Why would I suffer severe bloating after training, particularly CV?
Abdominal bloating, large pockets of sulfur-bearing gases, stretch the gut wall past its comfortable elastic limit, and pain or expansion in the abdomen is felt and seen. Bloating can be quite painful for some individuals, and it is important to remember that bloating happens to some individuals quite frequently throughout the day and not just after cardiovascular exercise sessions. While there are many causative factors that can be associated with bloating (diet, stress, breathing patterns, etc.), the following are the more frequent and popular causes:
- Lactose or fructose intolerances
- Food allergies
- Aerophagia (the swallowing of air)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Partial bowel obstruction
- Rapid gastric emptying
In addition to this list, eating a higher fat daily diet could cause bloating because carbon dioxide is produced in the small intestine when bicarbonate is released to neutralize stomach acid and fat eaten during meals. Eating this type of meal can generate a good amount of carbon dioxide, some of which is released as gas, which may cause bloating.
The pre-exercise meal or snack can also have a large influence on whether or not bloating occurs after exercise. Eating too big of a high protein and/or high fiber meal within one to two hours of exercise can increase the susceptibility of bloating and should be minimized as much as possible. Try to eat a small snack or meal two to three hours before exercise.
Daily and pre-exercise nutrition are important factors to consider if you are prone to bloating after exercise but so is your nutrition during exercise. The following nutrient mishaps implemented during exercise can also precipitate bloating after exercise:
- Drinking plain water
- Consuming no or very little sodium
- Drinking carbonated drinks
- Drinking a beverage that has a high carbohydrate concentration (greater than eight percent)
- Drinking a beverage that has a high osmolality rating (normal body osmolality ranges from 280-330mOsm/kg )
In summary, if bloating is experienced frequently after cardiovascular exercise, it is most likely due to daily nutrition habits and/or food intolerances or allergies. It is certainly possible for nutrients consumed during exercise to cause bloating, but if the exercise session is less than one hour in duration, it is less likely. If bloating continues to occur after most of the information above is considered, it is recommended to consult with a physician.
- Morton, D.P., et al. (2004). Effect of ingested fluid composition on exercise-related transient abdominal pain. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab; Apr(2): 197-208.