Myths About Sweating

myths about sweating

One of the most common motivational quotes on social media which is supposed to come under the guise of fitness motivation is “sweat is just fat crying” or some variation of that. It is one of the worst myths about sweating, and there is a lot to unpack about that one.

Why Sweat Is NOT Fat Crying

First of all, it is biologically wrong.

Sweat has nothing directly to do with what your body fat is up to. Sweating more doesn’t automatically mean burning more body fat.

And the second thing, which is arguably a more important point – there are a ton of valuable and positive reasons to work out that have absolutely nothing to do with weight loss or fat loss in any way shape or form.

Sometimes you just want to sweat and get a good workout because that is what makes you feel good.

So What Is Sweating?

Without going into too much detail, sweating is your body’s control mechanism for regulating temperature.

Your body heats up, it releases water onto the skin, and as the water evaporates it is intended to have a cooling effect on the body.

When you exercise, you move and your body heats up, which of course means it will try to regulate temperature. Hence sweat.

That’s the basic idea of it.

Why Does This Have Nothing To Do With Working Out?

It’s probably best to use specific examples to illustrate the point I am making.

You can eat a spicy meal and sweat. You’re probably not getting a great, calorie-burning workout. You can chill on a sun lounger in the heat and sweat. Even less likely that you’re getting a workout.

On the flip side, let’s look at powerlifters and the sport of powerlifting.

Powerlifters are incredibly strong and reach incredibly high fitness levels for the sport they do. My very very brief stint in powerlifting was one of the most physically demanding experiences of my fitness life.

But by its nature, with powerlifting you are doing very short sets of work – often 1 to 3 repetitions – with long recovery periods.

You are doing some incredibly challenging, and incredibly tough workouts, which will consume a lot of calories. But there’s also a good chance the work periods aren’t long enough for your body to heat up enough to induce sweating before you enter a recovery period again.

It doesn’t mean it’s not hard or they’re not being physically challenged.

I guess what I’m saying is if you’re looking at sweat as an indicator of a good workout.

A good workout is something that you’ve got a longer-term goal in mind for. And it’s something that’s supporting you in that goal. It’s going to make you feel better. It’s going to make you feel positive and it’s going to energize and empower you.

Walking outdoors, hiking, even walking inside, yoga – all of these can be challenging and you can do them all without sweating.

Challenging yourself with these and not sweating doesn’t mean you didn’t get a good workout.

When Sweating Feels Good

I’ve started to really enjoy indoor cycling and treadmill running. And for me, I find longer endurance cardio really invigorating. I like feeling my heart pumping and like my lungs are about to explode.

In my mind, being drenched in sweat is part of that experience and I will usually want to push myself harder the more I am sweating.

But if I didn’t sweat, it doesn’t mean that I’m not putting in the work and not getting a good workout.

Final Word On Myths About Sweating

The bottom line is that sweat doesn’t mean that you have had a good or a bad workout.

It just means that your body’s heated up and needs to cool down.

You can have a perfectly good workout, a perfectly challenging workout and be moving forward towards your goals without sweating.

myths about sweating

As long as you’re active you’ll probably still be moving towards your goals. And that doesn’t mean you have to always sweat.

And if you do enjoy sweating, it doesn’t mean that it has to be about fat burn or fat loss or fat crying or whatever else the fitness industry vomits up as “motivation”.

The best workouts are ones that you enjoy, you can do consistently and you can do safely. Set a longer-term performance goal and stick to that. Sweat or no sweat.

Free Binge Recovery Cheatsheet

Enter your email address below and get instant access to my cheatsheet to help you recover both mentally and physically from a food binge. You'll get my 5 top tips and the number 1 WORST thing you could do too!

Your information will never be shared with any third parties.