Sauna suits are one of those health trends everyone is excited about. When you hear that there is a “better way” of losing weight and doing it quickly, a lot of promises are made that could be myths.
There are plenty of places that will promise you that a sauna suit can help you lose weight faster than traditional mechanisms. While we can say right away that some of that is true, it’s not a trend that is not recommended.
There is some science behind the fact that sauna suits can help you stay healthy. But you must always see that sentence in context.
Using these suits incorrectly also has serious repercussions and you should know as much as possible about them before you get into it. Here’s all that information.
If you didn’t know it already, a sauna suit is essentially a type of a tracksuit that is waterproof. Studies have shown that wearing a sauna suit while exercising will put a physiological strain on your body.
This increases the amount of sweat you produce and a sauna suit is designed to trap all of that sweat and body heat you produce during a workout session.
A sauna suit is made of synthetic fabrics like nylon or neoprene which are common choices for many manufacturers. These suits also have cuffs around your wrists and ankles to keep the heat and sweat completely locked in. So, if you check your weight before and after a workout session, you will possibly notice a little bit of loss.
But it’s important to right out of the gate that this is water weight and the loss is temporary.
Now, you also know that your body loses nutrients when you perspire. These are essential nutrients and you need fluids to carry them along with oxygen to different parts of the body, including your tissues.
This is important for your body to maintain its required blood volume. So, you have to gain this water weight back. If you neglect it in your quest to lose weight, you might end up with heat-related problems, including dehydration.
After a workout session, your body is ready to absorb any fluids it receives because it’s falling short of the required amount. This need is even more when you exercise in a sauna suit because you sweat more and the loss is greater.
So, you should rehydrate and as a result, you will gain all the weight back. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it is recommended.
Since the process of working out wearing a sauna suit sounds awfully like spending some time in an actual sauna, are the two any different? Let’s take a look.
If you’ve never been in a sauna, it’s a small room that has either hot air or a steam bath that increases your core body temperature and causes you to sweat. As a result, you lose water weight which you are supposed to gain back.
Sauna sessions are recommended because they are relaxing and some claim that they help flush toxins out. The latter is a myth, but the part about sauna sessions being relaxing is true.
There have been studies that show that heat training in a sauna suit is useful, but not as much as working out in a hot environment or spending time in a sauna. So, while they work similarly, working out in a sauna suit is not the same as spending time in a sauna.
It should be clear by now that you might lose just a little bit of weight if you workout in a sauna suit but it’s not actual loss of weight. If you’re looking for rapid weight loss, a sauna suit helps lose water weight along with some additional calorie burn (more than what you would if you were resting).
But here’s the other thing. Plenty of experts also say that rapid weight loss is a bad thing. It is the result of losing water weight or lean tissue instead of burning fat. You want the latter, not the former. And trying to burn lean tissue or lose water weight is not good for your well-being.
If you’re interested, it is good to know that the amount of water weight you lose depends on how much you have hydrated before the workout session and your body’s natural ability to retain or lose water. These are the factors as defined by the National Academy of Sports Medicine or NASM.
So, there is no standard answer to how much time you have to spend working out in a sauna suit to lose X pounds. And it shouldn’t matter because it’s not real weight loss.
If you’re looking for ways to lose weight productively, you should try eating better and improving your levels of physical activity, preferably under the supervision of a professional.
A sauna suit can aid your efforts if you use it the way it is meant to, along with a good amount of exercise and a proper diet. We will deal with how to use it “properly” in a moment.
Weight loss isn’t something that can be rushed. In fact, it shouldn’t be rushed. Any and all shortcuts that might be suggested are more likely to do harm than help you lose weight.
The ideal pace is to lose one to three pounds a week through proper diet control and a healthy exercise regimen.
To wonder if you are burning more calories because you are working out in a sauna suit is valid. The truth is, you sweat more than usual when you workout wearing a sauna suit. But that does not have a direct impact on your calorie count.
There isn’t any truth to the fact that you burn fat either. Typically, metabolic rate is measured in watts by assessing the amount of carbon dioxide produced and the uptake of oxygen. This is used to calculate the metabolic rate using the standard energy equivalents of oxygen.
Now, those who are looking to increase their metabolism should demand more energy (to spend) from the body. You can measure this demand by assessing the uptake in oxygen needs. When your metabolic rate is higher, your body needs more oxygen. When you wear a sauna suit, your metabolism won’t automatically increase.
The other thing is that humans spend energy in the form of heat. The body regulates this by producing sweat to keep the temperature normal. But if the heat is trapped, the sweat doesn’t evaporate which means the body temperature may increase. So, when you wear a sauna suit, the sweat gets trapped between the suit and your skin.
This means you will feel hotter and sweat more but it won’t make you workout more intensely. You might feel like it but there’s no actual science that guarantees this will happen.
In fact, most people are likely to slow down when their body heat increases so much. Exercising becomes harder and you are likely to slow down. This will bring your intensity down because your body is trained not to exert itself beyond a point. At this point, your body doesn’t demand as much energy and your metabolism also decreases.
So, it’s possible that wearing a sauna suit might bring down the intensity of your exercise instead of increasing it. And some people might just quit altogether because it gets too hard. Either way, your metabolic rate decreases and that doesn’t help burn any calories.
There’s also the mechanics of burning fat involved. When your body temperature increases, not much fat oxidation happens. In fact, your body uses carbohydrates to generate energy. That’s why the intensity of your exercise level will be relatively lower.
So, wearing a sauna suit will not only not cause more fat burning but might result in less. If you want to burn more calories, you want to monitor how many calories you consume and burn more. The best way to do that is to eat better.
You know now that sweating doesn’t cause weight loss the way you want it to. You also know that wearing a sauna suit won’t make you burn more calories or even burn fat. Now, let’s address the question of belly fat.
Losing belly fat, much like losing body fat, can also happen by controlling your calorie intake. Falling into advertising traps about sauna suits helping you lose belly fat is unwise not just because it doesn’t work but also because it might cause serious health problems.
As mentioned in the beginning, sauna suits are made of materials like neoprene or nylon which are not breathable by design. These are meant to increase your temperature but sweating doesn’t do anything to help you lose belly fat in specific.
Now, it might seem like your stomach is flatter after you work out in a sauna suit but it’s not going to stay that way. And it helps to remember that if you don’t take proper precautions while working out in a sauna suit, it could be dangerous.
A little increase in your temperature is good, but it shouldn’t be excessive. This could lead to problems like exhaustion, dehydration and even a heat stroke if you lose too many electrolytes.
So, you should talk to a doctor before you start working out in your sauna suit. And if you want to get a flat stomach, you should focus more on the exercises you choose rather than the outfits.
Sauna suits are typically meant for athletes who do boxing or wrestling. It helps them because they go through a very strict weight regimen and it’s all monitored closely. Sauna suits help them with the specific weight that is prescribed for them to qualify for the weight category they are aiming for.
If you’re looking to lose fat over your belly, you need to focus on a good diet and get an instructor who will design aerobic exercises for you regularly.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, you need to aim for exercises like cycling, jogging or swimming for 150 minutes a week. Dancing is also a good choice if traditional exercises don’t appeal to you.
Running on the treadmill, of course, is the choice most people make and for that, a sauna suit is not a bad choice. But most of the results you get are because of the exercise itself. The suit isn’t a key ingredient.
Now, sauna suits are not completely useless as you might have understood by now. You need to pick the right suit for the exercise and here’s how that is defined.
- The suit must fit you perfectly well.
- It comes with elastic bands that go on your cuffs, collar and ankles.
- Hydration after the workout session is not optional.
- Be sure to start with low-impact exercises and then move to high-impact ones.
- Definitely clean the suit after using it every single time.
Just like spending time in a sauna, you need to know how long you can wear a suit. Since it tampers with fundamental things like body temperature, you should not schedule very high-intensity workouts while wearing a sauna suit. The ideal way to go about this is to do moderate to slightly vigorous exercises.
There are many different reasons why people opt for a sauna suit. In any case, you should not have it on for longer than 45 minutes in one go. Pushing these boundaries is bad for your health and will spoil your session and in the long run, the overall regimen.
The best thing to do with these things is to listen to your body. If you are feeling a little too hot, it is a good idea to take a break. You should also drink water before you workout wearing a sauna suit.
Now, it’s not always going to feel great to workout wearing a sauna suit. It will be particularly unhelpful if you start these sessions without drinking an adequate amount of water. So, keep a bottle of water with you during your session.
Make sure the water is room temperature and drink just a little bit in intervals instead of taking a big gulp in one go.
As is the case with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages of wearing a sauna suit. This is a trend a lot of people are jumping on, but it’s safe and smart to know what you’re getting yourself into. That’s not just because knowledge is power, but there are risks involved with doing this the incorrect way.
Whatever your goal, a sauna suit is not a detoxifier. Sweat doesn’t do that, your kidneys and liver do. But here are the benefits you can expect.
- Sauna suits are a good way of reducing tension in the muscles.
- They help increase blood circulation in the body.
- Working out in these suits and sweating profusely can improve your ability to heal.
- Your overall ability to do intense exercises improves.
Now, there are a few disadvantages as well, which come with increasing the physiological strain on your body with these suits. Here’s what that looks like.
- If you don’t keep an eye on the loss of water, you might experience heat-related problems and dehydration.
- Losing water through sweat will reduce the amount of electrolytes in your body and not replenishing them on time might cause a mineral imbalance in your body.
- Wearing a sauna suit for too long might also cause problems like heat stroke and dehydration.
- When the sweat gets trapped in the suit, it doesn’t evaporate and the body can’t cool itself. This can also reduce blood volume which is not good.
Now you know that much like using a sauna, working out wearing a sauna suit only leads to loss of water weight which you are supposed to gain back.
You also don’t burn calories just because you are wearing a sauna suit. The calories you burn will be burnt because of the exercise you do and not the suit.
There’s also the matter of burning fat. Sauna suits don’t do that either but they will push you to workout more intensely. Whether you meet the demand or cave and reduce the intensity is entirely up to you.
This is one of those things that you need to do after talking to a doctor. You should also understand the parameters of its function. Sauna suits are not magic. Now you know that. And then some.