Congratulations! If you’ve recently made the commitment to get in shape and have already started showing up for your weekly fitness center workouts, you’ve done the hardest part. The next hardest thing — which takes some trial and error and at least a little discomfort — is getting your body into the swing of regular activity.
If you’re new to working out, you will probably experience problems that can be discouraging or embarrassing if you don’t know how to work through them. Many fitness gym newbies encounter new stomach issues, clothing issues, and hydration issues within the first few months of their new program.
It’s important to remember that these things are entirely normal. Everyone, up to the most elite athlete, has experienced them at one time or another. Taking from what gym newbies just like yourself have learned along the way, here are some practical tips on how to push through and overcome these three common problems.
From mild acid reflux to indigestion, gas, bloating, nausea, and bathroom emergencies, we’ve all learned how moving our bodies can affect our digestive system — especially at the start. The main instigator of these issues is either (1) dehydration, (2) the timing and size of meals, or (3) eating the wrong kinds of foods around your workout.
- Cramping and nausea is often caused by dehydration (although you might also become nauseated if you eat too much before a workout), so this could be a sign you’re not getting enough fluids.
- If you frequently experience digestive discomfort during your workouts, you might be eating too much, too close to being active. Give yourself at least an hour to digest a pre-workout snack up to 200 calories, and longer for larger meals.
- If your problem is mostly gas, try limiting high-fiber foods up to 4 hours before being active. The instigator could also be artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols commonly added to protein bars and sports drinks. If you experience acid reflux, cut or delay spicy, fried, and acidic foods and beverages before your workouts.
- Exercise stimulates our digestive tracts, and it will take time to re-regulate your system to avoid interrupted workouts or more embarrassing situations. Thankfully, there’s always a restroom nearby in the fitness center. Learn your body’s new schedule and stick with it.
Clothing issues are a little more trivial than stomach issues, but they can still be annoying. If you’re new to working out, you might discover, too late, that certain clothing causes chafing when they get sweaty, your cute new workout shirt constantly rides up, or your undergarments aren’t nearly supportive enough.
Any of these issues can ruin a great workout, so learn and adapt. Remember that comfort always comes first, fashion second. Wear lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking materials that aren’t too tight or loose, and test-run outfits before you put them to work in a crowded gym.
We all know hydration is important, but how much water do you need? This will differ for everyone, but experts recommend drinking 14 to 22 ounces of water a few hours before your scheduled workout, and another 8 to 10 ounces 30 minutes before you start. It’s also possible to get too much water, so if you’re “sloshy” or need to keep running to the bathroom, it’s fine to cut back a little.
Learning to deal with these three common problems as a newbie to an active lifestyle doesn’t take long. Keep this advice handy, and before you know it, these issues won’t bother you — or your workouts — at all.