Calorie Burn, Sweat, and Level of Fitness

Posted June 22, 2020

In last week’s blog post I shared evidence showing how the sweating process accelerates for individuals who have been training and making fitness improvements. I showed that basically, as an individual obtains better fitness conditioning they will sweat faster and in higher volumes. I also pointed out that sweating faster allows the body to cool down quicker for longer and more intense workouts. With this in mind last week, I began to wonder about the calorie burn of an individual who is in better shape.

The question popped into my head as to whether there is some sort of inverse relationship between more sweating and calorie burn.  By that I mean, when a fit person sweats more, then is there any relation to the amount of calories burned? It’s counterintuitive when you think about it. Fit people burn less calories for the same amount of activity, as compared to unfit people, but fit people sweat more. Hmm, less calorie burn but more sweat…why is that?

The Inverse Relationship:

Better fitness level yields more sweat but a calorie burn plateau.

“Sweating itself doesn’t burn a measurable amount of calories”.¹ Sweating level is based on several different factors including level of fitness, environment, age, body weight and genetics. Sweating is not a direct measure of how hard you are working out, it is a measure of heat generated within the body. Sweat is not linked to how many calories you are burning. Sweat levels are tied to your level of fitness and your workout environment. My recommendation is to find a great workout studio like that of HOTWORX where you can submit to infrared heat adaptation and strive to get into better shape for more sweat and detox.

When people get in better shape they burn less calories for the same activity. They then will need to up their intensity again to match and go beyond their new level of conditioning. In this scenario, calorie burning levels off but the sweat is more and faster.

One study presents evidence of this calorie burn plateau with respect to higher levels of conditioning. The human body adapts to elevated intensity and conditioning.² You may be working out harder than others, but it does not mean that you are burning more calories than they are. This is ok. It just points to the fact that it is time to up your game again.

It’s good to reach the calorie burn plateau because you will then be at a much higher level of fitness and sweat efficiency.


¹ https://www.healthline.com/health/does-sweating-burn-calories
² https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)01577-8

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Stephen P. Smith, MA

CEO and Creator of the HOTWORX
Former National Collegiate Bodybuilding Champion and Arena Football Player
Certified Professional Trainer