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Myth Bustin': Saunas burn Fat!

This old chestnut has been around since the invention of saunas. Saunas have been popular since roman times when old men were looking for more excuses to sit around nude together. Over the years, 101 health benefits have been attributed to regular sauna use and recently contest bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts have added fat-burning to that list.

This one isn’t going to take long to debunk. Basically, we sweat for the purpose of cooling our body temperature. There are two main causes of excessive heat build-up requiring sweating.

  1. We are active and producing heat as a by-product of increased metabolism.
  2. The air temperature is hot

In the first example if food intake and stored glucose aren’t sufficient to match energy requirements then you will indeed be burning body-fat to provide energy

In the second situation you are just sweating because the air temperature is hot. No fat-burning going on here, why would there be? You are sitting on your butt doing nothing just dehydrating yourself. Having 23 layers of clothing on while exercising to sweat more is the same dumb-ass principle.

By all means, exercise to the extent that you get a good sweat up. Just make sure the sweat is due to your efforts, not the weather. If you enjoy relaxing in the sauna then do that too, just realize that it is for unwinding, not fat-burning.

BONUS ROUND. If you are using the sauna to eliminate toxins, you need not bother. With adequate water, your liver and kidneys are going to eliminate all your toxins. If you get to the point where you have so many toxins that you start sweating them out, then you best call an ambulance quickly, your goose is cooked!

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