Working Against Nausea When Fitness Training


Band-aids for fitness nausea

There have been very few fitness enthusiasts who at one time or another didn’t experience nausea during or after their workouts.

This event can pose as a major inconvenience as it requires a person to wait until either the discomfort subsides, or bee-line it to the bathroom in the event the most recent meal decides to head north.

Some people can get through a workout regardless of its intensity, however others are highly vulnerable to the gut distress that comes with a challenging workout.

Whats Happening

The human body has only a finite amount of blood, approximately 5.5 quarts,  available to carry oxygen to all the areas of the body that need it. During the rigors of training or increasing the intensity level of any exercise, the heart, lungs, and large muscle groups that require oxygen to work properly will receive that oxygen via the blood.

This event, in turn, deprives the visceral organs, that include the stomach and bowel, enough oxygen to perform the digestion process effectively.  This act of compromised oxygen to the areas that need it is called “ischemia.”

The inability for all organs to practice this form of profit sharing, will often result in distress to those organs trying to digest the last meal and can include the expulsion of food – vomiting

The Fix

For some people, this event is recurring regardless of the countless measures taken to avoid it, however in our client population we have seen seen many clients start this way only to have this event taper off over time.  In other words, the body makes adjustments.

One of the first aspects of nausea worthy of question is the type of food and the length of time between when the clients last meal and the time they worked out.

The type of food matters because foods that are high in protein or fat are especially hard for the body to break down fast enough to convert them into a useable form of energy.  Additionally, while protein helps buffer, or slow the breakdown of carbohydrates it should not been consumed as a means of energy by itself.  This is best left for quick acting carbohydrates.

Timing is another factor, as most guidelines encourage at least a two hour window between the completion of the last meal and the work-out start time.  This naturally, presents an inconvenience for those who work-out at 5 or 6 in the morning, who might want to consider making use of another strategy – consistency.

Consistency, refers to how effectively the body can break a given food down for digestion.  The softer or more fluid in the food, the easier it is for acids in the stomach to break it down, since it’s soft nature coupled with the act of chewing will break it down even further.

Periodically, the fitness reader will hear about the merits of training on an empty stomach. Doing this, will force the body to utilize fat as a form of fuel, instead of emptying the body of its carbohydrates first, but will also deprive the body of fast-acting sugars that can be found in fruits and some grains for immediate conversion to energy – something everybody needs for a good workout.

If you are new to fitness training and suffer from any of these symptoms, re-evaluating  your meal timing and food selections might play a role in making things more comfortable.

Keep in mind that the body’s own adaptation process can also work in your favor.


Bill Victor

Bill Victor, M.S. Exercise Science is the President of Victor Fitness and Performance Training. He and his team of trainers are dedicated to bringing the fitness experience, and the self-confidence that comes with it, to the citizens of Clark County. He can be reached through or his email,

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