No Sweat Workouts! Why You Don’t Need to Be a Mess to Get Fit

photo by xannah

When do you begin to sweat?

There are many answers to this question, because it varies from person to person. The climate and the clothes you are wearing also play a role, but it’s an important point for you to figure out.

Why should I care about sweat point?

Sweat, by definition, is the brain’s reaction to your body beginning to overheat. Something I was curious about was how fast, and how hard I could workout without hitting my sweat point. That’s why we came up with this literal term:

No Sweat Workouts

Wait… isn’t the point of exercise to sweat?

Yes, if you have the time and access to the shower. But we have all been in situations where we just want to move a little bit at work, before leaving the house, or in other short bursts. When you know what your sweat point is, you can figure out how many small movements can be done before becoming uncomfortable at home or work.

Ladies, I’m sorry to tell you, but it looks like women actually sweat a little more than men during high-tempo exercises. But remember, many factors impact a person’s sweat point, including biological and environmental. You’ll sweat faster outside than inside an air-conditioned room. You’ll sweat faster in work clothes than breathable exercise clothes.

For example, if your sweat point in work clothes is 10 minutes moving at a moderate pace, then you can go for a 10 minute walk after lunch. For higher tempo exercises, like burpees, it may only be a few minutes. If your sweat point in the house is 5 minutes at a high tempo, then you can listen to a good song while doing pushups and squats.

Single plane movements (up and down or side to side) like pushups are less taxing than multi-plane movements. I personally like to do a mixture of hi-tempo movements with low reps, and single-plane movements at a slow, challenging pace.

Here’s a quick example of a No Sweat Workout!

Timer set for 7 minutes, AMRAP

  • 5 pushups – 5 seconds up, then 5 seconds down
  • 10 squats
  • 3 burpees
  • 20 second count on bridge

I really focus on form, my breathing, and stretching my body out with each rep. These no sweat workouts serve the purpose of giving me a quick boost of energy, stress relief, and focus. It may also be that I haven’t scheduled well enough to give myself a proper workout, and this is better than nothing!

photo by zoofytheji

Short workouts may seem unnecessary and unhelpful, but there’s a growing body of research that is showing the benefits. It’s easy to make the excuse of thinking “I don’t have time” or “A 5 minute workout isn’t worth it.” But when we take the time to consider the benefits of movement, the inverse almost seems silly in comparison. “I can get all the benefits of being happier, productive, and less-stressed, just by moving around a bit!?”

In fact, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have shown the cumulative effects of bursts of movement throughout the day can be very effective.

In the study, two groups of middle aged women were told to exercise for a period of 20 weeks. Both groups were told to workout five days each week, for 20-40 minutes. The difference was that one group needed to complete their workout in one 30 minute session, while the other group was asked to complete three 10-minute sessions throughout the day. After 20 weeks, the multi-session group finished the study with a 39% greater weight loss than the single-session group!

Any kind of workout is great, but no longer do we need to believe that unless we can get that 20-30 minute workout in, we don’t have time. If you are literally telling yourself that you don’t have 5 minutes to spend on making yourself healthier, then you need to look at how you’re spending your time.

All we’re talking about here is simply finding your body’s threshold of sweat. Finding your sweat point allows you to do mini-workouts and movement that will keep your body firing on all cylinders. To help you get started, here are 5 workouts you can do in 5 minutes, and likely keep yourself from reaching your sweat point.

All workouts are timed for 5 minutes (increase as your sweat point goes up). Set your watch or phone and get going!

No Sweat Workouts: Morning

Workout #1

5 pushups

5 one-leg side jumps (each leg)

5 bent-over rows (with weight or using the table)

Workout #2

5 burpees

10 abs

5 lunges (each leg)

No Sweat Workouts: Lunch Break

Workout #3

5 table pulls

10 side lunges

5 pushups

Workout #4

10 squats

10 dips

3 pullups (find an overhang around your building, or nearby park)

Workout #5

Sun Saluations

Illustration by Maggie Miller