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

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: July 31, 2022

As a personal fitness trainer, I do a lot of research into all the possible methods that my clients can use to lose weight successfully. It all starts with the right diet and workout routine, but ideas like hot tub soaking to deal with body fat can be fascinating.

Now, it’s not like a trip to the hot tub directly loosens that belly fat, but there’s more to it than benefits for muscle recovery.

So, I teamed up with a doctor to research scientific literature to see if it could help with weight loss.

Let’s see if hot tubs burn calories.

Quick Summary

  • People use the hot tub after workouts to help with relaxing muscles and improving blood flow for faster recovery times.
  • Research has shown that hot tubs can have an impact on your metabolic rate in a similar way to how saunas can help with burning calories.
  • While it can help you lose weight, it’s also important to be aware of recommended limits and possible risks of using a hot tub.

Does Sitting In The Hot Tub Burn Fat?

Women sitting in the hot tub

Yes, sitting in the hot tub can burn fat and help you lose weight [1].

The interesting thing is that it can have a direct impact on metabolic processes in a similar way to how exercise causes your body to use more energy.

What I have to point out right here is that this shouldn’t tempt you to spend hours in the hot tub as a way to replace physical activity.

As you’ll find out shortly, the human body does react positively to the external heat source to trigger weight loss.

But there are also side effects of spending too much time in a hot tub.

Before we get to those side effects, let me show you what scientists have found out about heat-induced weight loss.

What Is The Science Behind Hot Tub Weight Loss?

The science behind hot tub weight loss is all down to how the body reacts to external heat sources.

One study, in particular, found that sitting in hot water can trigger the heat shock protein 70 as a way to help treat metabolic disorders and obesity [2].

These proteins develop in response to heat and stress, which means they increase during exercise and exposure to hot water

. What surprised me the most is that these types of proteins can also help improve your metabolism and insulin resistance [3].

All that adds up to conditions where your body is in a better position to burn calories and repair muscle damage after exercising.

This leads me to an important question about using hot tubs.

Should You Go To The Hot Tub Before Exercising?

A person in a hot tub spa

No, you shouldn’t go to the hot tub before exercising. And there are two main reasons for this.

First of all, when it comes to weight loss, you want to use as much energy as possible during exercise. And exercise also triggers heat shock proteins [4].

More importantly, soaking in a hot tub after your workout won’t just further boost those proteins but will also help with muscle relaxation to prepare you for the recovery process.

Studies have even shown a positive impact on performance levels [5].

Because the heat relaxes blood vessels and causes increased blood flow, it helps to reduce some of that muscle stiffness you might feel.

So, if you wait until after your trip to the gym, you should be able to achieve a positive effect on weight loss, recovery, and performance levels in your next training session.

There’s also the whole practicality side of things.

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

And as a personal trainer, I don’t recommend using the hot tub instead of proper muscle warm-up.

Hot Tub Health Risks And Side Effects

Although there are plenty of hot tub health benefits, you also have to be aware of some risks and side effects.

One of the most common things I’ve heard people experience is feeling lightheaded when they get out of a hot tub.

The reason is that the heat can slightly lower your blood pressure, and when you then suddenly get out, it can further reduce your blood circulation [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 aarp.org.

There are also some risks of infection as the hot water can become a breeding spot for bacteria [7]. It’s very important that you can trust the hygiene standards at your gym.

As long as you don’t have underlying health conditions, I would still recommend using hot tubs to achieve your weight loss goals.

FAQs

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.

Start Using The Hot Tub For Healthy Weight Management

Every client that has followed my advice of using the hot tub after training has come back after just a few days telling me how much it’s helped with recovery and achieving a healthy lifestyle.

The added bonus that it helps burn calories is another reason to make this part of your routine to maintain weight loss.

And if you want to gain a further boost in fat burning, then try taking a stimulant-free fat burner on a daily basis. These aren’t magic pills to give you a beach body while sitting on the couch.

But the small effects can add up over the months ahead.


References:

  1. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/hot-bath-may-have-similar-benefits-as-exercise_n_58d90aa8e4b03692bea7a930
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23328940.2017.1288688?journalCode=ktmp20
  3. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rstb.2016.0529
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30730806/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7859300/
  6. https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2021/hot-tubs.html
  7. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/hot-tubs-safety
  8. https://www.sciencealert.com/does-taking-a-hot-bath-burn-calories-30-minute-walk-passive-heating-diabetes

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