Q: Is it okay to vomit during a workout?
A: Many people—including some coaches and trainers—believe that vomiting is a sign of hard work. If you vomit during a workout, you’re technically working hard, but you’re not working smart. Getting sick during a workout will cause you to cut your session short and degrade your training experience.
Vomiting is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard. It commonly happens when too much lactic acid builds up in your system through overexertion. The brain senses lactic acid as a toxin and attempts to remove it by triggering vomiting.
Other common causes of vomiting during workouts include dehydration, heat sickness and eating foods (like red meat) that take too long to digest right before activity.
The best way to avoid exercise-induced vomiting is to schedule adequate recovery times throughout your workout. If you start to feel lightheaded or nauseous, take a break and drink some water before starting up again. If you feel sick during practice, communicate with your coach or trainer so they won’t continue to push you beyond your limits.
Eat approximately three hours before a workout, practice or game so you have time to fully digest the food. Fifteen minutes before, if you need a quick snack, stick to a banana or a few pretzels. (Read about the 5 Elements of Pre-Game Fueling.)
Always hydrate with water or a sports drink during exercise. You should drink about 12 ounces for every 15 or 20 minutes of activity. (Learn how to stay hydrated.)