I seldom exercise and hardly even go for a jog. I have been living this way for over 20 years. I have high metabolism and have a body shape of an ectomorph; I am skinny.

Recently, I wanted to bulk up my body. I started off with the basics, mainly home exercises like crunches and press ups. I read from somewhere that 3 reps of 12 for both crunches and press ups would be a good start.

So what I do is: 12 times of crunches, rest 30 seconds, another 12 times of crunches, rest 30 seconds again, and the last set of 12 times of crunches. I do the same for press ups. Is this too much? I doubt this is even helping me to bulk up.

The problem, however, is I feel slightly nauseous after doing these. If we spin ourselves in a circular motion for a couple of minutes, stop and wait after the giddiness has faded off, there is still a remaining nauseous feeling. The remaining nauseous feeling is close to how I feel when I am doing the workouts. The nausea turns me off to exercising. I have tried going to a gym, worked on some machines and walked out in 15mins because I gradually feel uncomfortable with the nausea. The nauseous feeling does not kill nor feel extremely unbearable but it makes me feel sick and a little giddy.

I still feel okay when I have done only about 1 rep of crunches and press ups.

Are there any particular reasons or lack of nutritions that I am feeling this way? Is this simply how I would feel when beginning to exercise after lazing for so many years? Or have I for a start overworked?

4 Answers 4


There are several reasons you can be experiencing nausea during or post work out. In my own experience, most of those are not directly related to the exercise itself. I'll start with what I think is the least likely culprit and work towards what is probably most likely.

  • Sleep
  • Pain
  • Hydration
  • Pre-workout nutrition


More specifically, a lack of sleep can set you up to not perform well in any activity--not just exercise. I've found that intense exercise after a bad nights sleep can cause very severe headaches (see 'pain' below) during exercise. However, a milder symptom can be disorientation, and dizziness. Both of those sensations can give way to nausea.


There are two types of pain: pain as a result of injury, and the normal "pain" associated with exercise. I put the normal "pain" in quotes because during exercise it feels like a pump, and a couple days afterwards it's just soreness. Both of these are merely uncomfortable sensations that go away the more used to the exercise you get. The true pain associated with injury can be quite intense. Intense pain can cause nausea on its own.


The bigger concern is dehydration, but your body needs a healthy amount of water every day. The demands for water increase in dry climates, higher altitudes, and when you are exercising. Sickness can also increase the demand for hydration, but since the link to sickness and nausea is well understood I don't really need to talk about it here.

Bottom line is that insufficient water can cause cramps and other unsettling sensations. If you have a high sodium intake, water is even more important. Perhaps some potassium sources would also help stabilize the electrolyte needs for your body. But normally sedentary people tend to simply not have enough water.

Pre-workout nutrition

I believe this is the most likely culprit. You mentioned that you are naturally thin, so you have a high metabolism. You also are increasing the demands of your body by exercising. This means your body needs lots and lots of Calories just make up for the demands. I have found that after intense training without sufficient food, I become so hungry I am nauseous. Every bite of food when I'm in that state helps settle my stomach.

It's not just the quantity of food. I've also found that certain foods that I eat before training can be a source of nausea by themselves. Protein drinks in water, sardines, or other high in fat foods can sometimes cause this nausea. I've found that I'm OK consuming a protein bar just before working out if I need some quick energy. Most carb sources are also pretty easy on my stomach. However, I do need about an hour after a proper meal before going to the gym. The body needs time to do the bulk of the digestion before you put high demands on it.

If you are training fasted (before you have your first meal of the day), you probably need to change that habit. Or potentially consume 10g of BCAAs before you exercise. BCAAs are Branched Chain Amino Acids, and your body does not need to process them to use them. That makes it easier on your stomach, and provides a little bit of energy to get through the training. Alternatively, a protein bar, or a meal an hour before training will make a big difference.

If you are training with food, take a look to see what you are eating. It could be that the type of food is causing the queasiness. It might be that you are training too soon after eating. Or it might simply be that you are not eating enough.


Well there are a few reasons for experiencing nausea during/after exercise, most commonly the following: - Exercising on an empty stomach (may cause low blood sugar levels) - Dehydration - Overexertion - Motion sickness from abdominal exercises

Your situation sounds mostly due to the abdominal exercises you are performing. This is actually not uncommon, but in saying that, it still is not exactly great for this to be occuring on a regular basis. Maybe try and focus on a stationary spot when doing your abdominal exercises, ensuring you have properly hydrated/eaten prior to your workout, and also not overexerting yourself too much - since you haven't exercised frequently for 20years, make sure you don't go out too hard, too early. Take it slowly, hydrate, eat well and good luck!



Dehydration could be just one of many causes.

As part of an article from LIVESTRONG...

"It is vital to remain properly hydrated when running or engaging in any intense physical activity. Staying hydrated will help prevent harmful losses of electrolytes such as sodium. Electrolytes are charged chemicals in your body which function in hydration, nervous activity and acid balance. If you lose too much salt in perspiration, you may develop hyponatremia or a sodium deficiency. Hyponatremia can lead to serious health consequences such as rapid brain swelling, warns MayoClinic.com. If your nausea is accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue and headache, seek prompt medical attention."


Personally I always feel nauseous when I do hard cardio and have "awkwardly" had to run out of the gym twice in the past few years and...well you can probably guess what happened.


First, I am not a doctor nor a professional trainer, so take the following with a sizable grain of salt.

General advice: make sure you hydrate adequately and eat appropriately throughout the day, but avoid drinking and eating immediately prior to your workout; over-hydration right before intense exercise can easily cause nausea.

The exercises you've described performing all involve adopting either a supine or prone posture (i.e., one in which your body is aligned horizontally, parallel to the ground), so I'm wondering if it isn't actually the abrupt transition between standing and lying-down, perhaps exacerbated by the exertion itself, that's provoking the nausea. It might be worth visiting a doctor to determine if what you're experiencing is in fact a symptom of some sort of autonomic dysfunction. The regimen you've described doesn't sound overly rigorous to me, but it's also entirely possible that you're simply over-training and that beginning with a lighter routine and gradually increasing its intensity would allay your discomfort.

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