But did you know how your sweat can reveal many important facts about your diet, fitness, and exercise metabolism? Here’s how to decode yours:
Your diet may be to blame. Caffeine stimulates sweat glands under your arms and in your scalp and groin that secrete a fatty, odiferous sweat. And if you eat a very-low-carb diet, your body breaks down protein and fats, creating acetone, which is excreted through sweat and has a distinctive ammonia smell.
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If Yours Pours
You’re hydrated and working hard. Seasoned athletes may not sweat more than those who aren’t as fit, but they’re able to work harder and produce more sweat. In hot conditions, however, fitter athletes have greater sweating capacity, according to research published in the American Journal of Physiology.
If Yours Stains
You may be losing a lot of salt. Less-fit athletes who aren’t used to working out in heat shed more sodium than their fitter, heat-acclimatized counterparts. Choose a drink with 400 to 600 milligrams of sodium per serving.
If Yours Stops
“You’re not adequately replacing your fluid loss,” says Appalachian State University sweat researcher Caroline Smith, PhD. You don’t need to replace every drop but you do need to drink enough so your body’s cooling system can work. This is a sign of heat exhaustion, when your core temperature can rise quickly, which can potentially lead to heatstroke.
Adapted from The Bicycling Big Book of Cycling for Women