Exercise Induced Nausea And Vomiting

If you are wanting to get into fantastic shape really fast, then you need to work hard in the gym. Yes, there are things like diet and lifestyle to address, but ultimately to get that athletic body you dream of, there needs to be some hard time spent training. An issue that we sometimes see at UP is with new personal training clients feeling sick and nauseous whilst exercising. 

Working extremely hard in the gym can very often lead to nausea and sometimes vomiting during or after the session. This is certainly not necessary or compulsory for a workout to be considered a success. Although you’re more likely to suffer from nausea and vomiting if you are new to training, it very often is quite an individual thing as to whether you are going to suffer or not. Sometimes very de-conditioned people get into the gym and work very hard without any problems. Other times very well conditioned athletes have a killer session and end up vomiting afterwards. (Nick’s note – no matter how fit I am at the time, a tough, fast-paced leg session can make me vomit, it's just a fact of life and although I certainly do not enjoy it I deal with it and don’t let it stress me out).

So what is it that causes a trainee to feel sick and nauseous whilst training? There are a number of things that can bring the feeling on. Below is a list and a brief explanation:

Blood Flow To The Stomach  

When you begin exercising hard your blood is diverted away from the stomach and to the muscles to provide them with energy. This disrupts digestion and puts a hold on the digestion of the food you recently ate. 

This brings us onto the next point which is eating before the session.

Pre-exercise Meal

poached eggs on bread

It is important to try and eat something before your session, especially if you train in the morning. Try to leave it 2-3 hours after you have eaten before you train as by this time around 50% of the food will have passed through your stomach.

If breakfast is a rushed affair before the gym, then using digestive enzymes can help massively.

Water Intake

It’s important to make sure you are fully hydrated before the session begins. If you have drank too much water and you are over hydrated and then continue to drink too much during the session then you will feel bloated and are more likely to vomit. Being dehydrated can also lead to nausea.

Increased endorphins

rope pull

You have probably heard of endorphins being the ‘feel good’ hormone that gets released when you exercise. Endorphins have been associated with nausea and vomiting so there is potential for this to be the reason but most sources will tell you that there is not enough research done in this area to confirm this.

Increased Production Of Lactic Acid

The type of training you will be doing if you want to burn body fat is going to produce a lot of lactic acid. This may be a little uncomfortable but is necessary and will facilitate the release growth hormone in large quantities. This will really help with the fat burning. However, the increased lactic acid can cause nausea, especially when training larger body parts such as the legs.

The take home message here is that if you are training really hard, then feeling nauseous is something that may happen. The good news is that many people will eventually get over this and stop feeling nauseous when training and this is typically after the first week or so of starting an intense exercise programme. It isn’t something to seek, but nor is it something to be overly afraid of!