When you work up a good sweat after 30 minutes or more on the treadmill, the last thing you want is to leave the gym with a bloated belly and tighter-fitting clothes. After all, you likely started working out to lose weight, not to look like you added a few pounds while training. Because exercise is actually a type of stress, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol during your workouts. Cortisol initially causes you to retain fluid but as your body adjusts to your new routine, your bloating will vanish. In the meantime, watching your nutrition and habits can help with bloating.
What You Eat
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Lean protein foods like fish, chicken, and egg whites can lower cortisol levels. Replace sugary foods with these healthier options to help battle the bloat. Also make sure you are not eating too much fiber before your workout. Opt for an egg white omelet with tomatoes before your morning treadmill session, and save the bran for a mid-morning brunch.
What You Drink
Drink at least eight cups of water each day to reduce bloating. On days when you are exercising more or more intensely, up your water intake. Research also indicates a link between vitamin C and cortisol reduction. Consider rewarding yourself with a tall, cold glass of freshly squeezed orange juice or other vitamin C-rich fruit juice after a strong training session.
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Sometimes bloating is caused by swallowing air, according to MayoClinic.com. You can swallow air when you drink through a straw or when you suck water out of a sports bottle. You can also swallow excess air when you drink too fast. You may want to consider avoiding gum while working out, as blowing and popping bubbles also causes you to swallow excess air. Besides, the lady on the treadmill beside you will be relieved to walk without the accompaniment of your gum-popping habit.
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If after modifying your nutrition and air-swallowing habits, and waiting a couple weeks into your new workout routine you still feel like a Macy's Parade hot air balloon, visit your doctor. You could have a more serious condition like irritable bowel syndrome. This is a relatively common gastrointestinal condition that primarily affects women and causes bloating. A doctor can likely give you a proper diagnosis and prescribe ways to relieve your condition.
Mary Marcia Brown has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 15 years. A writer and runner with road race directorship experience, Brown has been published in "Running Journal," "Florida Running & Triathlon" and "Outreach NC."