No sweat: Can I tailor my exercise to burn more fat?
Martin Parr/Magnum Photos By Andy Coghlan and Catherine de Lange It seems logical. The way to kick-start your journey to a fitter, healthier and – let’s face it – more toned version of your post-holiday self is to work out until you are dripping in sweat. Finishing a workout drenched certainly feels like you’ve achieved something. And some people are even cashing in on this idea with gym kit that makes you sweat more during your workout and, supposedly, lose more weight too. But feelings can be deceptive. “Sweat is not a guide that can signal benefit as a result of exercise,” says Stuart Phillips at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. “It’s an indication of your physiological need to dissipate heat load. When you sit in a sauna you sweat, but do people think that has the same benefit as exercising?” Regardless of temperature, some of us are simply prone to sweating more, says Declan O’Regan of Imperial College London, whose work has shown how exercise benefits your heart. Genetics plays a part, as does how fit you are to begin with. Perhaps surprisingly, research shows that people perspire more as they get fitter because their body adapts to dealing with the effort, and sweating more helps them keep cool. And men tend to sweat more than women when they exercise. When it comes to getting fit, moderate exercise that gets you moving but not necessarily sweating can do the job,