Vomiting when you are working out might just be a sign that your body wants to move blood from the stomach to the muscular groups that are working. Recurrent nausea during training may be a sign of something serious.
In this podcast (Quicktime ipod compatible, 32MB; Google streaming flash video), Troy Garver and I continue our discussion of mitochondrial (endurance) training. This discussion is much less scientific and focuses on the physical side effects you may experience while training. Specifically, we consider whether vomiting while training is a sign that something terribly bad is going on and that you should stop the work out.
In short, Troy's conclusion is that puking during a workout is frequently a relief and that you can go on training afterwards. He bases this assertion on the analysis that during intense physical exercise, the body has to prioritize its blood flow. The main area that draws blood during the workout is the muscle group affected. Obviously, the brain also needs blood. However, the body places a lower priority on the digestive track during intense periods of physical activity. The easiest way to minimize this area's blood flow is to vomit out any food that may be in the process of digestion.
However, as I note in the links below, you need to consider why you may be vomiting before coming to this conclusion. Vomiting during a workout can be a a sign of a serious underlying problem. It's just that in the vast majority of cases it is not.
This analysis also raises a further reason that I might have found the initial stages of the mitochondrial regimen that Nancy and I started a few months ago difficult. During the supersets, we start with one muscle group and then immediately move to another. This change requires blood flow to move to a new muscle group while the original muscle group is still recovering. One further adaptation that might be occurring is that the number of red blood cells is increasing as more demands are placed on the vascular system to replenish different muscular groups.
- Ultra cyclists find vomiting during races to be a common issue. The consensus approach seems to be to slow down for a bit and slowly rebuild intensity. Bill Mayer's 24 hour races we reported on in a previous podcast series are an example of ultra cycling.
- In general, high intensity training in the weight room can lead to vomiting. One reason may be an over full stomach, but an alternative is low blood sugar. Strangely, in both cases, the explanation may be the same. The body is shutting down non-essential functions for the stress at hand.
- Recurrent nausea during training can be a sign of much more serious vascular problems like atrioventricular block.