If you haven’t previously heard of sauna suits, the sound of them might not exactly inspire confidence.
You’re already well aware of all the different hoaxes prevalent in the fitness industry:
- all the thousands of diets that promise instantaneous results (“and you can even eat anything you want”)
- the waist trainers
- the gadgets you strap onto your muscles so they do all the work for you.
And the mere sound of “sauna suits” might bring about a similar reaction – how on earth is this thing expected to make me feel or look better?
You might be surprised to hear that the sauna suit does not, in fact, fall into the same category of fitness gizmos that serve no purpose other than to earn someone a fair amount of money.
The sauna suit can reduce your workout time, improve your performance, and enhance your endurance.
Let’s look at the scientific facts behind the sauna suit, and examine how it can fit into your workout routine:
What is a sauna suit?
Before we jump into the science, let’s quickly explain the term itself.
A sauna suit is a full-body suit, made out of synthetic materials that are aimed to induce sweating, and meant to be worn during a workout. In a nutshell, it’s like being in a sauna and retaining all of its health benefits – without actually having to go to one.
What will it do for me?
Lance C. Dalleck, Ph.D., has found that sauna suits improve athletic performance – significantly. Specifically, you’ll begin to sweat sooner, and you will have an increased plasma volume, as well as a higher VO2 max.
If you’re not a professional athlete, however, this data might not mean much, which is why Dalleck has recently explored the effects of the suits on weight loss.
The benefits found during his study included an improved systolic and diastolic blood pressure, a decreased waist circumference, and lowered cholesterol in those wearing the suit. But that’s not all.
Those exercising in the sauna suit were found to have dropped 2.6% body weight and 13.8% body fat, as compared to 0.9% and 8.3% respectively dropped by those exercising in regular gym kits.
They also improved their VO2 max and were burning fat faster. Finally, they also boosted their metabolic rate by 11.4%, as opposed to the control group, which has decreased it by 2.7%. This makes the sauna suit an excellent addition to any routine.
Permanent weight loss
If you’re worried that the suit might only be good for temporary weight loss, you can rest easy. Yes, you will lose water weight as soon as you start wearing it, but it will also promote weight loss over extended periods, as you keep using it.
Sauna suits can increase calorie burn by 13%, which means you will have a more difficult time gaining all that weight back, even if you do slip up with your diet.
This does not, of course, mean the suit is a silver bullet for eating what you want, when you want it, and not worrying about calories. It is, however, an excellent addition to a healthy routine, and one that can help you see results faster.
Improving athletic performance
If you are an athlete, and are now wondering how the suit can help you if you’re not looking to shed a few pounds – well, it certainly can help you too.
Your endurance, a vital aspect of any sport, can be increased by up to 67%, which will in turn significantly impact your overall performance. And as you keep wearing the suit, you’ll also become more tolerant to heat, which can help you engage in your chosen sport longer, without having to take a break from the game.
Use with caution!
What’s important to note is that the exercises that sauna suit wearers conducted during the research were moderate to vigorous, and not high intensity, and that they lasted for 45 minutes or less. If you’re not used to working out, and decide to do a HIIT routine while wearing the suit, you can quickly put your body into hyperthermia.
Also, if you suffer from heart disease or diabetes, or any other condition that might influence the way your body regulates heat, you need to check with your doctor before you decide to use one of these suits.
What else you need to know
There are a couple of other things you should know about this type of workout attire before you decide to go out and buy one.
You will not feel bad while wearing it
If sweating it out in a suit while jumping around doesn’t sound like a pleasant way to lose weight, don’t worry. When you expose yourself to higher temperatures (like in a sauna), your brain begins to release serotonin, the happiness hormone. It will positively impact your mood and mindset, and will not weigh you down, as you might think.
You need to stay hydrated
You can’t expect your body to feel as good as it should if you don’t drink enough water, yet keep sweating. Make sure you drink a glass of water before the workout, and keep a water bottle by your side at all times (water at room temperature will serve best). Don’t try to drink too much at once, but rather focus on small amounts over and over again.
Is it possible to work all the muscles in your body in 30 minutes? Try a training plan, which will help you strengthen your whole body. And moreover, you will enjoy it.
Warm up and cool down
Start your workout with a 5-minute walk or jog, which will get your body ready for the more vigorous activity ahead. You can also stretch the muscles that are going to be engaged in what comes next.
The suit will help your body warm up faster, which is why it’s important to prep the muscles before they start to exert themselves.
When you’re done with the routine, make sure to give yourself another five minutes to cool down and let your heart rate return to normal. This will also reduce your adrenaline production and help you feel better afterwards.
Keep track of how you are feeling
If you’re sweating too much, make sure you’re hydrating enough. If you start feeling dizzy or weak, stop the workout. Heat exhaustion can be a side effect of wearing the suit, so you need to be sure you’re not pushing yourself too hard all at once.
If you feel shortness of breath or an irregular heartbeat, make sure to let your doctor know, and see how your body is handling the exercise.
Have a workout plan
You will need to allow your body to adapt to working out in the suit. This means starting slowly and working your way up from there. You should aim to exercise three to five times a week, and you can start with as little as 10-15 minutes, then work up to 60 minutes over the next month or so.
Keep track of your progress, engage different muscle groups, and don’t forget to switch things up and keep yourself entertained too.
As you can see, the sauna suit, if used correctly, can be a great addition to any workout routine. Just make sure you stay on the safe side, and don’t expect your body to do wonders overnight.