Have you ever heard someone say, “the more you sweat, the better your workout”, or “sweat is just weakness leaving the body?” These are common phrases in the fitness world when describing the effectiveness of a workout. However, the amount of sweat while working out may not be the best indicator of successful a workout is.
Depending on what type of exercise routine you may be performing that day, sweat levels can change drastically. For example, if you are performing H.I.I.T. style training that includes a lot of movement with short rest periods, you can most likely expect to sweat more. Other activities such as types of cardio training including biking, running, and rowing may also induce more sweat. On the other side of the spectrum, you have heavy resistance training. During heavy resistance training, there are longer rest periods to allow energy systems to recover so they can be at maximum strength before each set. Does this mean that you are not getting in a good workout? Definitely not, there are just different styles of working out that have fluctuating levels of sweat.
How much you sweat while working out is affected by a variety of factors. Your gender plays a role in sweat level, men tend to sweat more than women because of increased testosterone in men, which activates a faster sweat response. Also, it has been found that when you are younger, you sweat more. Other factors that affect sweat levels include your genetics, temperature you are working out in, and humidity levels. Weight can also play a role as typically the more you weigh, the easier it is to sweat while working out. All these factors put together show how complex sweat levels are, it is not as simple as you may think.
In order to know if you are getting in a good workout, you might consider measuring your performance in other ways. Are you improving your exercises each workout? Maybe your weight used during exercise is increased from your last workout, or you finish your mile run 15 seconds faster than last week. Another way to measure workout effectiveness is learning to understand your body and how it normally feels after working out. Are you sore the day after you work out? While this should not be the primarily goal, it can indicate when you had an extra tough session or maybe performed some exercises your body is not used to. Just being aware of the results of your exercise can also be important when gauging your exercise level. Are your clothes fitting better? Do you feel stronger or more confident? Do you have an improved mood? Asking yourself these questions can help in clarifying if you are satisfied with how your work outs are going.
Sweat is not the end-all be-all when looking at how hard you are working out. While breaking a sweat is common in many work outs, you should also understand ways to measure your workout effectiveness. This could simply be writing down your progress over time or maybe your clothes start fitting a little better. Also, understand some of the factors that play a role in your sweat levels. Some of these factors you may have never thought of and make it hard to compare yourself to others, as everyone is unique. Most of all, “don’t sweat” your sweat levels, as they do not define how good your workouts are.