Sauna suits, which are typically made out of nylon or rubberized vinyl, are designed to make you sweat profusely in order to lose pounds quickly. Competitive boxers and wrestlers often work out in these types of sweat suits right before a bout or match, in order to meet their weight category. Just as exercising in extreme heat can be dangerous, wearing a sauna suit while you exercise may be harmful and any resulting weight loss is only temporary.
A typical sauna suit is a two-piece outfit consisting of a long-sleeved top and matching bottoms. It features elastic at the neck, wrists, waist and ankles. Manufacturers of sauna suits use a variety of materials including nylon, vinyl and plastic. The suit material together with the enclosed design creates a "heat trap" environment which may produce similar results as sitting in a sauna. In some ways, a sauna suit may be considered as a mobile sauna.
Working out while wearing a sauna suit basically dehydrates your body, causing you to lose water weight in the form of sweat. As your core temperature rises, your metabolism will temporarily be elevated as your body works hard to cool itself. This normally results in an increased heart rate and increase in blood circulation. The more intensely you workout while wearing a sauna suit, the more profusely you will sweat. The initial feeling may be similar to the cleansing effect you feel after taking a dry sauna.
Because of the extreme loss of water while working out in a sauna suit, a person may experience symptoms related to heat stroke. Potential health risks include, dehydration, weakness, dizziness, fainting and muscle cramps. Extended use of sauna suits for the purposes of inducing quick weight loss can lead to serious health emergencies including organ failure due to extreme loss of electrolytes and even death related to heat stroke.
Although sauna suits do provide for quick weight loss, the results only last until you drink a glass of water or refuel your body. In general, these kind of quick weight loss gimmicks are not considered a healthy way to drop unwanted pounds. For effective, long term weight loss, Donald Hensrud, M.D. on MayoClinic.com recommends permanent changes in your eating and exercise habits for a weight loss of 1 to 2 lbs. a week.