FAQ’S – Why do I Sweat so Much on Stage?

Sweating is our body’s built-in way of cooling itself off when we start to get too hot. It’s a completely normal and healthy physiological process that works to regulate our body temperature and keep it within a normal range so that we can function optimally.

The body’s normal core temperature is around 98.6 degrees. If it reaches 104 degrees or higher, you could experience serious consequences such as heatstroke and even death if it’s remains elevated in that range for an extended period. We need to sweat to live and function. Sweating is good.

During sweating, water from the body is evaporated from the skin, which produces a cooling effect to lower body temperature back down to a normal range. It works similar to how a thermostat controls the temperature of your home in the summer – if the temperature reaches a certain pre-set upper limit range, the thermostat kicks in and blows cool air into the house to cool it back down.

Some people sweat a little more than others (both volume and frequency) and this just means their internal thermostat might be a little more sensitive or kicks in at an slightly lower range compared to others. This is also completely normal and nothing to be concerned with. Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis is something different and is a real condition that can be treated and you should speak to your doctor about.

For the rest of us relatively healthy gym rats, we don’t mind a little sweat in the gym. It lets us know we’ve worked hard and maybe even flushed out some excess sodium. What we’re more annoyed with is the sweating on stage during your competition – and that’s more what this post is about; controlling excessive sweating, under those stage lights on competition day.

First and foremost, it should be pointed out that sweating on the day of your competition does NOT mean you are holding too much water or you took too many diuretics. These are just meathead myths passed around from one bro to another. It has very little to nothing to do with either. If you are hot, your body will cool itself – plain and simple. So the issue becomes how do you help your body stay cool on stage when the core temperature starts to rise and the sweat starts to pour down, ruining your perfect Absolute Touch tan.

Here are some simple strategies that we’ve tested over the years that can help control excessive sweating on competition day (note that these tips would apply moreso to those who are prone to excessive sweating and not all clients):

1. Remain calm and relaxed. Stress, anxiety and heightened emotional states can all drive up body temperature. The best advice is to keep as emotionally and psychologically cool as possible from the moment you walk back stage to when your hitting poses on stage. Allow nerves to take over and prepare for the sweat to pour.

2. Don’t over pump. If you’re a notorious sweater, just stick to 2-3 simple movements and around 10 sets total with 10-12 reps per exercise. Your pump shouldn’t last more than 10 minutes. The more you pump up, the higher your body temperature will be as you walk out on stage. You should have a little bit of a pump as you walk out and remember that you will continue hardening up and looking tighter as you hit poses under the lights.

3. Sip ice cold water and crushed ice. I always tell clients to have a water bottle with crushed ice in it and keep it partially frozen like that in your cooler bag with freezer packs backstage. Having some small sips of this ice water can go a long way in keeping your temperature down.

4. Don’t stuff your face with carbs backstage. Carbohydrates can have a thermogenic effect and slamming back 75-100 grams of carbs backstage is one sure fire way to get your body temperature climbing. Keep it conservative and in moderation backstage in the 1-2 hours before going on and you will lessen the thermic effect on your core temperature.

5. Practice posing in hot environments. One thing I use to do when I was competing was find a dry or infrared sauna in the final 4 weeks and practice my posing in there for 20 minutes at as time. As your body gets more use to posing under these conditions, being on stage won’t feel as ‘hot’ and your internal thermostat (i.e. sweating) won’t be triggered as easily.

6. Find the coolest spot at the venue. If the backstage area is too hot, you don’t have to sit there for hours waiting…heating up. You should be backstage 45-60 mins prior to when you go on, but you can find a cool spot to chill out (with air conditioning) prior to that as long as you have someone backstage (i.e. friend, coach, competitor) that can keep you up to date with how much time you have.

7. Fever reducing medication. Be sure to check with your organization’s rules on this one, but taking an over the counter fever reducer such as Tylenol (with acetaminophen), Aspirin can help prevent your temperature from rising too high.

8. Bring a fan. And not the friends and social media type of fan. An actual cooling fan. You can bring a small fan with you backstage to keep you a little cooler.

9. Loose fitting clothing. Wear thin, loose fitting clothing backstage only. This will allow air to circulate more over your skin and keep you cool…and not ruin your tan!

Hopefully you can use some of the tips provided in this post to reduce a little excessive sweating on competition day. Sweating won’t cost you points, but if it gets to the point where it’s distracting and masking some detail, that’s when you need to take measures to control it.

Stay cool friends,

Sean

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