You sweat, I sweat, everyone sweat. But everyone sweats differently – whether it’s how much you produce or what comes out of your glands. The makeup of your sweat can tell you a lot about what your body needs to recover. after a workout. This is the idea behind Gatorade’s new Gx sweat patch Anyway. Patches come in packs of two for $ 25, and you scan them for results using the iPhone app (sorry Android athletes).
I never thought about whether I was sweating any differently from others until I started testing the Gatorade patch. My first patch test failed after a 1.5 hour gym session involving a mixture of cardio and weight training gave insufficient humidity for a reading. This led me to examine how the rate sweat strength differ according to people, environments and types of activities.
In general, men sweat more than women. And when you’re in a warmer climate or location (like a hot yoga studio for example), you sweat more as well. Unfortunately Gatorade posted this in the winter and I’m a lady who doesn’t sweat a lot. I shvitz. This made the job enough for the patch to register something much more difficult than usual.
When you apply a patch (after your skin has been cleaned and dried for the first time), it will channel your sweat through a built-in dye pack. As you sweat, the transparent zigzag lines fill with orange and purple liquid, representing your liquid and sodium levels, respectively. Once you are done with your workout, scan the patch with the iPhone app and it will generate a sweat profile and give you information and advice on how to improve your recovery. It all seemed simple at first, until I realized that it takes a lot of effort to get anything to register.
After increasing the temperature in my apartment and pushing myself hard for about an hour, I finally got a tiny bit of orange dye through my second patch. I took a photo of it with my iPhone, making sure to line up the patch with the outline of the app, and waited about sixty seconds for the system to analyze my data. I also agreed to let Gatorade access my Apple Health and Fitness information to retrieve my workout metrics faster. Then I had to respond to a survey on the length of each session, whether indoors or outdoors, and the temperature of my environment.
After all of this, Gatorade had a few more questions, asking me my weight, my ‘biological sex’, how hard the workout was, and how much fluid I drank during the exercise (none). Finally, I was given my “sweat profile”, saying that I experienced a low fluid loss of between 12 and 18 ounces, which was classified as “low risk”. He also calculated that my sweat rate was around 462 milliliters per hour and that I was losing zero milligrams of sodium per liter of sweat, which he called low.
When I finished reading my sweat profile, the app asked if I wanted to set a weekly goal for my fitness plan. It follows three things to arrive at a target score: nutrition, recovery, and training load. Nutrition counts the number of times you mark a recommended meal or drink as complete, while Recovery calculates how much sleep you need based on your workouts. Training load, on the other hand, is the “strength of your workouts” and is measured by the duration and intensity of your activity. My weekly goal was set at 70 which is vague as the app doesn’t say if it’s on a scale of 100 or if it’s relatively intense or light. Since I only had a few days to test these fixes (one of them gave no results), I cannot track my progress yet.
With the patches I have scanned so far, I feel a little more informed on how to better prepare for my next workout. Gatorade recommended that I drink 4 ounces of water (half a cup) before resuming another HIIT session, and that I should try consuming 20 grams of protein a few hours after. Tapping on each recommendation gave me more details, like what 20 grams of protein actually means in understandable terms (i.e. a cup of scrambled eggs or a burger patty). The tips aren’t revolutionary, and while it’s good to have a handy reference, this information will likely become repetitive over time and become redundant in the long run.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of stipulations to take into account. First, if you think you won’t be sweating a lot or going for a swim, it probably won’t work. Also, you need to stick the patch on your left inner forearm, two to three inches from your elbow – nowhere else. According to Gatorade, his algorithms were based on the patch worn there, because it relies on a “local / whole body ratio”. If worn elsewhere, or in the wrong direction (with the logo returned for example), the patch will not give valid results.
It’s just frustrating. For many people, the inner forearm is one of the drier parts of the body. I sweat more on my back, neck and face. It’s not just me either – our video producer Brian Oh tested the patch through a few grueling HIIT sessions totaling about an hour in length. It wasn’t until the end of his workout that he started to see the sweat indicator, how wet his face, chest and back were. Basically, unless you risk drowning in your own sweat, it might not give you actionable results.
You will also need to train in a temperature range of 46 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit (or 7.7 to 35 degrees Celsius). So running in cold, wintry weather won’t net you any data either. Then there are the small complaints. If you bend your left arm a lot, such as doing a bunch of curls or push-ups, the patch may look like it’s coming off. It stayed in place in my testing, but its corners peeled off slightly. Additionally, the application can be finicky when scanning a patch, especially if you haven’t been sweating a lot. Oh, and a few marks and a bit of orange dye remain on your skin afterwards, which isn’t a big deal as it fades after a few washes, but it’s still worth noting.
I also can’t shake the feeling that this is Gatorade’s way of selling its products to you. To its credit, the company does not advertise or place its various sports drinks at the center of its recommendations. The first things you will see when you look at the suggested options for rehydration or nutrition are generic things like “apple juice” or “water”. But scroll down a bit further and you’ll see Gatorade’s protein shakes or bottled drinks. There are also products from competing brands, like Evolve and Muscle Milk.
Since he’s already charging you a lot for those sweat patches, I’m relieved that Gatorade isn’t too pushy about making you buy more of his stuff. At $ 25 a pair, the Gx sweat patch is overpriced for the average fitness enthusiast, especially since it isn’t suitable for everyone except the most intense workouts. I could use it in a hot yoga session or a weird basketball game, but not if they cost $ 12.50 a patch. Also, I could get similar information for free by doing some research myself. Gatorade’s anti-sweat patch is an interesting idea but must be a lot cheaper and work on more scenarios to be useful for most people. “,