The dangers of excessive sweating during exercise

Recently I went on a bike ride with a friend of mine that wants to lose a few pounds (honestly, he needs to lose about 20.) During this trip I let him take point because I wasn't trying to show off an I also didn't want to embarrass him or hurt him accidentally by forcing him to try to keep up with me. I cycle almost every day and this guy had only recently purchased a bike. It was actually going pretty good until we got over a bridge and at the other side he was pink, very short of breath, and sweating like crazy.

It was at that point that he said he needed a rest and I was just fine with that. He also showed me that he had his mid-section wrapped in plastic cling wrap in order to make him lose weight faster.

I don't know where he got this crazy idea but I do realize that it is one of those myths that refuses to die and is yet another one of those magic shortcuts that is for the most part, not based in any sort of science at all.


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I didn't lecture him on the spot, we were nearly done anyway. Later on I did try to tell him in a nice and not condescending way that this idea he has is rooted in pseudoscience and while it does have some application, his way of thinking about it is anatomically incorrect, pointless, as well as dangerous.

You see, the plastic wrap is simply going to make you sweat more and make your body hotter than it normally would be and while technically this will make you lose a few more ounces than you normally would this is all very temporary. You will lose a bit more weight by doing this, but it is merely the water that is inside your body coming out in an attempt to keep your body cool. As soon as you drink some water, which you really will need to after using this method, you will gain it all back.

This dehydration technique can be used effectively by boxers or other athletes who need to cut weight just before a weigh in. For everyone, including them, as soon as they drink some water or in extreme cases even just take a shower, they weight comes straight back.


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Of course, and right on queue, there emerge a ton of products that claim to be able to accelerate this process without doing any exercise or diet at all. This sort of snake oil crap really irritates me and as they say "a fool and his money are quickly parted.**

This just goes back to what I have to say about almost any product out there that advertises that you can lose weight quicker or without any exercise or diet. It's all bogus and that is not how any of this works.


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So the extra weight loss by excessive sweating is bogus but not only that, it is potentially very dangerous. There is the immediate danger of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but excessive sweating done on a regular basis can actually cause kidney failure and seizures. Do these things sound like fun? Because all of them can kill you.

There are multiple stories out there of wrestlers and fighters who dehydrated the hell out of themselves only to drop dead because as I am sure you are aware, your body needs a few things in order to keep your clock ticking and one of those things is water. When you intentionally take all the water out of your body and then demand that it still give you more, you are asking for trouble. There is a reason why people die of dehydration in the the woods and not from hunger.


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GTFOH!

There is only one kind of quick fix for weight loss folks, it's called liposuction and it costs around $2000. If you are so lazy that you are going to resort to easy fixes, just go do that. It's a lot less dangerous than putting yourself in a potentially life-threatening situation by intentionally overheating yourself.

Think about it, if sweating lead to any sort of permanent weight loss we would all just be sitting in the sun and watching the pounds fall off of us. There are no shortcuts!

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From athlete, to fat-lete, and back... and i drank beer the entire time

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we had a guy pass out at one of our runs from heat exhaustion... there was an ambulance and rescue ops going on and everything. This is no joke and is very real. Thankfully, he recovered that day and is still going strong with us, he's just being a bit more careful.

It is a very serious thing that many people don't take seriously until it happens to them. I bet the guy you are referring to takes it VERY seriously now.

haha. I've always found saunas and steam rooms to be a bit strange as well but if sweat actually did mean weight loss, wouldn't the pounds just be falling off while we sit on our fat asses in a hot closet?

That's pretty close to the same example I use when talking to people about this. In summer I just tell them to just go outside and sit in the sun if you think that sweating makes you lose weight... why bother running or biking at all?