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Nauseated During Workouts

Often, I receive an email concerning that nauseated feeling you can get when exercising.  There are a few issues that can cause this uncomfortable feeling as well as many ways to prevent it.  Here is the email to give you a better idea of the issues involved with this topic:  

“I noticed that no matter how light or heavy my workout is for the day I always experience some nausea. Even on the days I do very light cardio and just weightlift...... could there be something causing this? I have the understanding that when you push your body to a certain point vomiting will happen, but I experience this on the lightest of days. If you have any advice, please share!”

In my experience, that nauseated feeling has nothing to do with how good of shape you are in.  I have seen many people (including myself) who are above average athletes toss their cookies during workouts.  We used to joke in my younger days in the SEAL Teams that “if you are not puking - you are not trying.”  However, there are ways to help you avoid this feeling altogether.  Here are some of the things that can cause and prevent this unpleasant feeling:

1)      Early Morning Workouts – Pre-breakfast workouts start your body exercising with minimal fuel in the tank.  In other words, since you have not eaten in probably 10-12 hours, your blood sugars levels are lower than normal.  After any anaerobic activity like – faster running, swimming, high repetition calisthenics or weight lifting, you will hit a wall and feel completely drained.  Dizziness soon follows and next thing you know you are nauseated.  This can also occur in evening workouts if you skip lunch or after noon pre-workout meals.  If you sip Gatorade or another electrolyte /sugar replacement drink during your workout, this will help you as well.  I usually eat a piece of fruit or oatmeal prior to any workout and working out in the morning.

2)      Motion Sickness – This is probably what caused your nausea.  Many people who like to begin their workouts with crunches or other abdominal exercises can actually get motion sick while performing abdominal exercises.  This occurs when your eyes are either closed while exercising or your eyes scan the ceiling freely.  The answer to this is to simply do the old Navy trick I learned when first on a ship in the North Atlantic - look at the horizon to prevent motion sickness. So, when doing situps, lock your eyes on a fixed point on the ceiling of your workout area.  You will no longer feel sick by doing this as long as you are properly fueled.

A majority of the time, the causes for exercise induced nausea are motion sickness or lower blood sugar levels. Also eating or drinking too much prior to exercise can bounce around and make you feel ill as well. 

If there are  particular areas you would like for me to discuss in the next month of articles, please email me at   Whether you are an advanced athlete or getting started again - please feel free to contact me or visit my website at


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the
Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

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Complete List:  BOOKS / eBOOKS / DVDs

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Published Books / DVDs

Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
Maximum Fitness

The Special Operations Workout

The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT Team Member
The Combat Swimmer Stroke DVD

The Pre-Habit Workout DVD
Clinic DVD for Navy SEAL PST
The FBI Special Agent Test Clinic DVD

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)
The Perfect Pushup Workout

The TRX Workout
NEW - Circuit Training 101 ebook
NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook


The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
 Combat Conditioning Workout

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

The Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout 

The Army Air Assault School Workout

The Army Airborne Workout

Air Force PJ / CCT Workout

The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Workout
NEW - The UBRR Spec Ops Fitness Test


The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard OCS Workout
The USMC IST and PFT Workout
USMC OCS / TBS Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout

The Army OCS and PFT Workout
The NEW Army PRT and Combat Readiness Test Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout

The DEA Prep Workout

The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB

The State / Local Police Academy Workout

The Fire Fighter Workout

Why a 52 Week Workout Cycle?

  Seal Multi Men's Multi-Vitamin Multi-Mineral

Become a TRX Trainer   

 TRX Train Like the Pros


Some Titles Above available in Print Softcover Format