Often times when talking about hardcore training sessions, you will hear that one guy brag about how he “squatted til he puked”, or “trained so hard he threw up after”. Chances are this is the same dude that tries to show off by drinking an entire bottle of hot sauce, only to chug a pint of milk after and have his face turn as red as the inflammation on his arm from his tribal tattoo. Throwing up from training may make you sound hardcore, but there are no benefits to throwing up from working out at all. Many of us need to eat extremely high amounts of calories each day to either maintain or gain weight, so throwing up only forces us to stuff our faces with more food that day. If you feel faint or are throwing up from training then here are some tips that will help you reduce vomiting during exercise.
What Is Making Me Puke?
Vomiting during exercise is most likely caused from one of two factors. These are your pre-workout eating habits or your breathing techniques during lifting.
Eating: The amount of time you give yourself between your meal and your training session can have a huge impact on you feeling faint during your workout. There are some articles that say you should eat thirty minutes before you train and some articles that say to give yourself two hours until you train. The truth is that you need to figure out what works best for you. Everybody has different digestive systems as well as faster/slower metabolism so the amount of time you give yourself will vary from person to person. The only way to figure out what you like best is to experiment with it and figure it out through trial and error. I would recommend beginning by overestimating the amount of time so that you do not have to risk feeling sick during your training. If you do this, I would also recommend bring a food that contains some fast digesting carbs such as a Gatorade or an energy bar in case you get hungry during your workout. If you do end up getting hungry, continue to shorten the amount of time in between your meal and your training session until you find a time frame that you feel comfortable with.
What you eat before you train can also have some influence in how you feel when you workout. Generally it is recommended to eat plenty of carbs, moderate amounts of protein and moderate to low amounts of fat before training. Again this is only what is generally recommended, so what you do should be catered to your specific needs and lifestyle. The specific macronutrient numbers for your meal should vary from person to person because everyone has different macronutrient needs. I know people that prefer to eat more fat pre-workout than recommended because they feel it works better for keeping them from getting hungry during training. There are also people I know that eat high amounts of protein before they train because they fear going catabolic if they are at the gym for too long. As long as what you decide to do works for you, then there are really no wrong answers. Again, it is just a matter of experimenting and seeing what works for you.
For my personal routine, I prefer to give myself at least an hour between eating and hitting the gym. I have found that if I don’t give myself enough time in between, I feel slow and sluggish when I train. I will typically eat the general recommended high carbs, moderate protein and low fats for my pre-workout meal. I have found that foods with higher fat content gives me the same slow and sluggish feeling when I train due to the slower rate of digestion fats have. A typical pre-workout meal for me will have anywhere from 100-200 grams of carbs, 40-50 grams of protein and less than 15 grams of fat. This is what I have found to be optimal for my training. My favorite pre-workout meal is pasta and chicken with red sauce. Pasta is very calorie dense and is loaded with carbs, so I find this best for getting in plenty of carbs before training without having to stuff myself.
Breathing: Breathing during exercise (or lack thereof) can also have an impact of feeling faint or throwing up from exercise. When lifting, many people hold their breath through the whole range of motion of whatever lift they are doing. This causes your blood pressure to rapidly increase, which can cause you to either have a sense of nausea or to induce vomiting. Combine this with core engagement, and you are at an even greater risk for spilling your lunch out all over the gym floor. For isolation movements with higher reps, It is important to breathe in on the concentric portion of the lift and breathe out on the eccentric. This will take some practice at first, but once you have the technique down you should have fewer issues with feeling faint.
Heavy lifting in itself can actually temporarily increase your blood pressure also, causing the same effects as holding your breath can do. This not an excuse to never lift heavy. Instead, you should be smart about your training and your choice in weight and reps. Doing this will reduce the risk of any incidents of nausea. This means you should be making proper jumps in weight, warming up properly and tapping the brakes if you feel injured in any way. Lifting heavy is vital for muscle strength and growth, so there are no excuses to not be doing it.
Hopefully this article is able to help you feel less nauseous and enjoy your workouts more. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to leave a comment for us below!