MYTH: Hot Workouts Burn More Calories

Thinking about taking a class — from Bikram yoga to hot Pilates — in a sauna-like studio? Before you sign up to work out in a 105-degree room, find out what you need to know about this popular trend.

The Truth: Working out in hot temperatures does not help you burn more calories or detox your body.

There is always some fitness craze that everyone feels like they HAVE to try, and lately it seems like the focus is more and more on “hot” workouts. Believe me, I’ll try anything that seems like a good way to burn more calories faster, but this just isn’t the ticket. These hot workouts may seem like a cool challenge for you to try, but they can actually do more harm than good to your­­ body.

The key to weight loss is to heat the body from the inside out, not the outside in. Sweating caused by your body exerting a lot of energy versus sweating caused by a hot temperature outside are two very different things. When it comes to exercise, you want to heat your body from the inside out by exercising at a high intensity and working out at your maximum heart rate. Adding heat from the environment offers no benefits to your body.

Working out in the heat could be harmful to your body. You’re actually dehydrating your body, and you could suffer from severe health consequences. A lot of people say exercising in the heat allows them to become more flexible — but this is one dangerous way to increase flexibility! You become flexible by training and stretching, not by jacking up the temp. Heat can make you feel more flexible than you actually are, causing you to stretch farther than is safe and injure yourself.

Intense sweating is not a form of “detox.” Sweating a lot during a workout doesn’t mean you’re burning more calories — or detoxing your body. Detoxing is primarily the job of your kidneys, and intensity training is the best way to burn the maximum amount of calories. So take off those sweatshirts or trash bags you may go running in or wear to your classes to sweat, thinking they’ll help you release toxins. They’re not helping you — it’s water weight that comes off…and comes right back on!

The Bottom Line: Work out in a cool climate, boost your intensity, and drink more water to aid in detoxing by supporting your kidneys.

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