What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of sweat? Sweat can be disgusting especially when it was left all over the bench press your about to use. Sweat can also be sexy if it’s coming off a pretty girl across the gym. Sweating can also be embarrassing especially when it shows under your armpits. Regardless sweating is a natural process of our bodies. Sweat is a combination of water, salt, electrolytes and urea (a byproduct of protein breakdown) that is produced by your skin glands to cool your body off. The average male sweats about 1-1.5 liters per day. Depending on your workout you can accept something like three liters of sweat.

How It Affects Your Weight

Lots of people wear layer upon layer of clothing to the gym in hopes of burning more fat but is this actually true? Sweating does not make you lose weight. The more you sweat the more water weight you will lose but water weight is not fat. Body fat is stored calories and the only way to burn them is to get your heart rate elevated and to be in a caloric deficit (a state where your eating less calories then your body is burning). Sweating does not equal fat loss; so wearing layer after layer of clothes to sweat in can actually be harmful. You can actually dehydrate yourself, which as we learned will leave you weaker. The weaker you are the less weight you will move which means the less muscle you will put on.

It Dehydrates You

Humans sweat more than any other mammal, so its extremely important for us to focus on replacing the electrolytes lost while sweating. Water and electrolytes are responsible for our performance and bodily function. A 1 percent decrease in hydration can cause almost a 20 percent decrease in performance. This is not good news if your trying to gain as much muscle as you can while staying lean. Electrolytes are minerals found in our sweat that help regulate hydration, blood ph levels and nerve function.

Before Your Workout
Begin by sipping 8-20 ounces of water at least 20 minutes before your workout.

During Your Workout
The general rule is to drink 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of exercise. I usually consume an intra-workout drink during my workout, which contains 20 ounces of Gatorade with one scoop BCAAs. This drink provides me with electrolytes and BCAAs to help prevent muscle breakdown.

After Your Workout
After you exercise its important to drink plenty of fluid. I would say around 20oz after a workout will be enough to offset any sweating

Keeping You Cool

As your body temperature rises (due to exercise, surrounding conditions, or nerves) your nervous system stimulates your sweat glands to release sweat on your skin. As the sweat on your skin begins to evaporate it releases body heat with it cooling your body. We have two types of glands that release sweat. The eccrine gland and the apocrine gland. Combined there are more then five million sweat glands covering your body.

Why Does Sweat Smell?

The apocrine glands are mostly located on your scalp, groin, and armpits. When we are stressed our bodies push these glands to excrete more sweat to the skin. Once the sweat reaches the skin it mixed with bacteria and begins to breakdown. This causes that funky odor. Everyone releases sweat at different rates, some people drip sweat while others barely wet their shirt.

An Easy Way to Tell if You’re Dehydrated

Use the bathroom test, the clearer your urine is the better hydrated you are. The darker your urine is the more water you need to drink.

Sweaty Gym Etiquette

How annoying is it when you’re all hyped up and you step up to the machine you want to use and it’s covered in someone elses sweat. That irritates me to no end and I am sure it gets on your nerves too now that you have to spend the next two minutes of your life wiping down the machine. Regardless if you’re a sweater or not you should always use proper gym etiquette. Carry a towel with you and wipe down the machine when you’re done, also if you are a heavy sweater wipe down the floor when you’re done. Use the gym disinfectant towels or sprays also, the same way you wouldn’t want to be left with someone else’s “juices” clean up after yourself. This will also stop the spread of germs through out the gym.