If you’re looking for ways to increase the intensity of your training, whether that be passively at home, or during a workout such as boxing, you’ve probably come across sauna suits.
These weird-looking plastic suits are designed to make you sweat excessively during your workout.
Increasing the amount of heat around your body during your workout is purported to burn fat in your body faster, as you heat up more and thus require more energy to complete your workout.
But is this true? We see these things so often that we assume there must be some modicum of truth in there, but let’s find out what’s fact or fiction when it comes to sauna suits.
Read on for an in-depth analysis of sauna suits, whether they’re good for you, and if there are any risks involved in using them.
What Is A Sauna Suit?
In basic terms, a sauna suit is a waterproof tracksuit that’s plastic lining traps your body heat and sweat inside as you train wearing it.
As you begin to work out, the heat generated from your body creates sweat, and wearing a sauna suit stops it from evaporating and cooling the body down. Thus, your body heats up more and more.
A sauna suit is also referred to as a rubber suit and comes in many different varieties these days as the market for quick weight loss hacks is booming as much as ever.
Sauna suits have a very mixed review from both athletes and doctors, some saying they help to increase their stamina, blood circulation, and ability to perform under pressure, others stating that they increase the risk of heat stroke and dehydration.
Are There Any Benefits To A Sauna Suit?
According to those who swear by them, sauna suits have numerous benefits to your training routine. A few of them are listed below:
- Increased Circulation – As you are heating your body, your blood vessels expand, thus your circulation improves and your blood pressure lowers.
- Improve Weight Loss – As you sweat out more than usual, you lose a huge amount of water weight, which can be helpful if you have a body or looks-based competition or event the following day.
- Eliminate Toxins – As you sweat out more than usual, the toxins in your body are eliminated faster.
- Softer Skin – Being in a moist environment of your sweat rehydrates your skin, making it softer and smoother.
- Enhanced Training Performance – As you heat up quicker, you have to push harder through your workout to complete it, burning more calories and maximizing the energy used during the workout.
However, a lot of these claims are pretty dubious at best.
Even though you are increasing your body’s temperature (that’s a given), that doesn’t mean you are necessarily increasing the intensity of your workout, rather, you’re just making it a bit more sticky and unpleasant.
When we sweat, we are transferring the heat produced from our bodies away from our skin, helping us to control our temperature.
But, when we place our body in a sweat suit, this evaporation doesn’t get to do its thing, causing our temperature to continue to rise, making us sweat more and the cycle continues.
When you get hotter, you’ll automatically think that the exercise you are doing is harder when in reality, your muscle groups are working at the same intensity as before, you’re just not letting your body work its magic and cool you back down.
Saying that, if you struggle with water retention, or have a condition such as lipedema, some doctors suggest heat therapy and sauna suits as a way to reduce the excess water in your body, and sauna suits can be hugely beneficial in temporarily relieving discomfort.
Equally, if you have a body competition or event such as a swimsuit competition, sauna suits can temporarily reduce your weight by reducing the water you hold.
Of course, drinking a bottle of water is all you need to do to put it all back on again so it’s no long-term solution by any means.
Will A Sauna Suit Help Burn Fat?
Many people swear by their sauna suits and say it is the secret to their weight loss success.
And yes, when they say that they can really ‘feel’ the extra intensity of their training, they certainly are feeling something. It’s the heat.
All of that heat is making the whole workout seem far more difficult, and technically yes, it is more difficult.
But, rather than pushing further and increasing something tangible such as weight or resistance to your workout, increasing the humidity around your body won’t help you burn more fat.
You may think, well saunas are great for you, no? Yes, but imagine doing a kickboxing training session in a sauna. It starts to feel a little counterintuitive.
The most likely outcome is that you will not push yourself further or listen to your body’s needs for water, ending in a workout where you don’t stress your muscles as much as you could be if you were to naturally let your sweat evaporate and cool you down.
Are There Any Dangers To Wearing A Sauna Suit?
There are hundreds of sauna suits available on the market today, from almost every brand available.
Having said that, there is also no substantial clinical research to back up their claims of weight loss and detoxification.
Your kidneys and liver are the organs responsible for detoxification in your body, and sweat only releases traces of these toxins.
As you appear to be losing weight through these sweat suits, you are merely losing very valuable water from your body. Water that you implicitly need to survive.
There have been many cases of people passing out and dehydrating when pushing themselves to do hardcore activities in sweat suits.
Some of the negative effects of these sauna suits according to the CDC can include:
- Issues with your body’s thermoregulation in the long term
- Renal function
- Muscle strength
- Body composition
- Muscle endurance
- Electrolyte balance
- Severe dehydration
If you are looking to simply change the number on the scale very temporarily, a sauna suit does indeed do that job. But, bear in mind that it is not fat loss you are experiencing, but rather water loss.
This can be great for some people, especially those who have issues with water retention.
However, for all of the dangers and dubious claims, we’d avoid the sweat suits and increase your training by more quantifiable measures such as resistance or additional reps and leave the fads at the door.
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