Why Do I Feel Nauseous After Working Out?

Post-Workout Nausea

The sense of accomplishment you experience when you finish a workout is a great feeling. That is until nausea hits.

Nothing can derail your workout like feeling the urge to vomit or feeling dizzy and nauseated. But why does this happen, and what can you do to learn how to stop feeling nauseous so you can keep smashing those workouts?

Nausea After Working Out: Causes

Nausea during or after a workout can strike due to what’s happening inside your body or the nature of your workout. Let’s look at some of the most common causes of post-exercise nausea. 

Exercising After a Big Meal

When you exercise, blood flows away from your gut and to your muscles to supply them with oxygen and nutrients. This is often a reason that gastrointestinal problems occur. Less blood flow leads to slower digestion, which can trigger nausea, an upset stomach, constipation, and diarrhea.

Improper Hydration

Drinking water is necessary for proper muscle function during exercise. That’s because water regulates body temperature and keeps joints lubricated. It also supports healthy digestion. As a result, if you don’t get enough water, you may experience nausea and poor performance.

But you shouldn’t guzzle water before your workout, as this can also trigger nausea. Drinking water throughout the day and supplementing with an electrolyte beverage for intense exercise is better.

Medication Side Effects

Some medications have nausea as a side effect, particularly when taken on an empty stomach. Examples include antibiotics, antidepressants, NSAIDs like ibuprofen, and mineral supplements.

Follow the directions for your medication. If it says to take it with food, do so and plan to work out a few hours later when you’ve digested your meal. With new medications, take it easy until you see how they affect you.

Strenuous Workouts

Some fitness communities consider nausea and vomiting a “badge of honor” with a workout, but this attitude can be very harmful. You should never work out so hard that you vomit or get queasy, as these can be signs of overexertion.

Take new workouts slowly and ensure you’re at the fitness level you need to succeed. If it feels uncomfortable or you become nauseous, scale back and work up to that level instead of pushing too hard.

Exercising in the Heat

Everyone’s temperature regulation differs, but exercising in the heat and humidity can throw this balance off. This is especially true if you’re dehydrated, wearing heavy clothes to induce sweating, or nursing a hangover.

Occasional nausea can be normal but may also be a sign of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, or dehydration. If it’s hot, take a break in a cool resting area. If your symptoms worsen, seek medical care.

Workouts That Can Cause Nausea

Nausea can happen after any workout, but it’s more common with endurance sports like marathon running or cycling. Vigorous workouts, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), heavy resistance training, and sprints, can also cause it.

Try a Pre-Workout Meal

Exercising on an empty stomach can prompt nausea. When you skip meals or snacks before exercising, you may also lack the nutrients you need to stabilize your blood sugar and fuel your workout.

Eating a light, nutrient-packed meal about one hour before your workout won’t weigh you down and can help with feelings of nausea, lightheadedness, or dizziness.

You can try options like:

Should I Stop Working Out If I Feel Nauseous?

If you feel nauseous occasionally, such as after a new type of workout or a particularly strenuous one, it’s likely no cause for concern. You may want to stop or slow down the workout and make adjustments moving forward, but you likely don’t need to cease activity entirely.

However, if you start to experience nausea every time you work out, nausea that lasts for a half hour or longer, you’re throwing up during or after workouts, or you’re vomiting with blood, it’s time to see your doctor.

Seek emergency medical attention if you have accompanying symptoms like a rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, lightheadedness, chest pain, shortness of breath, or an altered mental status.

What to Do If You Get Nauseous After Working Out

There are several things you can do to prevent nausea after a workout, including the following tips:

  • Avoid big, heavy meals right before a workout. Stick to small meals or snacks that are light and nutrient-rich.
  • Skip foods with a lot of fat or fiber, which take longer to digest.
  • Hydrate before your workout, but don’t go overboard. Pay attention to your natural thirst instead of forcing yourself to drink.
  • Sip an electrolyte drink to ensure you have the proper balance of electrolytes to stay hydrated.
  • Remember to warm up and cool down with each workout. Consider ramping up your workout’s intensity bit by bit to avoid overwhelming your body.
  • Ease into new or high-intensity workouts that can trigger overexertion and nausea.
  • If you get motion sickness, avoid exercises that trigger it, like water rowers or jumping on a trampoline.

How to Get Rid of Nausea After Working Out: Electrolytes

Proper hydration is key, as is giving your body the nourishment it needs to stay in top shape during and after a workout. Core Culture offers a range of electrolyte beverages and health and wellness supplements that can help you kick post-workout nausea to the curb. 

Check out our full selection of products to help your body return to a balanced, healthy state after even the most intensive exercise.