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Avoid Workout Nausea

Call it what you want: vomiting, puking, barfing, praying to the porcelain god or tossing your cookies, the “feeling of ultimate grossness” and/or throwing up during or after your workout is overrated. Thing is, there’s reasons for feeling so icky and there’s definitely ways to avoid it.

If you’ve felt nauseous or even thrown up while working out, you’re not alone. Nausea and its pal, Mr. Technicolor Yawn, are a relatively common occurrence when people start pushing themselves and it’s usually the result of your body telling you something… and you making the decision to ignore it. In my experience (my first Insanity workout, especially) and in general, there are two common reasons workout nausea happens:


If you’re waking up in the morning and going straight into a workout without drinking water– or going through your workout without drinking water– rethink that strategy. See, after a night’s rest, your body has been deprived of H20 for hours and if you’re not drinking enough throughout the day anyway, you’ll be even lower. There’s biological reasons behind why dehydration makes you nauseous but the way to avoid it is simply drinking a cup or two of water when you wake up/15 minutes or so before your workout. During your workout, have a bottle of water available to sip from as you go (I usually take a gulp every 5-10 minutes or so) and most importantly, listen to your body! You’ll know if you’re thirsty and if you are, “drink your water, People!”

As a note, there is such a things as overhydration. Drinking too much water will make you sick as well. It’s not super common but don’t go chug a gallon of water before your workout. As always– listen to your body.

Glycogen Depletion (IE- fancy talk for low blood sugar, aka: fuel)

Your body uses glycogen (stored sugar) as fuel. If you don’t have enough or burned through what you did have stored up, some faster, higher intensity exercises (like Insanity or TurboFire or P90X Plyometrics) can leave you feeling drained, bonked and eventually nauseous. You can avoid “running on empty” by making sure you’re getting enough food in the day so you have glycogen stores to spare the next morning (or night). That or sip the P90X Recovery Formula throughout your workout, while making sure you take some in at the end of your workout. Restoring glycogen levels is no joke. Not only does it keep nasty nausea away, it also improves your performance and keeps you energized.

In the mean time, if you do feel twinges of nausea, take a break and go sit down. Sip some water and breathe through it. Don’t try to work the feeling away. The nausea will subside and you can pick the workout up again at a lower intensity level both hydrated and with your body in balance.

*I’m no Doctor and I don’t even play one on TV. There’s a whole host of reasons you might feel “sick” during or after your workout if you’re accurately addressing these issues. If nausea is something that continues to be persistent, definitely seek medical advice. 

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4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. Ginger says:

    Greetings from the Lonestar state!

    As 2013 rolled in, I made stand against myself. I decided January 1st that I was no longer going to sabotage my health. I did a full body detox, put down cigarettes for good, and entered a Biggest Loser contest at work. I said “NO MORE BEING OVERWEIGHT!”. My first weigh-in saw me at 223 pounds. I was mortified.

    I am a runner and P90x convert. I am on a strict Paleo diet. There are zero deviations. I am currently at a 35-pound weight loss and I am only barely two months into my program. Up until this point I have not had an issue with nausea. However, I have vomited after my workout the last three days. I’m baffled that this all of a sudden has cropped up. Could it simply be I have begun to push myself to the extremes now that a lot of the weight is gone?

    • Coach Dan V. says:

      Greetings, Ginger!

      And may I say ever since our visit to the Lone Star State a few months back, it’s now top ranked? Loved Texas.

      So hey- thank you for sharing your story and big props on your conversion and dedication to taking your life back!! 35 lbs. is no joke!

      There could definitely be a wide variety of reasons as for vomiting. I’m not a doctor so I can’t accurately address any specific issue. It could very well be your new ability to push to extremes. It could be hydration (what I found was most often the case for myself). At the least, you could drink before your workout and throughout and see how you feel.

      So tell me more…are you doing P90X currently?

  2. Aracely says:

    Hi , so i started insanity & i threw up on the first 15 min of the first workout. I drank a banana smoothie right before i started , do you think the banana smoothie was a good idea?
    Any good suggestions on pre workout meals (breakfast).

    • Coach Dan V. says:

      Throwing up is 100% overrated. I definitely wouldn’t take down a smoothie before heading off on an adventure with Insanity. Hydrate with water, for sure but I wouldn’t work out for at least an hour or more after eating something that’s not light and easy to digest.

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