be using to measure the quality of your workout.
Your Sex Can Affect How Much You Sweat
In general, men tend to sweat more than women. So if you are out on a run with your husband, don’t be jealous by how soaked he is afterwards relative to yourself. Instead, how him how easy the run was for you because you barely broke a sweat 😉
Your Age Can Affect How Much You Sweat
In general, younger people sweat more than older people. This is due to the fact that the activity and efficiency of our sweat glands decrease as we age.
Temperature and Humidity Can Affect How Much You Sweat
Have you ever gone on vacation to a place that is either hot or humid? When I went on vacation to the Caribbean I noticed that I didn’t even have to be moving at all to be completely drenched in sweat. That is because the moisture in the air is so high that it practically feels like you are sitting in a steam room. You are not actually sweating; you are just noticing moisture from the air on your skin. Of course places that tend to be hotter can elicit you to sweat more due to the body’s need to cool itself down.
Your Fitness Level Can Affect How Much You Sweat
Contrary to popular belief, people that are fit tend to start sweating sooner and with greater intensity than people that are out of shape. It is shown that as you get in better shape, the regulating system for heat starts to become more efficient and able to cool you down faster as you exercise harder.
The Material of Your Clothing Can Affect Your Perception of Sweat
There is a reason why polyester clothing is very popular with in the fitness industry. Wearing polyester clothing will make you feel less sweaty due to the fact that it can wick the sweat off of your skin into the material where it can then evaporate much easier. Cotton on the other hand has a harder time allowing the sweat to evaporate from the material. That’s why you are a thoroughly soaked after a run with a cotton t-shirt versus a polyester shirt.
Genetics Affect How Much You Sweat
Last but not least is your genetic potential to sweat. Some people simply sweat a lot more than others. In fact, I am one of those people that sweat way more than a lot of my friends. Even if I am going out for a casual dinner I need to be aware of the types of clothes that I wear due to how much I sweat.
In conclusion, there are so many factors that can affect the vigor of your sweat that I would not attempt to make a direct correlation between your sweat levels and the quality of your workout.
Instead, I would focus on setting goals, whether that is mile times, amount of weight lifted, number of reps performed, etc. and breaking those personal records. These measurements should be the real judge of how well you are progressing and pushing yourself. This will be a much more consistent and precise method of determining the quality of your workout.
No matter how you decide to measure your workout intensity, the most important thing is to get out there, start working hard and start seeing the results that you deserve!