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This might not be a technical martial arts question, but it is somehow related to Taekwon-do, so please bear with me.

I am a bulky person, and I sweat a lot. Especially when in training, I sweat so much I have to wipe my face often because the sweat irritates my eyes when it trickles into them.

While sweating is deemed something good (at least to me), my dobok (uniform) looks drenched in sweat compared to the others. Attached is a picture of us together after training. You can see that I'm the one with the sweatiest looking dobok.

Before training my dobok is clean. White, like the rest in the picture.

If you can't guess, I'm 3rd from right.

My dobok is of the same brand as the most of them in the picture.

My question is, how to take care of the dobok so it remains white (and look clean) always?

If there are medical personnel here, I would also like to know if sweating like this is a condition that I should get checked.

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    If you are concern about something relating to your health, of course you should go to see a medical doctor about it as soon as possible. Never, never, never take medical advise from the web. – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Nov 9 '15 at 7:57
  • I agree, Sardathrion, and I hope this is just a case of washing the dobok wrongly, or that it is normal for a big guy like me to sweat so excessively. I have been sweating like this for many years. It does feel that my dobok absorbs sweat too well so much that the colour changes. – paperclip Nov 9 '15 at 8:04
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As a fellow heavy sweater (and no, for me, it's not a weight thing), I can sympathize. My uniforms would come out soaked. First off, your uniform getting soaked in sweat is not necessarily a bad thing, at least up to a point. One of the reasons why most martial arts uniforms are cotton, or silk, is that it's a material that wicks sweat away from your body to the outside layers. Sweating cools you down by air circulating over the sweat and the sweat evaporating. If your dobok is scotch-guarded, it's not wicking the sweat away, so you're not getting cooled. Your body won't cool off, and you'll sweat more. In extreme cases, you get plastic or rubber suits that force you to dehydrate (even today, competitive fighters use this method to temporarily drop their weight to reach a given weight class). So you want your outfit to wick the sweat to the outside, but ideally to not get sodden with sweat, whereupon you have extra weight and extra irritation.

As Steve is alluding to above, that may mean a lighter uniform. Less thickness means there's less distance for the moisture to wick up. It may mean trying to control for environmental humidity by practicing indoors, or not after a rainstorm (the higher humidity makes it more difficult for the sweat to evaporate). It might just mean training until your body gets more efficient and generates less waste heat (which, paradoxically, generally involves training in hot conditions).

As to how to keep your outfit white, you won't have much luck doing so while you're working out (you're sweating more than the other people. That's a fact). What you can do is control for the situation going into a practice and the situation going out. One thing you can do going in is to try to sweat clean. Avoid foods that cause you to sweat with a strong scent (this is individual to the practitioner, but most people have more of a problem with things like asparagus or meats). Try to avoid putting on too much deodorant. I know it sounds weird since antiperspirant is in the name, but when you are going to be sweating hard, it just create a waxy buildup. Drink sufficient fluids to dilute the waste products your body will be outputting. After practice, you may want to rinse your outfit in clean water to wash out the skin cells and other stuff you shed in your sweat. Then, either toss the outfit in a dryer or hang it up in an area where it will dry efficiently. Don't toss it into a closet or on the floor.

With those steps, you'll reduce the amount of staining you sustain and, in time, your sweating will get better as you get more fit and your body recognizes that it doesn't need to sweat as much to keep you cool.

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  • I like the idea of "sweating clean", but I now accept the fact that I'm a heavy sweater due to my size and I should be training harder to get fitter. If I still sweat heavily when I'm at a more acceptable weight range, then I'll look into "sweating clean" to see if it helps. – paperclip Nov 13 '15 at 7:05
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I'd suggest looking at alternative uniforms - you guys are ITF? Must be dozens you can order online, some of which may be a heavier or more starched canvas material that won't cling to you so much or show sweat. I sweat a lot too - some materials are just better than others. I can't see any particular reason to stick to the same brand that suits the others in your group if it's not working out so well for you. Good luck!

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  • I am wearing the ICTF uniform. I have a ITF uniform too, but I don't wear it unless I can't get the ICTF uniform to dry in time (after a wash). However I think you have the best answer. I should look for alternative materials. I can sew/stick on the crest over the original one, because I have issues with "being uniform" with the others in the group. – paperclip Nov 12 '15 at 4:24
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You might be able to use a hydrophobic (water resisting) spray to coat the inside or outside of your uniform. For example, Scotchgard. That could work. It's just that I don't know how well the water resistant coating will hold up to being washed over time. You may have to re-apply it every now and then.

The other issue with doing that is that you don't know how healthy those chemicals are. If they're in constant contact with your skin, they could be absorbed into your body where they might cause cancer or disrupt your hormones. Who knows. If it were me, I probably wouldn't do it unless I absolutely knew for certain that it wasn't bad for me.

As Tony D mentioned in his answer, your best bet is to look at uniforms of different fabrics. A uniform that uses polyester, nylon, or lycra should make it more resistant to sweat. A lighter uniform might help wick the sweat away also.

You should also look into using a compression rash guard underneath your gi. It might help by controlling where the sweat goes.

As for medical reasons for sweating too much, you should ask your doctor to diagnose you. There are many medical conditions that causes people to sweat a lot - sometimes while not even exercising (be thankful you don't have that problem!).

Most likely it's just because you're overweight. Being overweight causes you to work harder, and the fat you have acts as an insulator, trapping in heat which causes you to sweat more. You may also have a thyroid condition. Or diabetes. Etc. These conditions are related to being overweight.

Here's a link discussing many of the medical reasons for excessive sweating:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/excessive-sweating/basics/causes/sym-20050780

Hope that helps.

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    You are quite right about the overweight part. I have gotten it checked but the doctor did not see anything else that is unusual. I just sweat a lot, and should continue exercising to keep my weight at a better level. – paperclip Nov 12 '15 at 4:20
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You guys are ITF, so I don't know if you guys use these, but in WTF we have lightweight sparring uniforms designed to breathe more and and dry out more quickly compared to the typical heavier cotton uniforms.

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  • We have uniforms made from slightly different materials by different manufacturers, but there isn't one made lightweight specifically for sparring. – paperclip Nov 16 '15 at 5:47

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