I’m not going to lie, I have really enjoyed putting together this series on embarrassing gym issues!
If you’re new to the blog, for the past few weeks I’ve been sharing the most common gym issues that we are embarrassed by… inlcuding the whys and the hows on dealing with’em.
If you missed out:
And today we’re talking the poof.
You know, the thing women are “not supposed to do”.
We All Toot!
Toot, poof, puff, f__t, whatever you want to call it.
I haven’t met a single person that has never tooted during a workout.
Now before we go any further…
Yes, I prefer tooted.
I don’t like the word fart (I was raised to think girls don’t use this word) and you and I are too good of friends now to say to each other, passing gas or flatulence.
So I am going to stick to toot. Work for you?
I understand this isn’t a topic regularly talked about. It’s like other embarrassing issues: we all act as if it never happens to us and act surprised when it occurs to others around us.
Let’s face it… we toot. Every single person (and every single animal… I wonder, do bugs toot?).
And when you combine jumping, squatting, crunching, running and whatever else you do during a workout, you’re setting yourself up for a tootiful experience… and sometimes more severe GI embarrassments.
Wringing Out A Rag
The occasional toot during a squat or sit-up is a pretty easy concept:
The increased movements during these moves doesn’t cause gas, they simply helps to dislodge it. Thus, allowing it to pass easier.
Think plunger to a toilet…
Wow, I’m keeping it classy today.
When doing moves like leg raises, sit-ups, or other ab targeted moves your chances of public release is increased since these movements add pressure to the gut.
Almost like wringing out a towel to squeeze out excess water.
But sometimes it starts with a toot and leads to more…
Exercise can also help speed up a bowel movement due to increased blood flow and muscular activity. Remember it’s muscles that allow your food to pass in the first place!
Runners Have Problems Too
If you’re a runner (really any distance, no matter the speed, you are a runner) then you are nodding in agreement when I say…
Runners know exercise induced GI issues more than anyone.
Heck, even London Marathoner, Paula Radcliffe, had to stop with just 4 miles left to go to the bathroom on the side of the road… and she still won!
According to a study published in the International SportsMed Journal, 30-83% of runners experience GI issues. That includes diarrhea, cramps and of course… gas.
The Real Causes Of Exercise Induced Gas/GI
- Jostling the organs from bouncing up and down/
- Decreased blood flow to the intestines during intense exercise and cardio.
- Changes in intestinal hormone secretion (see below).
- Pre workout anxiety (I had a friend that when ever she was nervous, she was extremely gassy… poor thing.
- Increased speed in which food passes through the intestines.
Exercise And Your Stomach Hormones
Okay, I know that sounds far too boring but stay with me…
When we think of hormones, we think of what?
Estrogen and testosterone most of the time.
Well, believe it or not there are tons of different hormones that help the body to run efficiently.
And for today’s point… I quickly want to talk intestinal hormones.
Hormones which tell the digestive track how to behave… when to speed up, slow down and everything in between.
Research has shown that exercise such as cycling, running and other cardio based forms of movement can promote an increased amount production of these digestive hormones telling your stomach to digest. I’m I’m talking… Digest NOW!
Isn’t it funny that your body has no qualms telling you when you need to “go” or toot, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
I don’t want to get too into the science of it all, but for those fellow science lovers out there… gastrin, secretin and motilin are the hormones affected most. And yes, of course all can lead to gas and more.
The last type of exercise induced toot I want to cover is during yoga.
He was nervous to go because he had heard that people fart (his words not mine) during yoga and he wasn’t sure he would be able to keep a straight face.
Oh goodness… all men have a little boy forever in them, right?
Luckily, he got over this fear and ended up loving yoga classes… and yes, there were even toots from time to time in his class. And no, he didn’t bust out laughing (at least out loud).
When it comes to yoga… you’re moving, twisting and relaxing muscles.
Those three combined means that the chances of something being let go is likely.
What I love about yoga is that this is understood and therefore this is the place of least embarrassment.
Our studio always burns incense at the end of class, which of course we laugh that they are trying to cover up everyone’s… well, you know.
How To Decrease Chances Of Toots
Now you know what causes the embarrassment, but what can you do to try to avoid it happening to you?
Here are a few suggestions…
- Avoid high fiber foods prior to your workout.
- Avoid foods such as beans, broccoli, dairy and garlic… all of which are known to increase gas.
- Try to schedule your workout to be after you go to the bathroom.
- Avoid supplements and sugar-free foods that contain sugar alcohols, these are VERY toot inducing foods (just take my word for it).
- Work on “pinching a penny” to strengthen your muscles to hold it in.
- Listen to loud music… if you don’t hear it, it didn’t happen, right?
Most importantly, realize that it happens. If it hasn’t ever happened to you… stop lying to yourself 😉
Brush it off and keep going with your workout!
I have far too many embarrassing stories… but this is a good one.
When I was in college and Dan and I were just kind of new, he was visiting me.
I got up in the middle of the night to go to the rest room and when I crawled back into bed, I didn’t realize that Dan and slipped off the bed and was hiding.
Suddenly, he jumped up and yelled “BOO!” (or something along those lines).
Immediately, I screamed and let out a HUGE toot. I started laughing and told him he scared the toot right out of me.
We still laugh about it, almost 10 years later.