Is it bad that I vomit whe I work out?
January 14, 2012 7:32 PM   Subscribe

Is it a bad thing that I puke when I work out?

I'm training with a crossfit trained coach. This guy is super intense. Frequently I work to the point where I throw up.

Somebody recently told me that this was a Bad Thing.

Coach thinks its just a sign that I'm pushing myself. Is there any reason to be concerned?
posted by TigerCrane to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
I think the answer to this mostly depends on how much you enjoy throwing up.
posted by ftm at 7:37 PM on January 14, 2012

It's not real good for your esophagus or teeth.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:40 PM on January 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

I don't enjoy it, but it only takes a second, and then I can get back to the workout!
posted by TigerCrane at 7:41 PM on January 14, 2012

Yes this is a bad thing, vomiting is terrible for your teeth and esophagus if nothing else. What time of day do you do these workouts? When I did crew at 5am we would very specifically not eat breakfast until after we got back for this exact reason.

If you intend to continue I would strongly recommend getting a physical done at your doctor's, if you haven't recently, and let them know that you want to do intense workouts like this just so they can make sure your body is up to it. Otherwise, its great that you're pushing yourself so hard! Just make sure you plan your meals around it.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:44 PM on January 14, 2012

I workout twice a week, once at 5 PM and once at 10:00 AM
posted by TigerCrane at 7:46 PM on January 14, 2012

As well as the above mentioned deleterious health effects, it's above all a sign that you, and also your so-called coach, have put zero thought into the programming of your training.

Programming is the difference between improving in your athletic abilities, and squandering your time, effort and health on toil for the sake of toil. So yes, vomiting is a bad thing. Find yourself a responsible trainer.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:53 PM on January 14, 2012 [15 favorites]

Are you eating before? I often get nauseous if I work out on an empty stomach. Also, are you drinking water or Gatorade as needed during the workout?
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:04 PM on January 14, 2012

Coaches often confuse "puke-hard workout" with "effective workout that produces consistent gains in strength and fitness." The coaches who do this are generally inexperienced and more interested in the sexy metcon than carefully thinking out their workouts and the specific training effects they want each workout to carry over.

Puking during a workout is catabolic. That means it is counter-productive towards your workout. It dehydrates you, drains your electrolytes, fucks up your heart, fucks up your stomach, esophagus, and teeth, and shoots your recovery. Any smart coach will tell you progress happens in recovery from the workout, not the workout itself. If your body can't recover from a workout, it can't get stronger. And no matter what "Coach" tells you, your body is not going to adapt in a positive way towards puking.

If you are regularly puking and your coach thinks it's a good thing, it's time for you to get a new coach.
posted by schroedinger at 8:07 PM on January 14, 2012 [19 favorites]

Puking is very bad for maintaining your electrolyte balance during a workout. It is a symptom of dehydration, and can worsen its effects.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:10 PM on January 14, 2012

You only work out twice a week (so don't feel the need to arrange your lifestyle to get more regular exercise, so I assume you don't have any driving need to be getting super fit) yet you think it's worth pushing hard enough every session that you throw up? I think your trainer is probably not a very good one, and you should get someone else to evaluate both your exercise goals and the program you are following to achieve them.
posted by jacalata at 12:25 AM on January 15, 2012

I have been working out for a few years, I have had some personal trainer sessions in that time, which have pushed me to having screaming muscles (but in a controlled and positive way!) and have pushed myself hard in running and gym training and in races. I have never vomited. I have felt close to it once or twice when doing hard training runs or some stuff where my trainer had me hung off a tree branch in a TRX system. But if you're sick then your body will try to give up, and you want a sustained effort when you're training.

Echoing what other people have said, if you are only exercising twice a week, and being sick in both of those, you are not going to achieve anything except the possibility of boasting "hey I work out so hard I puke", which I know some people like to do, but seems ridiculous, frankly, in terms of looking after yourself and training in a consistent and positive manner.

Get down the gym (the price of a personal trainer will cover your membership), get them to work out a good plan for you, go 4-5 times a week, make a sustained but kinder to yourself effort, and you will get fit, healthy and buff - far more impressive.

Anecdata: my trainer told me he had made someone puke in training once: he felt terrible about it, stopped the session etc. His aim was to push people hard, but not over the edge. That's a good trainer.
posted by LyzzyBee at 2:25 AM on January 15, 2012

Bad, bad, bad. Puking is a sign that you are ill, or that your body has been worked well beyond what is good for it. Ditch this trainer at once.
posted by Decani at 5:50 AM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was recently looking into Crossfit and it seems like vomiting is some sort of badge of honor.

A post on this very topic caught my eye. It basically says puking isn't good and you should dial down your training as soon as nausea occurs.
posted by missmerrymack at 6:59 AM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

You might have exercise-induced dyspepsia. You need a training program that takes this into account. e.g., If you puke when your heart rate is up, you may need to rest longer between sets and/or increase weight more slowly.

You also might take a critical look at Crossfit, where the workouts aren't planned over time to reach any particular goals for an individual. The Crossfit method of all-or-nothing, all the time might be a major factor in your puking during a workout.

Anecdote: My husband has exercise-induced dyspepsia. I do not. For two years we've worked out simultaneously with a personal trainer. My husband's workouts are planned so that he does a max of 2-3 sets of 4-6 exercises over the hour, while I do 3-5 sets of 8-10. My cardio capacity and ability to not throw up during a workout are greater than his, while he of course can lift much more weight than I. He hasn't thrown up during/after a workout in over a year. This is the case because we have a trainer who pays attention to what's going on and lets my husband rest (or *makes* him rest) when he sees cues of his not feeling well.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 7:06 AM on January 15, 2012

In Crossfit, there is an odd cultural emphasis on puking/bleeding/etc., and sometimes puking does happen ACCIDENTALLY, or comes very close to happening. But no responsible trainer actually thinks it's OK if you're puking "frequently," or even continuing to work out if you do puke during a WOD. There are MANY great Crossfit trainers who are smarter and more concerned about your actual health than the one you're training with; if you like Crossfit and want to continue doing it, please find another trainer, and don't encourage this guy to continue doing what he is doing to people.

The imperfect truth is that any moderately-intelligent asshole with $1000 can get a Level 1 Crossfit training certification and call themselves a Crossfit coach, and all they have to do is go to a 2-day seminar and pass a written exam. Check out an established Crossfit gym where there is more than one coach, with more than one perspective, and more than one set of so-called 'expertise' at programming workouts.
posted by so_gracefully at 8:21 AM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I read your question and didn't even have to click to know you were Crossfitting...poorly.

Yes, this is bad and dangerous.

If your trainer is ignoring this obvious evidence of overexertion, I'd be willing to bet he is also ignoring other things that may lead to injury.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:54 AM on January 15, 2012

Think about what's happening here -- your body is forcefully expelling the food that would nourish it and the liquid needed for hydration by sluicing damaging stomach acid across the esophagus and teeth that you use to eat. Vomiting is an emergency reaction by your body to harm.

Aren't you working out in order to be healthier? If your coach thinks that it's appropriate to make yourself sick to be healthier, that's seriously backward thinking.
posted by desuetude at 1:14 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

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