What is a sweat test?
A sweat test is an exercise based test designed to understand how much fluid someone loses through their sweat (sweat rate) and how also much sodium (sweat sodium concentration or how “salty” your sweat is).
This information can assist in performance, well-being and recovery by being used as the basis for hydration and electrolyte replacement strategies pre, during and post exercise.
Using the information provided in the sweat lab sweat kit sweat samples are recorded and then sent to the Sweat Lab for analysis.
Whether performing the test on yourself or under the guidance of a TSL accredited practitioner, all that is required is a minimum of approximately 30 minutes of “race-pace” or appropriate intensity exercise / work.
Someone’s sweat profile (rate & electrolyte concentration) is highly individual and can be affected by:
- Type of activity
- Exercise duration
- Exercise intensity
- relative humidity
- radiant heat / exposure
- inside / outside – air movement
- Clothing / Protective Equipment
- Pre-exercise hydration status
- Ability to replace fluids during exercise
- Dietary electrolyte intake (eg. Sodium)
- Level of heat acclimatisation
- Body composition
- Fitness level
Who is a sweat test for?
A sweat test is suitable for anyone who sweats and is interested in personalising their hydration strategies. Some of our clients include:
- Athletes, teams & squads
- Elite / Professional
- Development / Teenage
- Recreational / weekend warriors
- Gym / health training enthusiasts
- Occupational settings
- Military servicemen and women
- Emergency services / First Responders
If you identify as someone who sweats a lot or you suffer from physiological issues such as cramping, lethargy, muscle spasms or loss of coordination, or perhaps mental concentration or decision-making ability a sweat test may assist in understanding why, and also lead to strategies to help rectify those issues.
Why do a sweat test?
- You suffer from cramp on occasions where you're sweating a lot.
- You've had issues with dehydration (or over-hydration/hyponatremia) during races/competitions or at the workplace.
- You struggle to maintain your performance in hot environments, or when your sweat losses are higher.
- You struggle to recover after longer training sessions or races in hot weather.
- You're a serious athlete who is looking for marginal gains that can be a game-changer in terms of your performance.
Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can contribute to declining physical performance, impaired cognitive ability and reaction time, overall wellbeing and result in symptoms such as headaches, nausea, lethargy, loss of coordination, muscle & heat cramps.
Whether trying to perform at your best in the sporting arena, train hard for improvements or if you or your workers are on the tools looking after your hydration and electrolyte replacement is of high importance.
Sweat rates and sweat sodium concentration are highly variable amongst individuals and cannot be predicted by any other means other than measurement and analysis. The hydration and electrolyte replacement strategy that is suitable for one of your peers may completely inappropriate for you due to the amount of sweat lost and how “salty” that sweat is.
Merely using “average” sweat rates and sweat sodium levels as the basis for replacement can be highly irrelevant and problematic. The American College Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that best practice is to devise individual fluid and sodium replacement strategies for athletes. This is only achievable once individual sweat losses are measured.
When should you do a sweat test?
Someone’s sweat profile will change throughout the year due to their level of heat acclimatisation, change in fitness level or body composition and also due to major dietary changes amongst other factors. Sweating is a mechanism to cool the body and maintain core body temperature. Effectively the body can become better at dissipating heat through sweating and can also adapt to how much sodium is lost.