Working out hard without working up food
September 21, 2006 1:55 PM   Subscribe

How can I ensure that I don't puke (or get nauseous) when I start working out with a trainer?

Between my own past experiences and even watching "The Biggest Loser", while working out pretty hard, folks will just stop what they're doing to puke, then return to what they were doing.

I'd like to work out hard, minus the regurgitation part.

I've been working out with my own program, but I'd like someone to push me a little harder so I can get some good results.

Does anyone have any ideas on things I should eat / should not eat beforehand? Give myself an hour or two of not eating before working out? Any ideas?
posted by EastCoastBias to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would not eat anything at all at least an hour beforehand. Don't eat anything heavy more than 2-3 hours beforehand.

Also, when you are drinking water, don't chug it. Take sips throughout a workout and afterwards. Downing a lot of water fast, as thirsty as you might be, is more likely to make you sick.
posted by tastybrains at 1:56 PM on September 21, 2006

You kind of feel like that the first 1-3 times you work out fairly hard if you haven't for a long time. Cramps, diarrhea, even some puking. It completely goes away after the first couple times. It happens even if you're not overweight or unfit.

I usually find the leg press and crunch machine (i.e. 10x80 lbs, not just doing crunches) to trigger it best, FWIW. You always go through a lot more water when you first start working out, too.
posted by kcm at 2:06 PM on September 21, 2006

(That is to say, go to the gym and do some exertion-oriented exercise a few times the week or two before you meet with a trainer..)
posted by kcm at 2:07 PM on September 21, 2006

breathe. really, I used to constantly hold my breath and that made it only worse. remind yourself to breathe out during the exercises.
posted by krautland at 2:08 PM on September 21, 2006

Your body pukes when it has a need to: if you're disoriented because that can be a symptom of poison, or if you don't have the blood to work your muscles and digest your food. It does this because it's a been a winning strategy for 65 million years or more of mammalian evolution. Minimize you food intake prior to exercising, but if your body wants to puke, let it do what it's designed to do, fighting a million years of biologically ingrained strategies isn't easy.
posted by orthogonality at 2:09 PM on September 21, 2006

I just tell my trainer I need to back down a little or I will puke on his feet. Once I am recovered I am fine.
posted by stormygrey at 2:12 PM on September 21, 2006

One of the trainers for a "boot camp" exercise program I did recommended avoiding dairy products and cereal for breakfast (the workouts ran 6am-8am) and suggested eating just a half banana instead. I went ahead and ate the whole banana and sipped a sports drink during the workout and did not puke.
posted by magicbus at 2:28 PM on September 21, 2006

unless you know you're prone to this happening, i wouldn't worry about it. trainers generally work with people that aren't in great shape (that's why they hire a trainer), and usually take it slow with new clients.
posted by alkupe at 2:28 PM on September 21, 2006

avoid apples; they are hard on your stomach.
posted by goethean at 2:42 PM on September 21, 2006

With me, I needed a carb snack an hour before working out. Otherwise I would get dizzy and the feeling like I was going to throw up. The trainer I worked with was used to it and kept pretzels and water nearby. These sensations went away after two weeks of training, but I still kept my snack routine up.
posted by FergieBelle at 2:43 PM on September 21, 2006

Response by poster: I usually try not to eat an hour before working out (learned the hard way a few times on a few hard bike rides, etc.)

A prior trainer had me walk around outside to avoid getting sick because it was a very humid day and the AC was not working (ugh!).
posted by EastCoastBias at 2:44 PM on September 21, 2006

I've worked out hard countless times, sometimes when I'm out of shape, and I have never puked - it has never even occured to me that I might puke. At most, I get lightheaded. I think I'm just not inclined to puke, but in case I'm doing sometimes right, here's what I do: I drink lots of fluids before I exercise; I'll eat a small snack (light a piece of string cheese or some nuts or a smoothie) as close as 15 minutes before I exercise, but I never exercise after a real meal; I don't lock my knees when I lift weights (apparently this causes fainting in some people, including me).

My point: don't assume you're going to puke if you work yourself hard. And anyway, you'll be more comfortable if you're sufficiently hydrated before, during, and after exercise, and if you don't have a heavy weight in your belly.
posted by Amizu at 2:45 PM on September 21, 2006

Previously answered here.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 2:47 PM on September 21, 2006

Response by poster: Mr Gunn, thanks for the prior link - I'll read up there as well. My problem is not about running so much as that one is, however. It had happened to me once when working on weights as well.
posted by EastCoastBias at 2:49 PM on September 21, 2006

It's not exactly on point, but the same mechanisms are in play. You need to prevent your blood sugar from bottoming out, basically, and you'll be working on developing the opposite type of muscle fibers from a runner.

Just as a sidenote: nauseated = sick, but nauseous = sickening.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 3:06 PM on September 21, 2006

I used to puke a lot when I went to the gym. I fixed that by not going to the gym.

Seriously—what worked for me was making sure I didn't eat for 3 hours before the workout. I'd start with 4 oz. orange juice before cardio, sips of water occasionally during cardio, 4 more oz. OJ before lifting, and sips of water during lifting. After leaving the gym, I'd eat one of those mega-protein bars.

I lost forty pounds, got laid a LOT more, and didn't puke.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:50 PM on September 21, 2006

Mr. Gunn, note definition number two of "nauseous":

Nauseous \Nau"seous\ (?; 277), a. [L. nauseosus.]
1. Causing, or fitted to cause, nausea; sickening; loathsome;
disgusting; exciting abhorrence; as, a nauseous drug or
[1913 Webster]

2. Feeling nausea; as, nauseous from the effects of
[PJC] -- Nau"seous*ly, adv. -- Nau"seous*ness, n.
[1913 Webster]

Sorry. Correcting non-mistakes is a pet-peeve of mine. I also split infinitives.

posted by kingjoeshmoe at 5:23 PM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Two things.

One, don't eat 2 hours in advance.

Second, I can get, pretty much anyone to puke.

Work legs very hard....some upper back, keeping your heart rate up.

Just say, you need a moment because you're queasy. They'll slow down.
posted by filmgeek at 7:44 PM on September 21, 2006

There are two things that can trigger nausea for me during an intense workout: low blood sugar and extended anaerobic exercise. I am prone to low blood sugar, and I avoid it by eating something with carbs about 30-45 minutes before working out. That is enough time for the carbs to start hitting my bloodstream but not so much that it's fully metabolized before I am done working out.

Anaeorbic exercise can also cause me to get sick if I overdo it. It's most likely to happen during long period of interval training or during endurance training that pushes my limits. Either way, overdoing it isn't good for my overall fitness so I feel no shame in backing off a bit when I start to feel nausea. Pushing through until you puke and getting back on the horse may have psychological benefits ("I can do anything!) but I don't think it makes you fitter than working for longer at levels your body can more comfortably sustain.
posted by rhiannon at 8:02 PM on September 21, 2006

If you want to add muscle, eat right before exercise. This is common knowledge in the weight lifting community. If you are willing to lose muscle in order to strip fat faster, then qualifications may be in order.

Here's something recent, but by no means the only thing. (Remember that most exercise study data comes after body buidlers have already known about it for years and someone in a little white coat decides, hey let's validate that...)

Timing is key for muscle mass supplements, suggests study
By Stephen Daniells

29/08/2006 - Taking creatine monohydrate and whey protein supplements just before load-bearing exercise improves muscle gain and strength than taking at other times of the day, says Australian research that has implications outside of the weights room.
posted by ewkpates at 3:50 AM on September 22, 2006

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