Does a Sauna Suit Work for Weight Loss?

A man wearing a sauna suit

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You may have heard about a new metabolic and workout trend called sauna suits. A single suit touts several benefits, including expedited weight loss and healthier fitness sessions. Is it worth a sweat to dive deep into the research? Does a sauna suit work to provide the benefits you’re seeing in viral TikToks and top-performing articles? Let’s analyze the what and how behind sauna suits and if they have any medical research and backing behind them.

What Is a Sauna Suit?

Sauna suits are workout garments that usually cover the whole body in one piece or come in two parts — a long-sleeved shirt and pants. Usually, they are made of a neoprene, waterproof material. The design traps heat inside the outfit, making people working out sweat more by making central temperatures much higher than standard workout gear. 

The supposed logic is simple — the more the person sweats, the more calories leave the body. However, some of these statements require more nuance. There are also claims the sauna suit provides a detoxing effect. People work out in warm conditions all the time. Trends like hot yoga embrace this environment for several reasons, but it is primarily meant to increase workout intensity.

Neoprene workout equipment has existed, so this isn’t a novelty. Sauna suits are just a more extreme version of these questionably safe alternatives. Do sauna suits do what they claim or is it yet another fitness trend meant to die as soon as people discover the truth?

person sweating after workout

What Is True About Sauna Suits?

A sauna suit does work to make you hotter during a workout. This is indisputable — the fabric choice speaks for itself. Does the added pressure and bodily strain make the exercise more valuable or cause weight loss? There is not enough known to prove one way or the other. Not everything currently known and trustworthy about sauna suits is an advantage. 

Because of the heat, it is also a fact that this outfit is more likely to cause dehydration or heat concerns for high-intensity workouts. Having a water bottle nearby should mitigate this completely, but it is something to be aware of. Boosting this with extra nutrients or electrolytes will make the situation even better. If athletes suffer from heat exhaustion, they must be careful with these symptoms, which could lead to more intense health conditions:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Vision problems
  • Muscle spasms and cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased pulse

These are signs you need to cool down immediately and ingest cool liquids, or you might pass out or suffer from heatstroke.

Another hard truth about sauna suits is that there is little research on them. It’s evident that clothing forces more sweat loss, but there are not many trials regarding weight loss or improvements in athleticism. A study from 2018 determined little more than how much additional physiological strain the outfit causes. Your body will adapt slightly to the heat, but the results are inconsistent.

Other studies explored oxygen in people working out, where people wearing sauna suits had higher concentrations by around 4 percent. Other analyses look at body weight, but the differences between sauna suit wearers and control groups must be consistent to form a tried-and-true determination.

Wait, Aren’t Sauna Suits Illegal?

You may have seen some buzz around the illegalities of sauna suits. Is it possible for you to even use one? For some context, here are some situations where sauna suits were ill-advised or outright prohibited:

plastic water bottle

What Are the Myths and Misconceptions?

What’s more important to unpack are potential myths surrounding sauna suits. There is a lot of misinformation, but more importantly, knowledge gaps need more attention. Advertisers list many claims to boost sales, including weight loss and better muscle recovery post-workout. Are any of these true enough to justify investing in one for yourself?

Let’s talk about detoxing first, because this is commonly associated with sweat production — and we know the sauna suit is good at that, for sure. Detoxing is a difficult term, but it usually involves removing toxins from the body. Sweating does not expel toxic substances from the body, therefore, sauna suits do not cause a detoxing effect.

When it comes to weight loss, it is confusing. Wearing a sauna suit could make wearers feel like they’re losing more weight, especially if they’re keeping tabs on it every day. Why? The suits may help with water weight loss but not necessarily with getting rid of fat. Seeing the numbers on the scale drop could be deceiving if you’re not careful about keeping track of a food diary or what kind of exercises you’re doing. It would be best to discuss massive weight loss fluctuations with a health professional to ensure no other factors outside of a sauna suit are in play.

Also, many people enjoy the calming effects and health benefits of traditional saunas. It’s essential to clarify that despite their heating effect, sauna suits do not have the same effects as sitting in a sauna. People sit in them for a medley of reasons, including relaxation or temporary mitigation of chronic pain. Sauna suits do not do the same thing. There are also larger bodies of research on regularly using a sauna versus wearing sauna suits doing different workouts.

sign that says sweat

Does a Sauna Suit Work?

The research behind sauna suits still needs to be improved, rendering a conclusion out of reach. Currently, sauna suits don’t add much to a workout other than increasing the heat. Claims regarding detoxing and weight loss are not well-backed, and more professional testing and oversight are required to validate any supposed health benefits. 

If you try one for yourself, practice caution and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Listen to your body when exercising, and you will succeed regardless of what you wear.

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