Love Thy Sweat – #marafun

In #marafun, Features, HOME, LIFE by Sam Prance

#marafun is a feature in which novice marathon runner, Ellie Smith, will open your eyes to the trials and tribulations of long distance running. A word of caution – this feature will be prone to mood swings and short outbursts of intense self loathing. However, it will also cover the joys of exercise and whatever the weather, Ellie will still be running and writing…

Sweat. The arch enemy and evil minion that is always lurking behind a good workout. Sweat: a reason not to work out? For nothing is worse than that accursed blotchy red face and shiny glow. But it’s time sweat had an image overhaul and it’s actually the key to getting that dream beach bod. The average person has 2.6 million sweat glands in their body so like it or not – there’s no getting away from it. Sweat is here to stay and I’m going to tell you why that’s a good thing. So get that bead on and stay tuned for the top 10 reasons of why sweat is your friend…


  1. Sweat soothes pain. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins which act as natural painkillers so if you are feeling a bit sore then contrary to what you may think, doing a little bit of exercise may actually help get rid of that niggling sore point.
  2. Clear complexion = sweat. Sweat is the body’s way of keeping your skin clean and is brilliant for your complexion. When you sweat, your pores open, releasing all the dirt and grime that builds up in them during the day. If you complete a workout and you are dripping – even better! The sweat dripping down your face helps fill fine lines and rehydrate dry and rough cells giving you a smoother complexion. Think of it as a free facial. Ever wondered why the Victoria’s Secret Angels have such great skin? They are all massive gym junkies so if you want skin like Adriana Lima then hit that gym and start working up a sweat. (Warning: supermodel looks are not a direct result of my advice).
  3. Sweating beats sickness. Sweating is one of the best things your body can do to keep itself healthy. If you have a fever, this is your body’s way or trying to sweat out the sickness so if you are sick but able to work out then sweating will help your body get over the sickness quicker.
  4. Sweat itself is odourless. It’s the bacteria on the skin which it mingles with to produce body odour. Workout sweat doesn’t actually smell so no excuses!
  5. Sweating is sexy. Have you never seen David Beckham after a game of football?!
  6. Sweating like a pig? Think again. Pigs don’t actually sweat that much. They have to bathe in mud to cool their body down which is where the saying actually came from. So gives the pigs a break and re-assess your thoughts on sweat.
  7. You would die if you didn’t sweat! Sweating is your body’s own air conditioning system. Even when you are sitting down moisture is evaporating from your skin to cool you down. When you exercise your body temperature rises a small amount which makes those 2.6 million sweat glands work a bit harder. No pain – no gain.
  8. Sweating is you getting even hotter! Reap the benefits and even if you look like you have gone into Cardiac Arrest – this is the proof that you’ve worked hard! You are burning calories and fat, improving your metabolism, building muscle and self confidence so embrace the glow.
  9. Banish the hangover. A light workout and a gentle sweat after a night of drinking can make you feel a hell of a lot better.
  10. Sweat out stress. Sweating can be very therapeutic and relaxing for both your body and mind as it helps release stress and fatigue brought on by muscle tension.

David_Beckham_1556427cSo now the key is how to sweat better. This means hydrating properly. Two to three hours before exercise you should be aiming to drink about two to three glasses of water, then drink small amounts slowly throughout your workout and don’t forget to rehydrate post workout. If you’ve done a hard workout (more than an hour or strenuous exercise) then you need to replace sodium and other electrolytes and sports drinks are great for this.

Sleep is also essential and a lack of it can negatively affect your sweat rate, resulting in a 27% reduction in the amount of sweat produced so it’s important to get enough sleep. You also need to wear the right clothes which allow you to sweat. You don’t need top of the range kit but breathable clothing will make that workout a lot more efficient and bearable.

If you’re worried that you smell then it’s probably down to the food that you have been eating or the alcohol. Garlic, blue cheese, red meat and onions will mingle with your odourless sweat and that may be what is causing the smell. But it is alcohol which is usually the worst – especially if you have been drinking beer the night before. About 5-10% of the alcohol you consume is secreted through your urine, breath and sweat. So you can always tell who has been out on the town by the bleary eyes, dishevelled appearance and yep – the foul smelling sweat. Eww…

1899129_10203265494263166_1722000992_nConvinced? Sweating is great and the proof that you care about how you look. If you want to take sweating to the next level then try Bikram Yoga. The sequence of 26 postures within 90 minutes in a heated 100 degree plus room is not for the faint hearted. In fact, I did faint on my first session and spent the majority of the class on the floor but I was back the next day. It is weirdly addictive and the ultimate sweatathon which makes you feel great afterwards. I never realised you can sweat from your knees, your knuckles and your ears- but it turns out you can!

This week I did a half marathon on Monday and ran out towards the Hillend dry ski slope. I did a 7 miler on Wednesday and a 6 miler on Saturday. Right – so all I have to do is do that in one go (cue onset of personal loathing complex).

Of course one of the main reasons that I am running the Marathon is because it is for charity. I am running in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer: an amazing charity which is very close to my heart. This week I had 25 girls from my hockey team over to my flat in New Town and cooked them a massive vegetable curry and masses of chocolate cake for dessert. Domestic goddess I am not so with a lot of help from my flatmates and my wonderful team we managed to raise £200 which I am thrilled with. Running for a charity with which you have personal connections is a brilliant thing to do and really does provide you with that extra incentive to get out there and run, knowing that you have all those people behind you and willing you on.

Another week and another playlist of some more old gems that I discovered on my iPod. Re-introducing you to…

1. Let Me Blow Ya Mind – Eve ft. Gwen Stefani

2. Big City Life – Mattafix

3. Ready For Your Love – Gorgon City ft. MNEK

4. Cam’Ron – Hey Ma ft. Juelz Santana

5. Voices – Disclosure ft. Sasha Keable

I’m back down to London this week and looking forward to a change in scenery for the week because if I run around Arthur’s Seat one more time I think I might throw myself off it. Also going to take it easy on my knees this week and hit the pool. So I leave you with another pearl of wisdom for the week. Sweat is just fat crying.

Ellie Smith

Ellie Smith is 20 years old and she is currently studying French and Spanish at the University of Edinburgh. Ellie has a sense of humour similar to that of an immature ten year old boy and sites Blades of Glory as one of the best films ever made. She is obsessed with Russia, Mini Eggs and Ryan Gosling. The Holy Trinity in her eyes.

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