Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Bloat 💨
Working out usually leaves you feeling good and full of endorphins, but it’s not uncommon to feel bloated after working out. So what’s going on?
One main cause of bloat is air in the colon, which makes you feel uncomfy and makes the abdomen distend. When you’re working out hard you’re breathing heavily and gulping down air, some of which goes down into the digestive system.
Working out also puts your body into a “stressful” situation; your flight or fight response is engaged which means blood is diverted away from your digestive system. The Gastro-intestinal tract slows down, so the air doesn’t get moved out quickly, hence the build up and bloat. Also any recently eaten food won’t get digested either.
In addition that fight or flight response results in production of the stress hormone cortisol. That promotes the production of glucose by the liver, the breakdown of muscle protein into amino acids that are then converted to glucose for energy, and the secretion of glucose into the bloodstream for ready-to-use energy. All good things during a workout but elevated cortisol can lead to elevated blood pressure, which results in fluid retention. This also leads to a further bloating.
How to prevent it.
⁃ Try inhaling through your nose and out your mouth. Focus on taking longer, slower breaths.
⁃ Avoid eating too close to your workout.
⁃ Avoid fatty foods, sugary drinks or very high fibre foods for a pre workout snack – they take longer to digest and can cause bloating
⁃ Stick to simple carbs like fruit or easy to digest starches e.g. toast
⁃ Avoid commercial “pre workout” gels etc – these often cause digestive discomfort until you’re used to using them (and even then they still cause issues).
⁃ Stay hydrated to avoid water retention
Finally, if you’re new to exercise or just ramping it up then expect it to take a while for your body to get used to it. The stomach is a muscle and needs to be trained to handle the up and down motion of running/HIIT workouts.
Happy Tuesday 🤗