Does The Hot Tub Burn Fat Or Is It A Complete Myth?

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: April 2, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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While sitting in a hot tub can induce sweating and temporarily increase calorie expenditure, it does not directly burn fat.

As a personal fitness trainer, I extensively research methods for successful weight loss. I've learned that weight loss requires a combination of a balanced diet, regular exercise, and appropriate supplements.

Relying on hot tubs as the only fat-burning method is a misconception, and this article will clarify the role of hot water immersion in the context of a comprehensive weight-loss strategy.

Quick Summary

  • Sitting in a hot tub may contribute to fat burning by improving blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation in some individuals.
  • Soaking in hot water can influence weight loss, but the impact varies depending on factors such as age, gender, fitness level, and metabolic rate.
  • Taking a relaxing hot bath may contribute to burning around 140 calories, but it's important to note that this alone doesn't lead to significant fat loss.
  • In my experience, combining a balanced diet, consistent exercise, and incorporating natural fat-burning supplements can help achieve effective weight loss.

Does Sitting In The Hot Tub Burn Fat?

Women sitting in the hot tub

Yes, sitting in the hot tub can help burn fat and aid in weight loss, thanks to its positive effects on metabolism and inflammation.

A study from Loughborough University indicates that hot-water immersion enhances blood sugar metabolism and reduces inflammation in sedentary, overweight individuals [1].

However, it's crucial to refrain from considering the hot tub as a substitute for physical activity, as prolonged time in a hot tub may result in adverse effects.

From my observations, immersing myself in hot water not only provides relaxation but also stimulates increased energy usage in my body, similar to the effects of exercise.

What Is the Science Behind Hot Tub Weight Loss?

The science behind hot tub weight loss is rooted in how the body responds to external heat sources, which can stimulate the production of specific proteins like heat shock protein 70 and interleukin-6, potentially benefiting metabolic health and obesity treatment [2].

These proteins increase during exercise and hot water exposure, showing promise for enhancing metabolism and insulin resistance [3].

This combination of factors improves the body's ability to burn calories and repair muscles after exercise, raising important questions about hot tub use.

Should You Go To The Hot Tub Before Exercising?

A person in a hot tub spa

Going to the hot tub before exercising is not recommended for optimal weight loss, recovery, and performance.

Firstly, effective weight loss requires maximizing energy expenditure during exercise, which triggers the production of heat shock proteins, as per the National Institute of Health [4].

Immersing in a hot tub post-workout not only enhances these proteins but also aids muscle relaxation, preparing for the recovery process.

Another study from the same research institute has shown a positive impact on performance levels as the heat relaxes blood vessels, increasing blood flow and reducing muscle stiffness [5].

Waiting until after your gym session can positively affect weight loss, recovery, and performance in subsequent training sessions.

If you head to the hot tub before the gym, you have to get changed multiple times before you even start your warm-up.

As a personal trainer, I recommend a proper muscle warm-up over substituting it with the hot tub.

How Much Fat Does a Hot Bath Burn?

Taking a hot bath can burn approximately 140 calories, but it's important to understand that it doesn't lead to significant fat loss on its own.

The impact on weight loss is minimal, and a hot bath should be viewed as a complement, not a substitute, for a comprehensive fitness routine and a balanced diet.

I often advise my clients to prioritize regular exercise and proper nutrition for meaningful fat loss, suggesting they use the hot bath primarily for relaxation benefits.

Hot Tub Health Risks and Side Effects

Feeling lightheaded upon leaving a hot tub is a common issue. This happens because, according to the Cleveland Clinic, soaking in hot water widens your blood vessels, which lowers your blood pressure [6].

“Since the heat from a hot tub expands blood vessels, causing blood pressure to drop, people who already have low blood pressure can pass out in a hot tub.”

- Aaron Kassraie, Writer at

Moreover, there's a risk of infection as hot water can foster bacteria. Maintaining high hygiene standards at your gym is crucial, WebMD reports [7].

If you don't have underlying health conditions, I recommend using hot tubs to support your weight loss goals.


How Many Calories Does 15 Minutes in a Hot Tub Burn?

15 minutes in a hot tub can burn up to 40 calories [8]. However, this will depend on your age, gender, fitness level, and metabolic rate, so the impact on weight loss can differ a lot between people.

Does the Hot Tub Improve Exercise Recovery?

Yes, the hot tub can improve exercise recovery. By relaxing your muscles and improving blood circulation, you can find that you suffer less soreness. You should also feel less sore the next day.


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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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