A recent trip to the gym made me want to write this post. I was working out, and the guy next to me just casually let one rip! No, “Excuse me,” or anything. He just kept it moving. I’ve been working out for over 15 years, and I’ve NEVER been “the gassy dude” at the gym. Funny a subject as it is, I figured I’d share how to pull that off.
Concerning What/When You Eat…
There are plenty of classic schools of thought on whether or not you should eat before you workout. For some, it’s a matter of energy. For others, it’s a matter of fueling muscle growth. Still, for others, it’s a motivation technique (more on that in a second). Wherever you land on this issue, experiment and figure out what works for your volatile belly fumes and stick to it!
- Eat After You Workout, Not Before
I’ve personally always been more of the “Eat After You Workout” type of person. I support this camp because I feel like it 1) keeps the bloated food digestion feeling down while I’m working out, and 2) motivates me to hurry up! My workout is the one thing standing between me and whatever healthy protein-packed victory meal I plan to eat after, so that just keeps me focused and gas-free.
- Avoid Heavy Meals Before a Workout
If you are going to eat prior to working out (like if you want to carb-load for energy or something), try NOT to smash an entire large plate of pasta before the gym. You will feel it and everyone else runs the risk of smelling it. Eat something moderate in size about an hour or two before your workout. That leaves your body with plent of time to digest and sort itself out and leave you with energy to go hard.
- Pay Attention to Your Gut Health
Most people regularly visiting a gym tend to watch what they eat, but if you have a diet consisteing of very little fiber and lots of greasy fatty things and heavy meats and cheeses (plus alcohol)… It might be time to consider some lighter alternatives that aid in digestion vs. serving to “block you up”. Try Greek Yogurt for your snack times and hot tea with fresh ginger in it to aid in digestion. And do this well before a gym trip.
Pace Yourself & Heed the Aches…
Sometimes timing is crucial in life. Maybe the whole “going to the gym” and your stomach’s “Let’s get ready to rumble” battle cry is one of those moments where the timing makes sense (especially if you notice that it happens repeatedly). Perhaps there are approaches to your workout time that you could play around with. That said, consider the following…
- What Time of the Day is Your Stomach More Settled?
If you wake up each morning feeling like you need to rush to the restroom for relief… Maybe that’s not the best time for you to run 4 miles on the treadmill at your local gym? If you know that the stress of your workday causes your stomach to be a mess of knots by the end of the day, maybe the morning is your way to go? Only you know what’s best for you here, but it’s something to consider.
- Plan Time to Use the Restroom Before
Other times it may just be a matter of knowing that your body has a regular schedue before you get into anything. Many of the times people are gassy, just like a baby or dog, it’s because they have to go handle number two. Rather than fight it, set aside time before a workout to take care of that. Totally natural. Back in high school, I remember one dude did this EVERY DAY before track practice. He ran like the wind, too 😂
- Take “Slow Walks” from the Parking Lot
If all else fails, you always have the time that you walk toward the gym. Assuming your gym has a parking lot, park a bit further away from the door and slowly stroll to the door. Give yourself time, and permission, to relax those stomach muscles a bit pre-workout. Just think about how much better you’ll feel if you get rid of those minor discomforts in the open outdoors before contaminating everyone else’s air quality inside.
Got Gas? Listen to Your Body…
Lastly, I just want to plead for a bit more of a “common sense” approach for anyone over the age of like 6. If you know that your stomach is upset… Feeling a little bubbly… Tight… You hear that little swish noise in your gut if you move too fast… Maybe reconsider “Ab Day” or going super heavy on the squats? I know it’s part of the routine, but geez – no one needs to be cleared out each time you exert yourself.
- Adapt Your Routine if You Feel Bloated
Again, if notice that something doesn’t feel quite right with your tummy compared to its normal state of operation – maybe don’t do things where you go up and down under heavy pressure (e.g. almost any type of squat), anything requiring you to bend over (e.g. Good Mornings or Deadlifts), or anything bending and twisting your abdomen (e.g. Dumbbell Sidebends or Russian Twists). Don’t squeeze the gas out of yourself.
Sometimes you’ll feel a little bit better if you just… wiggle around a bit and let the gas dissipate or shift from one end to the other (I would rather you burp than fart and walk away — just sayin’). Nice, deep, steady pulling stretches can accomplish just that. Granted – if you do this and you feel like it’s doing more to get the gas out one the unwanted end, stop the downward dog and child’s pose IMMEDIATELY!!
- Excuse Yourself
To finish off this list on listening to your body, stop what you’re doing and just excuse yourself. Don’t sit there and do any exercise to the point of damn near total bowel release on the gym floor. I would wager that whatever place you are has a locker room, or at least a restroom. Put down your weight. Stop the machine. Excuse yourself! Everyone else in your presence will thank you for it. You can be that hero.
Are there other things you can do? Sure! Eat an antacid about an hour before the gym. Go for a 10-15 minute walk before any heavy exertion. And other stuff! There is plenty that you can do!
The main point of this list isn’t to be all-inclusive, it’s to point out that you have other options than just going on the gym floor and letting things fly like there’s no one else in the place with you. I know some of us have been home for a while, but geez! Have some couth, people!
If this post and the images in it made you want to go to the restroom — good! Do it before you go to the gym – LOL!! Ok… I’m done ranting now.
Peace, and thanks for reading.
The soundtrack for this post provided by…
– All Images © Krakenimages.com (Shutterstock)