Sweat: Fitness’ Most Overstated Metric

“I’ve never sweated so much in my life!” This is a line we could attribute to a man who’s just supervised recess on a school yard black top in June and a woman just coming off of conditioning line drills at basketball practice. Both are sweating, but the problem is only one is getting fitter. 

Far too much emphasis is placed on the sweat quotient, if you ask me, when evaluating the quality of a training methodology. Bikrahm yoga? We get it. It’s hot. Bootcamp got you in a pool of your own sweat? I would imagine so.

The trouble is sweat is never the desired result from training. People train for some other outcome, albeit weight-loss, strength gains, increased aerobic capacity, etc. Now, surely sweat is a by-product of a metabolic process and it in and of itself is not bad or an indication that you’re doing something wrong. Rather, I’m asking that you not tether your understanding of training efficacy to it completely. In fact, most common fitness goals, like burning fat and building lean tissue, can be done with much less sweat that you’d imagine. 

If your worldview says the best training leaves you sweating the most, you’re wildly mistaken. 

Hypertrophy, or the process of building muscle tissue, happens best in an environment with enough eccentric loading and time under tension with loads at rep ranges that support muscle damage and subsequent growth. While you may sweat when getting stronger, the goal definitely isn’t how to get a mover to sweat the most. The goal is to get a training effect. 

Look, lots of things can make you sweat (including a performance review at work). If you’re going to have the strongest chance to reach the goals you have for yourself, you’ll need a good map of the landscape. HINT: an obsession with sweat will get you lost. 


Logan Gelbrich



Daily Coaching Video 

Submit Your Score to the Digital Whiteboard

5/16/20 WOD

Complete 4 rounds for quality of:

30 Glute Bridges 

15 Single Leg Glute Bridges (ea)

15 Sliding Hamstring Curls


Then, 3 rounds for quality of:

30 Doorway Towel Face Pulls

30 Doorway Towel Rows

:30 Isometric Doorway Towel Row Hold

30 Empty Hand Overhead Press

-Rest 2 Min-


Then, complete in as few sets as possible:

50 Pushup to Downward Dog


-Rest 2 minutes-


Max Effort Supine Plank

-Rest 1 Min-

Max Effort Supine Plank