A common misconception regarding improving body composition is the idea that sweating is requirement to burn fat. Similar to another well-entrenched oversimplified misnomer, namely that we get fat because we eat too much fat, I can tell you in both cases it is exactly the opposite premise where the truth of efficient fat loss can be found.
Regarding the; eating fat equals getting fat fallacy, evidence to the contrary is abundant. Americans have followed the low fat diet approach for the last thirty years only to see obesity rates skyrocket. Similarly misconstrued I see people drenched in sweat somehow thinking that it is fat melting away and precipitating out of their pores.
In order to better understand where I am going with this, why not grab yourself a nice refreshing glass of ice water while I illustrate the cold hard facts of fat loss… which ironically explains with why we shiver when cold. The body typically operates at a comfortable 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When we exercise, our body heats up from all the combustion of ATP that activates our muscles (FYI: we don’t burn calories, we burn ATP, but that is another oversimplification and fodder for another bog), that in turn increases our core temperature and thus we commence to perspire (sweat) as a mechanism to cool off and lower our core temperature from the outside in by layering our skin with perspiration to cool and wick away the heat.
What is true… when you sweat you do lose water weight. Case and point water weight loss is temporary, I have trained countless athletes over my career who compete in weight categories and one of the most common tricks to make weight and show up many pounds heavier for the event is to sweat out some water weight by sitting in a sauna immediately before the official weigh in. The dehydrated and “lighter” athlete as a result of excessive sweating then jumps on a scale, presumably makes weight and then immediately commences to re-hydrate and hopefully become bigger, stronger and heavier than the opponent. (Again making weight without sacrificing power and stamina is an art and a topic for another blog)
The reality is that water “weight-loss” from sweat is only a temporary depletion that will quickly be regained at the ingestion of food or drink.
However, if you want to burn fat – then staying cold is far more effective method. As mentioned, the body likes to operate at 98.6 degrees and does whatever it needs to do to maintain that constant temperature. We know that the body will shed water (sweat) to cool the outer layer of our skin to bring down the temperature when it is threatened by overheating, conversely when it is cold the body will begin to shiver. Our bodies are layered with fat to insulate the body from the cold as are other mammals and shivering is a noticeable reaction when our core temperature dips to low and the body perceives a threat.Our muscles takie action, firing and relaxing or what feels like jiggling to increase our core temperature to create enough heat to increase our body temperature to ward off the dangers of hypothermia. Stored fat is a primary fuel source to stoke the muscles into shivering action.
So, If you want to trick your body into burn a little extra fat, then go for a swim in cold water, take an ice bath after a good workout (which also reduces inflammation) and drink icy cold water throughout the day. Your body has to increase its metabolic output in order to increase body temperature to compensate for the cold and accessing stored fat to do so is a preferred fuel source of choice.
To be clear, sweating is not even a form of exercise; you can do it while sitting in a sauna or under the sun – shivering on the other hand is a form of muscle activation. Additional tips to access stored fat, center your meals around protein, consume essential omega 3 fatty acid and fiber while minimizing the consumption of non essential foods like grains and other processed carbohydrate that are a primary cause fat storage… train hard but in short duration (an hour or less), drink ice cold water and stay cool (literally and figuratively).
You could say that burning stored fat is no sweat at all.
© 2013 – Copyrights Grant Roberts, All Rights Reserved