Today, I saw this image (<– left) floating around on my Facebook Newsfeed (then I found some more) and it got me thinking about how many people (women especially) buy into the idea that the MORE you sweat, the more fat you will lose. This also ties into the popular belief that you can only get your body fat lower by working at very high intensities all the time. Is it any wonder this myth prevails considering so many fitness GURUs are encouraging that belief with statements like these.
Correlation (between increased intensity and increased sweating) does not prove they cause increased fat loss.
Look, I know this picture meme is just a bit of fun and its main purpose is to get people motivated and excited to train with this particular guru (which I get, and I am not having a dig at her for wanting viewers), BUT there are sub-messages to everything and I would just love if: a) Trainers (and Guru’s) start talking responsibility for the statements they give and for them to stop just trying to play into these myths to make money from people’s false beliefs (just be honest) and b) for women to learn that exercise is about MORE than sweating, more than high intensities and, yes, more than fat loss. I have no problem with people wanting to lose body fat … BUT let’s try to have other things to focus on too – Like moving well, progressing, having fun and learning how to love you body no matter how it looks (this is KEY).
The notion that sweating more burns more fat is a selling tactic, because it’s easy to get people thinking they are burning fat by the immediate fruit of their labour: However, let’s consider the individual who sweats their arse off everyday doing crazy-ass workouts, but continues to consume too much energy … are they going to lose any jiggle? I highly doubt it! Or, a person lives in Arizona and breaks a sweat just walking to the nearest fast food joint… does that mean they get a free-pass on the McDouble McBacon McBeef Burger? Highly doubt it (if they aren’t in a healthy calorie deficit).
You simply cannot say that just because I sweat more than you, that I am burning more fat. It is probably MORE likely that I just have more sweat glands than you, or I hold more water to actually sweat with.
Sweating is the body’s cooling system to maintain homeostasis. Losing water WILL make you weigh less, but you also need to replace the fluid lost during exercise. There is WAY more involved when it comes to “losing jiggle” than how much you sweat. Sweat just so happens to happen sometimes!
Do you ever notice there are some days you just sweat less? Do you fear that you won’t burn as much fat that day? What does this do to your mood?
Why am I getting all hot and bothered about sweat?
Ask yourself why you are pushing yourself to the point of drowning in your own sweat… if you simply enjoy this torture, then, *please*, continue and fair play to you. However, if you are under the impression that this will get you better/faster results, then I want to let you know that this is not always true. Doing more doesn’t get you more – I discussed this in a recent blog HERE.
Let me use a simple example, from a recent thread in a Fitness Group on Facebook that I take part in, to explain why I am getting so serious over a silly catch-phrase:
A girl posted about how to improve the appearance of her armpit fat. You know, the bit that gathers at the side of your bra strap and armpit fold. She stated that she hated how it looks in tank tops. There was a big response to her and EVERY SINGLE ONE suggested: training more, training differently, using a different diet approach etc – in other words, every one was enabling and supporting her self-hatred. She was pointing out something she hated about her body and most people were offering her solutions to getting rid of that fat in order for her to be happier with herself.
Am I the only one who sees a major problem with that?!!
Here was my response:
“What do you LOVE? While achieving your strength goals, focus on what you love, not what you want to fix. Before you know it, you’ll find it harder and harder to see what you don’t like Might not be the answer you were hoping for, but its one that works 100% because you train your eyes to see what is good. Training to get rid of something you don’t like might never deliver the results because you haven’t been able to accept yourself as you are. I can attest to both the struggle and reward of these view-points. You’re never anywhere else but where you’re at, so you may as well see your beauty and refuse to let your eyes see, or your mind feel anything but beauty Often, that stubborn area is so obvious to us because we fix our negative feelings on it. What you see is worse than what I see because you have rejected that part of you *until* it fits a mould of what is beautiful. Is love of our bodies conditional? “
I wish I could say this view-point had been so obvious to me my whole life. You know how much I have struggled with my body image (and still do sometimes), but reading things like this makes it so obvious why so many of us (me included) struggle to be happy with ourselves … we are all brainwashed into believing that the outside will satisfy the inside. This is SO wrong! It is the inside that accepts and qualifies the outside – by loving it unconditionally.
Not sweat, not fat loss, not someone giving you a compliment, not even being popular or rich… Happiness is a choice and it MUST come first before any external changes will even have meaning or value to you – regardless of how much you sweat!
Have a great week, everyone
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Mark 12:31
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” ~ Psalm 139: 13-15
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” ~ Romans 12:2