gas bloat fart

Tips for Getting Rid of Gas and Bloating During and After Exercise

By Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach of CTS

Increasing your activity level and weekly training hours leads to a lot of positive changes in your fitness and health, but many athletes notice some effects that are not as pleasant. When you exercise more, you need to consume enough energy to support your workouts and activities of daily living. Between the changes to your diet and effects that intensity and overheating can have on your digestive system, a lot of athletes experience excess gas and bloating during and after strenuous and/or prolonged exercise. While gas medication might be a short-term solution, try the following steps to avoid exercise-induced gas and bloating before they start.

Go Low Fiber

High fiber fruits and vegetables are good choices for your health and helping you feel full and satisfied. The downside is that high fiber fruits and vegetables give some people gas. If you have a history of exercise-induced gas, try reducing intake of foods like beans, lentils, broccoli, apples, and whole grains for at least two days before an important training session or goal event.

Even if a low fiber strategy helps with reducing exercise induced gas or bloating, permanently eliminating high fiber foods would remove a lot of important and nutrient-dense foods from your lifestyle. Rather, work with a dietitian or coach to develop a strategy that balances your training goals and nutritional needs.

Swallow less air

Not all of your post-exercise gas comes from the foods you eat. Some of it is just swallowed air that gets trapped in your digestive system. While you burp up most air you swallow, some of it makes it into the small intestine. Athletes tend to swallow more air when they eat and drink during period of high intensity because you’re gasping for air and gulping down food and fluid at the same time. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but it’s another reason to take advantage of downhills or lulls in the action to do most of your eating and drinking.

Drink plenty of water with concentrated carbohydrates

During workouts and races longer than 60-90 minutes athletes benefit from consuming carbohydrate. Most athletes rely on concentrated carbohydrate sources in the form of gels, bars, chews, or foods like bananas, rice balls, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. These are the right foods to eat, but the concentration of carbohydrate needs to be diluted in order to avoid delayed gastric emptying. Slow gastric emptying can make athletes feel nauseated and bloated, and reduce subsequent hydration and energy intake. A good rule of thumb is to consume half a standard water bottle each time you consume a high carbohydrate food during exercise.

Stay Cool

As a result of reduced blood flow to the gut, gastric emptying and digestion in your small intestine slow down during high intensity exercise and when core temperature is elevated. To prevent nausea and bloating you want to keep things moving. Slowing down and cooling down are also two of the primary steps for alleviating GI distress during long events.

Train your gut

Your gut is trainable. As your fitness improves and your hourly energy and hydration requirements increase, your body adapts so you can process more food and fluids more quickly. Individual sugars (glucose, fructose, galactose) need transporters to get through the intestinal wall, and increased carbohydrate intake during training increases the transporters you have available. This is part of the reason some athletes can tolerate 90 grams of carbohydrate per hour while absorption is limited to about 60 grams per hour for most people. Because they use separate transporters, consuming both glucose and fructose is another way to increase the amount of sugar you can absorb per hour.

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Athletes on a chronically low carbohydrate diet sometimes try to increase carbohydrate intake for important events, with the idea they can capitalize on increased fat oxidation and the high-octane energy from carbohydrate. These athletes may be more susceptible to exercise induced gas, bloating, and diarrhea because their bodies have downregulated availability of glucose and fructose transporters. As a result, they’re not capable of absorbing the carbohydrate fast enough and it continues moving down through the small intestine and into the large intestine, which can lead to gas and bloating. Unfortunately, this sometimes reinforces the low-carb athlete’s assertion that carbohydrate is not a good fuel for endurance performance, when it’s more likely a response to how they’ve trained their gut.

Reduce intake of high FODMAP foods

Dietitians and gastroenterologists recognize that some carbohydrates are easier to digest than others. For patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and crohn’s disease, they sometimes recommend reducing intake of Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAP). These short chain carbohydrates and the sugar alcohol sorbitol are harder to digest. A person with a healthy gut can typically handle the extra work, but they can lead to diarrhea, gas, bloating, and constipation for people who already have digestive problems. Foods high in FODMAPs include apples, pears, apricots, onions, broccoli, whole garlic, and higher lactose dairy products (cow’s milk, soft cheeses). Sorbitol is found in a sweetener used in some low-calorie processed foods.

Everyone’s digestive system is a little different, and your gut may respond differently than mine to specific strategies above. As with so many aspects of training and sports nutrition, you have to start with the science and find out what works best for your individual physiology.

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Comments 19

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  3. So I have a REALLY bad issue.
    Im 5’2and 212 lbs. I am a type 1 (Juvenile) diabetic. My A1C is perfect. For about 3 years now, my stomach has bloated to the point I cant sit because my stomach crushes my ribs. I have been to 7 doctors, including gastro and NOBODY can tell me why! I have jist started working out, but before now just walking upstairs causes immediate bloating. My dr thinks Im constipated, but I have a movement EVERY day. I am thinking I also have exercise-induced broncoconstriction (EIB). Would just walking upstairs and having eib really cause that much swelling THAT fast? I do pass gas, but sometimes i want to but cant. That is very rare though. Any ideas? I also get TERRIBLE TERRIBLE calf and foot pain/swelling. I drink about 3 ltrs of water per day. Thank you for your help and support. You dont know how much it means to me.

  4. Hello, my first time really commenting on a blog, nervous, so I have always been thin 5’2 115 lbs, I recently was in the hospital this whole summer of 2023, I had covid, then problems with my chest and breathing, For some reason a Dr. wanted to do an upper GI for my pain. ( I was so confused, why had nothing to do with my breathing)🤔So I went ahead and did the test. The little Ole Dr. Came to me and started I have gastroparesis. ( which I already have SLE LUPUS, Fibromyagia, hashimoto disorder, chronic kidney disease stage iv, So I have always worked out, since I have been out the hospital beginning of Aug, I work out, and feel great while exercising, usually about an hour or hour and half. I use to do high impact, ,although I have cut down and doing low impact. As to say I’m curious to see if anyone has the same problem as I, or if it’s my gastroparesis. So every time, I work out I get bloated and nauseated and shaky. I was never like this before. I’m see if any has this happening whether heath issues or not. I’d like to ask my Dr but every time I get to his office, I forget to ask him. ( That must be another thing accompanying my stange things going on) So I’d like to hear if anyone has any ideas. Thank you very much 🤕🫡😓

  5. This really sucks for me because I’m 17 and started lifting weights 3 1/2 months ago. I noticed my flatulence is a lot more prominent now, and I can’t even control it at school. This has caused me to skip out on certain classes where my anxiety is higher because it makes me fart more… I don’t know what to do … Should I stop lifting until the school year ends (May 19) or should I eat less protein and fiber? <<< I tried this already and it barely works.

    1. I’d say the fodmap will do and to test for ibs. I had Conditon of ibs c after gallbladder and it can swap into M or D category when it rewired me to do what it says. Pretty ugly, but fiber is good in moderate doses. Vegans tolerate veggies but in the start depending I’ve heard of their guts being gasser to adjust. It could be fodmap as I do autoimmune paleo and the only rice I can eat blandly is white to balance acid and bile in stomach as a solvable grain. I use nuts and seeds but those can be rough if eaten the wrong way or time. Try taking out high fiber grains or reduce then a small bit, same with the portion of veggies to meat, meat isn’t gas wothout that fat so lean maybe too. If you started with too much fiber too quickly, that can throw your gut off too. Mint will help, so can ginger to sooth the spasms of gas. Just be careful not to use too many hard candies as a replacement on the go like I do. I bring tea bags wherever I am and a mug to be sure it’s what I need.

  6. I started working out about a month ago and I’m noticing a smell that’s really bad, I don’t know if I’m farting or if it’s coming out my vagina. I’m eating better now but don’t know what’s going on. Can someone please help me and tell me if they experienced the same thing and what did you do to stop the smell.

    1. Hey this is also the reason i look up this article, I’ve been more active for the last week and I’m farting up a pretty disgusting smell— lucking I’m in my room but, have you figured out ur reason??

  7. I am not an athlete but I just love doing exercise. I observed that since I became active I fart more. And I feel so bloated even doing exercise. Maybe I really have sensitive gut. Also, I am lactose intolerant so it’s really hard. Maybe I really need to modify my diet.

  8. Nothing wrong with farts! It just comes with the territory when you are an athlete or even just an active person. Shows you have a healthy digestive system. No need to reduce them. Keep eating a high fiber diet. That is exactly what you need! Good for your health in so many ways and no need to reduce healthy eating habits just so you can appease the coach potatoes!

    Farting shouldn’t be a cultural taboo. Fart it up dude!!!

    1. All this info is good to know lol . I started doing more cardio and muscle toning In the last week while trying to balance my diet .

      1. So I got a new bike and am riding everyday. Like 4 or 6 or 8 miles twice a day. I’ve had blocked bowel before like 20 years ago. So last night my gas pains were so intense. I lay there thinking I should go to ER. But I could still burp. So I roughed it out. I have read these comments and will make appointment for a gastroenterologist. By the way I’m female, 65, have let myself get 30 pounds overweight and used to ride like 60 -70 miles a day. I’ve always noticed exercise makes me fart. Thanks for the comments.

  9. I remember when I trained for my first marathon. My biggest fear wasn’t that I couldn’t run the distance of 26.2 miles, my biggest fear was gas or having the runs, literally!
    Lets face it, most of athletes out there, especially runners, only turn their heads around when they are running, for two things: To see where the competition is, or, to make sure no one is around in order to let out some gas build-up!

    Great article and a subject that plagues all athletes, indeed!

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