Tag Archives: sweat

Boy Was My Face Red–Exercise and Flushing

It can feel so embarrassing.  You’re just working out and minding your own business, and somebody or several somebodies stop by to ask if you’re okay.  When you look in the mirror after (or during) your workout,  you notice that your face is beet red and sweating.  Super awesome!  Combine a fat body with a flushed face and you can become the target of genuine concern (which includes a bevvy of fitness instructors calculating their liability fitness rates) or (even worse) concern trolling.

What to do?  Should be red faced with embarrassment over your red face?  Should you be concerned?  How do you deal with other folks that are worried about you?  This discussion came up on the Fit Fatties Forum and I thought it warranted a blog post of its very own.

First, having a red face is nothing to be embarrassed about.  It happens to many exercisers of all shapes and sizes.  In most cases, it’s simply the body’s way of working to cool itself.  When you begin to exercise and your body starts to get warm, it begins to sweat to help cool things off.  As your muscles begin to heat up, your body tends to move the heat from your muscles to your skin which causes the blood vessels in your face (and elsewhere on your skin) to dilate.  This is a perfectly normal process which helps keep your body cool as you work out. Naturally, this effect is more pronounced when you exercise somewhere warm and humid.  This process moves a lot of super oxygenated blood around in your skin which not only helps keep you cool but helps maintain healthy skin.

For the most part, flushed skin is no big deal.  If you are feeling great during your workout, there is probably no cause for alarm.  However, if you start feeling dizzy, extra tired, nauseated or are sweating an amount that is very unusual for you, this could be a sign of impending heat exhaustion.  As always, take time to listen to your body.  If you’re experiencing these symptoms, stop exercising immediately, loosen tight clothing, get indoors, and drink some cool fluids.

Also, in some cases, this red skin could be a sign of rosacea–a common skin condition which causes your face to periodically get red especially across the nose.  Also, if you notice that your face is flushing repeatedly without exercise or spicy foods or any other trigger you might want to check with your health care professional.  It could be a sign of a more serious condition.

But for the most part, being red in the face is simply your body’s way of cooling off your muscles and enriching your body’s largest organ (your skin).  If you know that you tend to get flushed, it can be helpful to let group fitness instructors or personal trainers know ahead of time.  This can stave off some of our concerns and stave off some of those worried looks.  If somebody asks you about your red face, you can simply tell them that you are in the middle of a great workout, and this is simply your body’s way of keeping you cool.

Finally, you can’t necessarily prevent getting red skin, but you can minimize it by not getting so hot in the first place.  Work out in dry cool places or indoors.  Work out in shorter bouts (where your body has a chance to cool down) and drink plenty of fluids.

But for the most part, I encourage you to just accept your flushed face as a sign of super cool fitness accomplishment.  Cause you are just hot!


Jeanette DePatie (AKA the Fat Chick)

For People who Hate Exercise

First and foremost let me tell you that it is completely within your rights to hate exercise.   It is also completely within your rights not to do any exercise at all.  You get to be the boss of you.  That means you are under no moral or social obligation to exercise or even think positively about it.

Personally, I’ve grown to love exercise and love what it does for me.  And I love to teach other people to exercise and to share my love for exercise with folks.  Some people will never love exercise or even like it.  And that’s okay.  But I think sometimes people who think they hate exercise, really only hate one aspect of exercise.  And sometimes (but not always) I have been able to help people move around, over, under or through those barriers to exercise and they find that they do really like exercise after all.

So if you hate exercise, but really wish you didn’t hate exercise, or at least could understand what all the fuss from all those happy exercisers is about, I have some thoughts to share with you.  Here are some of the most common exercise “hate points” I’ve discovered and some suggestions for how you might move around them if you like.

1.  I hate to sweat.  The first thing to understand is what about sweating do you hate?  Are you embarrassed about sweat?  Most great athletes sweat.  In fact, it’s a sign that your body is working in a healthy way.  Are you uncomfortable when you sweat?  If you have the means, you might consider buying some exercise clothes in technical, sweat-wicking fabrics.  Cotton (especially cotton socks) is uncomfortable when it gets wet and can lead to chafing.  Or maybe you want to exercise someplace cooler (see next point).

2.  I hate being hot.  First of all, I feel ya.  I also hate being hot.  But here again, there are some options. You can exercise in a highly air-conditioned space like the mall.  The mall is also usually quite flat, easy to navigate for people who have less control over their feet and usually (but not always) pretty safe.  Also, if you like to exercise outside, you can aim for early morning or evening.  Just be sure you are someplace relatively safe and have a charged cell phone with you at all times.  Also, swimming is a great exercise for people who like to stay warm.  But this leads to a whole other problem for some exercisers (see next point).

3.  Exercise messes up my hair.  I hear you.  Swimming or having hair that is soaked with sweat may initiate a whole hair care ritual that is absolutely no fun.  If this is you, I might suggest that you exercise first thing in the morning, and accept going to your workout with messy hair.  Then you can get coiffed just one time in the morning in the locker room after your workout rather than having to do your hair once per day.  Another option is to do your workout at the end of the day and wash your hair before bed time.  Depending on your style, perhaps you can just spray with water and style your hair in the morning.  I find that wearing a thin sweat band under my hair, helps keep my hair from getting too sweaty, but your experience may be different.

4.  Exercise is boring.   So many people try just one form of exercise, and when they don’t love it, they decide that exercise is no fun.  Finding the right form of exercise is like finding your prince or princess.  Sometimes ya gotta kiss a whole lot of frogs before you find the right one.  So don’t get married to the first form of exercise you try.  Experiment a little.  Go on some exercise dates.  And even when you find a form of exercise you love, you’ll still need to change things once in a while to spice things up.  Sometimes you need to do it in a different place.  Sometimes you need to try a different position.  And sometimes you just need to try something altogether different.

5.  I suck at exercise.  Here’s a secret.  I am very, very uncoordinated.  Sure, now I teach dance classes.  But it was really a challenge for me to learn the choreography and put together my routines.  Because most of us suck when we try something new.  And we suck at it until we do it a while and then we either suck at it less, or we actually get kinda of good at stuff.  But understanding the lot of the newbie and embracing beginnerness can help you not only in your exploration of fitness, but in other stuff as well.

6.  Exercise hurts.  This is an often complicated but important point about exercise.  A certain amount of soreness or stiffness is pretty normal when you exercise in a new way or with some muscles you haven’t used in a while.  This is called DOMS for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.  BUT exercise shouldn’t hurt a lot while you are doing it and it shouldn’t hurt a lot the next day.  The key here is to work very slowly and gradually beyond your current fitness level.  Depending on your current activity level this might mean moving very slowly.  Or maybe you are only going to work out for 5 or 10 minutes at a time.  That’s okay.  It doesn’t matter how little you start with.  Nobody even has to know what that is.  It matters that you aren’t in too much pain and that you are able to exercise again in a day or two.  If you are coping with serious or chronic pain,  you might need to work on some underlying issues with a physical therapist and eventually work with a trainer to develop a program.  But a lot of studies indicate that even people coping with chronic or serious pain eventually find pain relief from a properly constructed, reasonable exercise program.

There’s more to say, but I gotta go teach my dance class.  So for now we’ll say, “To be continued…”

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Sweaty and Fabulous: Plus Sized Fitness Wear for EVERY Body

Following yesterday’s post about sweat, I thought I’d publish this new video I created with advice about plus-sized fitness togs.

For a lot MORE information about plus-sized fitness wear, you might want to check out THIS thread on the Fit Fatties Forum.  If you haven’t joined yet, well get to it!  It’s pretty awesome.  (And not just because I host it with the spectacularly talented Ragen Chastain…)

Because my dear chicklettes, getting all sweaty is no reason to stop looking FABULOUS!


The Fat Chick