Belly fat is a point of insecurity for a lot of people. Luckily, the sauna can help you lose that belly fat. But there’s a bit of a caveat.
The sauna is good for losing belly fat, but there is no such thing as targeted weight loss. That means you must lose weight all over your body in order to lose belly fat. The sauna boosts your metabolism and helps you burn extra calories, translating into weight loss.
Keep reading to learn more about using the sauna to lose belly fat!
Is targeted fat loss around your belly possible?
Most people who are on a weight loss journey want to lose weight around the belly specifically. There are rumors flying around that certain tools or diets will help you target that area of your body. But is that really possible?
Targeted fat loss around your belly is not possible. Even performing core workouts doesn’t centralize weight loss to your core. However, the sauna does help you lose fat in general, which will in turn help you lose fat in your belly.
Targeted weight loss isn’t real. This study about regional fat changes is often cited as proof that targeted weight loss is possible. However, it’s a ridiculous study.
Only 11 people participated. They did thousands of leg presses a week on one leg. Body fat loss was the same between the control and trained leg, but body fat was lost in the trunk and upper extremities.
To summarize, 11 people did thousands of leg presses and lost weight…not in their legs. That means that those “ab targeting” weight loss tools and classes are a sham. Due to the small sample size, the ludicrous amount of leg presses, and the strange results, this study isn’t proof at all that localized fat loss is possible.
Core workouts do not make you lose weight around your core specifically. Likewise, upper-body resistance training leads to generalized fat loss – not localized to the arms.
If you want to lose belly fat, you need to lose fat in general. Luckily, the sauna can help with that!
Can you lose belly fat in the sauna?
If targeted weight loss doesn’t exist, can you still lose belly fat in the sauna?
You can lose belly fat in the sauna, but in order to lose belly fat, you need to lose fat all over. You can’t just target losing weight in your belly.
Core workouts don’t regionalize your weight loss to your core, and likewise, a sauna session will help you lose weight everywhere. It’s impossible to centralize weight loss to your belly.
You can burn roughly 50% more calories in the sauna than while at rest. Your weight, gender, and other factors contribute to the exact percentage. For example, the average woman burns about 50 calories after half an hour in the sauna, whereas she would have only burned about 30 at rest.
You lose weight in the sauna because saunas increase your metabolism temporarily by mimicking the effects of cardiovascular exercise.
Can you sweat out belly fat?
Since the sauna makes you sweat so much, you may be wondering if you can sweat out your belly fat.
You can’t sweat out belly fat.
Excess sweating indicates losing water weight, but that’s different from losing fat.
Do you have to sweat to lose belly fat?
It’s possible to lose belly fat without sweating.
Weight loss is achieved with the calories consumed are less than the calories used.
It’s important to remember that it’s impossible to target weight loss to one area of the body, though.
Can the sauna help you burn fat and lose calories?
The sauna has some surprising benefits beyond relaxation.
The sauna helps you burn fat and lose calories. Your metabolism increases in the sauna, so you burn more calories in the sauna than you would normally at rest. You can lose weight with regular sauna usage.
Your metabolic rate can increase by up to 33% in the sauna! In fact, the more you weigh to begin with, the more weight you lose.
Your baseline metabolism depends on three main things:
- Body size and composition
Saunas burn calories via thermal stress and increase your blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolism. During the first part of your response to heat, you sweat out the excess heat. But then your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate rise.
Tips for burning calories and losing weight in the sauna
Time to discuss the best ways to utilize saunas for weight loss!
Here are some ways to burn calories and lose weight in the sauna:
- Use the sauna after a workout
- Use the sauna every day
- Use a sauna suit
- Work your way up to longer sessions
Let’s talk about each one a little more.
Use the sauna after a workout
You may be working out to lose weight. Why not prolong burning calories by hopping in the sauna afterwards?
Using the sauna after a workout can help you burn calories and lose weight. It extends how long your metabolism is boosted so you keep burning extra calories even after your workout is over. It also increases hGH, which helps repair injured muscles.
Some benefits of using the sauna after a workout are:
- Weight loss
- Reduced joint pain
- Cardiovascular strength
In addition, using a steam room after a workout can reduce delayed onset muscle soreness post-workout. Steam rooms are probably your best bet post-workout because the wet heat penetrates muscles and reduces pain better than dry heat does.
Use the sauna every day
If you use the sauna every day, you will reap its weight-loss benefits to a higher extent than if you just used it occasionally.
Using the sauna every day can help you burn calories and lose weight. You’ll get the weight loss effects of a sauna more consistently, hence shedding extra pounds more quickly. With everyday use, you may want to limit the amount of time you’re in the sauna. Listen to your body and stay hydrated!
Since your metabolic rate increases in the sauna, it only makes sense that you’ll lose more weight if you utilize that benefit more frequently.
Use a sauna suit
Using a sauna suit, with the right precautions, is a great way to lose weight.
Using a sauna suit can help you burn calories and lose weight. Sauna suits improve sustained weight loss because they increase resting metabolic weight. Start with 5-10 minute sessions and slowly increase how long you wear it until you can wear it for a full workout session. Don’t wear it for long workouts without breaks in between.
Using sauna suits reduces fat percentage and body mass as well as improves cardiovascular health. Sauna suits also helped with other health problems such as blood glucose, RMR, and fat oxidation.
But most importantly, you have to stay safe while using a sauna suit. The biggest risks are dehydration and overheating. There’s even a risk of kidney damage or rhabdomyolysis if you’re not in good health. Talk to your doctor and stay extremely hydrated. Don’t overdo it just to “lose weight quickly.” Slow and steady wins the race!
Work your way up to longer sessions
Staying in the sauna for longer sessions will result in losing more weight.
Working your way up to longer sauna sessions can help you burn calories and lose weight. The longer you’re in the sauna, the more benefits you will reap. For example, your metabolism will stay boosted for longer. Don’t attempt a 30-minute session on your first go – start with 5-10 minutes at a time and work up from there.
The golden number for steam rooms is 15 minutes per session, three times a week. Don’t exceed 20 minutes. If you’re entering the steam room after a workout, wait 10 minutes first so your body has time to cool down and reset.
Infrared saunas, on the other hand, should be used three times a week for 30 minutes at a time to get maximum benefits. Forty-five minutes is the maximum cut-off to stay safe. If you stay in for too long you can end up with dry skin, acute myocardial infarctions, and severe aortic stenosis. It’s not worth overdoing it!
Lastly, traditional dry saunas should include sessions of about 20 minutes. To get all of the wonderful benefits of the dry sauna, stay in for at least 10 minutes at a minimum of 150°F. Dry saunas are the hottest sauna, so it’s important to listen to your body!