Do Plastic Suits Burn More Calories During Workouts?
Plastic or rubber sauna suits are a controversial topic for people in the fitness industry. Despite the suit's potential to help you lose weight through excess sweating, it has a number of associated risks that make it an unhealthy way to try to lose weight. Losing weight doesn't necessarily mean that you're burning calories, and no evidence exists that wearing a plastic suit will help you burn more calories during a workout.
Although wearing a plastic sauna suit will unquestionably make you sweat more, especially if you wear it in a hot room or while working out, it will not help you burn more calories. Although sweating is often a byproduct of burning calories, the two are not otherwise connected; while the excess sweat might make you feel that you've increased the intensity of your workout, all you've done is lose water weight.
If you wear a sauna suit during an intense workout, you'll likely sweat substantially, which will help you lose weight. The weight loss isn't the same as the weight loss associated with burning calories, however. As soon as you rehydrate after excessive sweating, your body will regain the weight you just lost.
Many health practitioners suggest avoiding wearing a sauna suit because of the risks associated with doing so. Because they increase your body's temperature significantly, wearing a sauna suit can make you more susceptible to dehydration and heat stroke. In more severe cases, the loss of electrolytes in your body can result in kidney damage.
Because wearing a sauna suit helps you lose weight through sweating in a short time, many boxers, wrestlers and mixed martial artists wear one to make weight for a fight. If a fighter needs to weigh 170 pounds, for example, and weighs in at 173, he'll often put on a sauna suit and work out in a hot room to lose the weight quickly so that he can make weight. After making weight, he'll drink water to rehydrate his depleted body.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.