Abdominal exercises are great for hardening your core and sculpting the almighty six-pack. The gastrointestinal track beneath the muscle -- responsible for absorbing nutrients and disposing waste -- is constantly active, however, which can cause problems as the area moves and contracts. Gas after abdominal exercise can come in the form of flatulence or belching and can be an embarrassing dilemma in the gym. Recognizing the causes and learning about prevention will allow you to concentrate on exercise instead of embarrassing bodily functions.
Dr. Dan Reardon, American College of Sports Medicine-certified fitness expert, attributes gas to tight abdominal contraction that forces gas out. Gas originates from either the breakdown of foods that have yet to be fully digested or swallowed air. An excessive amount of air swallowing occurs from chewing gum, smoking, quickly eating or drinking or wearing loose dentures. If your in the gym breathing heavy and eating a protein bar, your risk of belching is increased. Swallowed air is usually excreted from the body through belching.
Each vegetables for fiber and avoid foods with gluten -- pasta, bread, cookies, cakes, beer and sauces. Anything with white flour, bran, wheat germ or spelt will contain gluten. Emptying your bowels before a workout helps, which is easier to do if you exercise at the same time each day, but this requires keeping your bathroom schedule equally regular. Avoiding caffeinated beverages and eating fiber will keep your digestive tract more predictable.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a lifelong condition leading to cramping, irregular bowel movement and discomfort, but most sufferers have a mild form which can be controlled with antibiotics and diet changes. Doctors are unsure what causes it, but women have double the risk. Abdominal pain, feeling full, excessive gas and bloating that persists for at least three days a month for the last three months should get checked for IBS. IBS should not be confused with lactose intolerance, which affects the way your body processes dairy. IBS-like symptoms within two hours of consuming dairy indicates that too much lactose might be the cause.
Soreness or bloating can accompany gas. A build-up of gases in your GI tract causes cramp-like symptoms, but so does abdominal fatigue. Delayed onset soreness can occur up to 48 hours after an ab workout. If you worked your abs extra hard or don't usually exercise them, your abs need time to repair before completing more reps. Gas may accompany ab fatigue by coincidence or you may mistake fatigue for gas. Ask yourself whether your abs are used to the exercises you put them through. If not, gas may not be the culprit.
- FitnessInventor: Why Do I Fart When I Do Abs Exercises?, Dan Reardon
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gas in the Digestive Tract
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Irritable bowel syndrome
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Lactose intolerance
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Delayed onset muscle soreness : Treatment Strategies and Performance Factors
Matthew Demers is a certified personal trainer based in Windsor, Canada. He is also the co-founder of YourSpace Fitness.