If you've ever felt like throwing up during an intense workout, you're not alone. It's pretty common, but can be superuncomfortable (and for some people, embarrassing!). There's obviously no need to feel ashamed — we're all on a messy, sweaty, physical journey together — but let's take a peek at why it happens and a few things you can do to prevent it (if that's your goal).
What Makes You Feel Like Throwing Up During a Workout?
You can feel nauseous for a number of reasons, but when it comes from the intensity of your workout, it's "your body's pH dropping from the accumulation of lactate," said personal trainer and injury-prevention specialist Liz Letchford. "You're reaching what we call your 'lactate threshold,' or the point at which where your body has reached its capacity for generating energy." You've gone so hard, you physically can't go any harder — without puking.
It's not necessarily a bad thing, Liz told POPSUGAR. "This is a great place to be if you are training for an endurance event, or just need to increase your overall cardiovascular fitness. The more you train at this limit, the higher that threshold gets, and the more you'll have to push yourself in order to reach that threshold." Read: you won't feel as pukey the next time doing the same workout at the same intensity.
But we get it — it's uncomfortable, and vomiting in SoulCycle might not be the best experience, right? There are some things you can do to prevent the upchuck.
How Do You *Not* Puke?
- Slow down. "If you don't actually want to vomit in class, try to back off on the intensity," said Liz. "Slow down your bike, sprints, or burpees — but keep moving! Don't just stop or you'll likely puke."
- Watch your HR. Director of group fitness at Crunch Michelle Opperman told POPSUGAR, "watch your heart-rate monitor." Don't have one? No worries. She suggested watching how you feel, and if your heart rate is really out of control, scale back. "Make sure you're pushing your intensity, but not past your threshold."
- Drink water, but not too much. There are few things worse than a belly full of sloshing water as you're jumping, sprinting, or bicycle crunching. Plus, it can make you barf — or at least feel like you're going to. You want to be hydrated, but maybe don't chug a bottle of water just before hitting the gym.
- Don't eat 30 minutes before class. Keep the 30 minutes before class clear — a rule of thumb we got from DIAKADI trainer Elijah Markstrom was "finish your meal or snack no fewer than two hours before your workout" to prevent a stomachache.
- Keep pre-workout meals carby. Avoid fats, red meats, high-protein foods, and fiber — all of those things are slow digesting and can cause digestive distress during a workout. Stick to simple carbs and light amounts of protein.