Whereas some people sweat buckets just by walking down the street on a chilly fall day, others are able to survive a full workout session without hardly a drop of sweat on their brow.
We have all been to the gym and seen, or even been the person with a private splash zone in their workout area, and yet some of us are fully capable of leaving the gym with our shirt being the same one tone shade that it was when we walked in the door.
Especially when lifting weights.
So, what gives, why do some people sweat profusely while others don’t?
What should you know or do if you find yourself asking: “Why don’t I sweat when I lift weights?”
There are tons of reasons why you may not sweat as much as others when lifting weights, including genetic and environmental factors. The truth is, in any case, lifting weights isn’t the most sweat-inducing exercise out there due to the long rest periods.
Sweat is not a particularly good measure of a workout’s effectiveness and has no correlation to weight loss, so most people shouldn’t worry too much about how much they’re sweating while lifting or working out!
Let’s dive in a little deeper.
Is it normal to not sweat at all (or sweat very little) during strength training?
Not sweating or lack of it is also known by those in the medical field as hypohidrosis (hypo = low, hidrosis = level of saturation).
Hypohidrosis is a condition that some people have in which their sweat glands are not functioning properly, therefore not cooling themselves off.
This condition can impact your entire body, a specific area or several different places on your body.
This is just one of many reasons why you may not sweat or sweat very little during your workout.
Other factors such as the number of sweat glands you possess or genetic makeup play a part in the volume of sweat that you may or may not release.
You may just be someone that naturally sweats less than others. But the bigger question is: is not sweating a sign of a bad workout?
Some people believe that after a full session of lifting, pushing, pressing and jumping through a full body workout that your clothes and towel should be fully drenched in order for your workout to actually matter.
The good news is that it is all a workout myth.
Sweat shouldn’t be the only indicator of how hard the workout is, or how much effort you put into it. There are a lot of factors that play into how much you sweat during your workouts, including:
- Your level of fitness
- The temperature of the gym
- Hydration (or lack of it)
- Rest periods
- And workout intensity.
For the average gym goer who works out a couple of times a week, it is likely that you are not getting your heart rate high enough to sweat profusely.
(Your heart rate likely won’t be as high during weight lifting as it would during cardio or HIIT, meaning you’ll likely sweat less.)
On the other hand, if you are an elite-level athlete, you will probably have to work harder than the average Joe or Jane to build up a lather.
Sweating and different types of workouts
Weight lifting can be done in a lot of different ways, but commonly it involves a peak amount of effort during a set followed by a medium to long rest period.
That makes lifting weights one of the less sweaty workouts out there.
If sweat is your goal, well…
You may have heard of Bikram yoga, a low impact workout that is performed in a room set between 103-107 degrees or CorePower Yoga, which is a yoga-based strength training workout that takes place in a gym sitting in a temperature of 92-95 degrees.
Of all the workouts that you can do, endurance focused ones will, more often than not, make you sweat the most.
Spin classes, Tabata, running, boot camp and HIIT (high intensity interval training) are all high intensity workouts that will keep you moving with very little to no rest periods.
On the flip side, a low intensity workout, or casual bike ride or low impact yoga can still make you sweat, depending on your body’s chemistry.
As for what happens when you are swimming, well that’s anyone’s guess!
Does sweating when working out correlate to weight loss?
As much as we would like to believe that sweating your butt off during a workout equates to weight loss, it isn’t that simple.
Just because you are sweating doesn’t mean that you are losing weight.
If you are working a desk job in an office on an extremely hot day with no air conditioning, you may be sweating, but you aren’t exactly burning massive calories.
Same if you were laying poolside on a blistering sunny day working on your tan.
As for when you are hitting the gym, there is a bit of a gray area when it comes to sweat and weight loss.
Being that sweat is fluid leaving the body, an individual could potentially sweat approximately up to one liter during an hour workout session.
If a liter of water weighs roughly just over two pounds, then technically you could say you lost two pounds of weight.
However, the catch is, most of that weight lost through sweat is water related, which will quickly reappear once you start downing a few bottles of water following your workout.
While sweating itself doesn’t burn fat, it does sometimes act as a modified indicator that your metabolism is kicking in, especially when you are exercising, which acknowledges that you are burning fat, which in a roundabout way burns calories.
Do different people sweat more than others during exercise / weight training?
Just as people grow hair differently or gain weight or height or lack of it, they also sweat differently.
The amount of sweat you produce is often associated with some of the following factors:
As you get older, your body will become less tolerant to heat due to changes in your sweat glands, which in turn lessens the body’s ability to cool itself properly.
Larger people tend to produce more heat, as they have more to move, therefore generating more heart and ultimately more sweat.
Bringing more math and science into the equation, the bigger the body, means the bigger the surface area, in turn the increased volume of sweat needed to cool it down.
As muscle mass produces more heat than fat does, even if you have two individuals who weigh the same, their production of sweat will likely differ as the result of their percentage of muscle mass.
Level of Fitness
Although more fit people tend to sweat more than less fit people, if a fit person and a non-fit person are participating in the exact same task, the less fit individual will likely sweat more because they have to exert more energy.
Various factors such as mental health, physical health (if you have a cold), hormones, and even pregnancy can impact how much an individual sweats.
Night sweats after lifting weights? (Explained)
There are few things that ruin your sleep more than waking up in a puddle of your own sweat, with your sheets, pillow and pajamas soaking wet.
After a great evening workout session, do not be surprised if you begin to sweat throughout the night as your metabolism is still firing.
Impacting your blood circulation, muscle contraction, breathing, nerve and brain functions and body temperature regulation, your metabolism rate often stays elevated for up to 12-14 hours after intense exercise.
Altering your workout time, lowering the temperature in your room, changing your pre and post workout meals, and wearing lighter clothes or blankets to bed are some ways to help combat the night sweats.
Often night sweats are not a reason to be overly concerned about your health unless they become constant or are connected with other health symptoms.
While there are some pros and cons to not sweating during or after exercise and lifting weights, in particular, it is not abnormal.
Everyone is built different and exerts a different amount of energy during their workout or play.
Although it is nice to not have to change your shirt mid-workout, you may have to increase your level of intensity or duration of your workout if you’re looking for a good sweat.
If your workout intensity is at an optimal level, you should consider seeking medical advice to understand any genetic or other factors that may be causing you not to sweat.
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Hope this helps!
Steve Lee is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Conditioning Specialist. He has 20+ years of basketball coaching experience along with 10 years of softball coaching experience. Whether it be high school, community team, or individual training, he believes your success on the court or field is made by your success off of it.