Does Sweating Mean I’m Burning Fat?

Love it or hate it, sweating during exercise is inevitable — but is it a sure sign that you’re burning fat?

You may have heard that sweating during a workout will maximize fat burn, but before you zip yourself into a sauna suit and crank up the heat in your home gym, read on to learn what sweat can and can’t do for you weight loss goals.

Can Sweating Burn Fat?

Technically, no. You’ll probably break a sweat during an intense fat-burning workout — but the sweat isn’t the reason you burn fat. So even if you’re sitting in a pool of your own sweat, that doesn’t automatically mean you’ve just burned a ton of fat.

“Fat burning is a metabolic process,” says Jennifer Novak, M.S., CSCS, performance recovery coach, and founder of PEAK Symmetry Performance Strategies.

When you exercise, your body breaks down carbohydrates and fats in order to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — your body’s energy currency.

Sweating, on the other hand, is a cooling process. When your core body temperature increases — either from exercise or from heat — your brain signals that it’s time to sweat.

As the moisture on your skin evaporates into the air, it takes some heat with it, which helps to lower your body temp back to normal.