Have you ever noticed how you seem to sweat and drip like melted ice cream while others around you either moderately sweat or even push through their warm-up without breaking a sweat?
The situation can be embarrassing especially when you start to drip just after completing your warm-up and others look at you and ask if you are done with the whole workout.
You might be wondering, why do I sweat more than others at the gym? Sweating is your body’s response to an increase in core temperature. You sweat in order to bring your temperature down. People who are overweight tend to sweat more at the gym as their body fat acts as an insulator, but fit people can sweat more too.
While overweight people may sweat more during a workout due to their excess fat, it is also likely that someone who is fit also sweats more. However, in their case, it’s because they are sweating more efficiently. Sweating is more of a protective measure of the body rather than an indicator of how many calories one burns at the gym. Don’t worry, we’ll discuss the how’s and why’s below.
Pumping Iron and Turning up the Heat
The general misconception in the fitness scene is that people tend to equate sweating to burning calories. While it is a great motivator for some to start their weight loss journey, it is scientifically incorrect.
In order to understand why you sweat more at the gym, you will first need to understand the basics. Sweating is nothing but your body’s reaction to excess heat. See, the body aims to maintain a constant temperature of 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. We have evolved to adapt to this temperature to maintain our enzymatic and bodily functions.
The slightest change in this value causes your body to take action to return it back to its normal core temperature. If it falls below, you shiver to create heat in the body and bring your core back to normal. If it goes above, your body secretes sweat via the numerous sweat glands located all over your skin.
This sweat, when combined with the outside air, creates a cooling effect which brings your body temperature back to normal. Imagine you are at the gym and killing your workout; while you might only be focused on getting that last rep, your body’s main focus is only to make sure that you don’t burn out.
It’s a neat and clever way to regulate temperature and if you think about it, it has also inspired the way we design our machines. Take a car engine for example; the more you rev it, the more heat it generates. To cool it down, we use an elaborate scheme of tubes that run a liquid coolant to cool down and regulate the engine. Your body operates in the same way.
Your body constantly flushes you with sweat and the amount depends a lot on how much effort you are putting in along with several other factors. Let’s discuss a few:
The Usual Suspects
There are numerous factors why you might be sweating more than others at the gym. The most common would be that you are putting in more work than others.
If you look at the total energy expenditure that you are putting into your workout versus your buddy at the gym who hardly seems to sweat, you will notice that you are putting in way more work compared to your friend. You are lifting more and for longer, you are taking shorter rests in between sets, or you might be pacing more in between sets.
More work for your body means that it gets hotter sooner. As mentioned earlier, think of your body as a car engine. The more you rev it, the more likely it is to get hot. To prevent it from totaling you need to take steps to cool it down.
To try to sweat less, you can take rests where you just sit down in front of a fan to cool down even more quickly. If you do this often enough, you can actually condition your body to sweat less as you would be using external factors to cool down rather than relying just on sweat. You can also use a great antiperspirant to control your underarm sweat. I recommend using the Art of Sport Men’s Antiperspirant Deodorant Stick (Amazon)
Another factor, as discussed above, is body fat. Fat is a great insulator, meaning that the heat generated by an overweight body doesn’t escape as quickly as it would for someone who is fit. This results in an even more rapid increase in temperature which leads to, you guessed it, more sweat. While there isn’t an immediate fix for this until you shed off the excess fat, you can, however, employ the use of external factors to cool down, as discussed above.
A person who is fit might sweat more at the gym too because their body is conditioned to sweat sooner than others. This is very common in athletes where they would experience more sweat way sooner in their workout because the body pre-cools itself in preparation so that when they work out their body doesn’t need to sweat more profusely. This is a much more effective way of sweating that utilizes less hydration and ensures a more enduring workout.
Environment and Sweat
The reason behind your sweat may also be because of external factors. Take the example of your clothing. You might be sweating more at the gym because of the choice of your clothes. The optimal “dress code” for the gym is to wear a tank top or a short sleeve shirt that allows you to move freely.
Breathable materials are a must when it comes to gym wear. You can’t operate wearing synthetic clothes that don’t let air in or trap all the sweat inside.
If you feel that you are doing everything right and still sweating more, then you might have to consider factors outside of the gym. For example, if you drink a lot of caffeine then it is likely to lead to more perspiration. The same can be said for smoking and alcohol as well.
If you are looking towards sweating less at the gym, we recommend that you cut down on the excess beverages and stick to plain old water. As an added protection from sweat, you can also try investing in a sweatband. Check out this trendy Temple Tape Sweatband (Click to view on Amazon)
Speaking of which, hydration is an extremely important factor, regardless of your sweating condition at the gym. Make sure you have a bottle in handy throughout your workout so that you don’t overwork your body and fall into fatigue.
Also, make sure that your gym is properly ventilated and air-conditioned. Remember, sweating is not an indicator of how much calories you are burning. You burn calories via the amount of work that you do. It doesn’t matter if you do it in an air-conditioned or a humid room; you will burn the same number of calories in both. It’s just that you will feel much more irritable with the fans and air conditioning off.
So, to recap, you are probably sweating more at the gym either because of the amount of energy you are putting out during your workout or because of your body type and external environmental factors. The important thing is that you understand that sweating is a very normal bodily reaction which should be taken as an indicator of your body’s internal temperature. Whatever the case, it’s highly important that you remember to remain hydrated throughout your workout. Happy lifting!
Why do I sweat even when my body is at rest? This could mean several different things. You might be in a humid room or you might have had a spicy pre-workout meal or it could also mean that you are experiencing the early stages of the common cold. You will need to use the process of elimination to find out exactly why you are sweating and then treat it accordingly.
Why do I sweat more in some areas than others? The body has numerous sweat glands that secrete sweat via the countless pores all around your skin. Some areas are more sensitive than others. Take the example of your armpits. The armpits are more likely to sweat more because of the skin to skin contact they have with your arm and the side of your chest, creating less space for air to pass through.