Are you confused because you have so much stomach bloating after exercise?

I cannot tell you how common this truly is. Normal? No. Common? Absolutely.

Since my personal days with an insane bloated stomach, I have witnessed a lot of weight loss.

I’m not telling you this to make you more frustrated with your bloated belly, but instead so that you will know without a doubt that when your digestive issues improve you, too, can heal!

6 Common Reasons for Stomach Bloat After Exercise

6 reasons for stomach bloat after exercise #bloating #bloated

That distended stomach you are experiencing can be due to many different things. But here are the 6 most common reasons:

1. Too much water.

Learn to drink lots of water long before and after workouts, consuming just a little water during.

2. Artificial sweeteners.

It’s not just sugary foods and drinks that might make you unexpectedly bloat post-workout, but also all those foods filled with artificial sweeteners.

Post-workout bloating oftentimes is a result of these alternative sweeteners because they are “calorie-free” (encouraging us to consume more) yet hard for the digestive tract to break down.

3. Large meal before workout.

If you had a large pre-workout meal too close to the workout session, then your digestive system did not have time to properly go through the digestive process and break food down.

This is literally GI distress 101 🙂

4. Stress levels.

Honestly? I think this is the most common reason for stomach bloating after exercise.

Here’s why: you know that hard run you just finished or high-intensity exercise session you completed? How about the workout that left you profusely sweating with heavy breathing?

Well guess what? While you thought it was reducing your work stress levels, it was in fact also increasing other stress levels, leaving your body still in a stressful state.

5. Too much “nutrition.”

Hang in here with me for a second because this one is hard to imagine as one of the possible causes.

After all, you thought that you were making good choices pre-workout by way of healthy food like leafy greens, high-fiber foods and good levels of healthy fats.

But the truth is that many times it is not a good idea to consume all that nutrition just before your workout.

One massive benefit of getting enough fiber is that it takes awhile to break down thereby making us less hungry. But we don’t want it to take a long time just before the workout because then our body prioritizes digestion vs. the workout.

6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

If you already have a form of IBS, then a high level of physical activity can jumble digestion.

Stomach Bloating After Exercise {Ways to Get Rid of Bloat}

Click HERE to save this post for later.

Stomach Bloating After Exercise #bloating

So that’s all great, right?

It’s crystal clear as to why you may be experiencing bloat after exercise.

But then, what should you do?

Here’s the deal, you might think that this article is easy for me to write because I don’t workout. But, in fact, that is incorrect. Creating a new fitness routine monthly while setting workout goals constantly was always a passion.

However, I too, had to get really honest with myself.

Beast Mode vs a New Routine

In the beginning of my healing journey it was always, “intense exercise” no matter what.

Until one day a long time ago, this scenario played out:

I wasn’t tired, but I was sore from the previous day’s workout session. There was no reason for me to do a hard workout immediately again. I thought, “My goals are not to achieve beast mode status. My goals are to heal…..relationships, body, mind and soul.” So that day, I took myself on a walk, all by myself. And it was beautiful. It was relaxing, stress, and pain free. And when it was done, I had almost walked 4,000 steps. It was right at the end of the walk when I realized that there were two ways to get rid of belly bloat due to exercise.

1. Get into beast mode, workout like a madwoman and go on another “healthy diet.”

After all, this is what mainstream media, magazines, and many professionals will tell you to do.

And you, like my former self, will believe it. It makes sense. You see belly bloat in the mirror, and you believe it’s fat.

You believe fat is lost with insane workouts and crazy diets. So you get yourself to the gym, and go on another diet.

You know you’re running yourself into the ground, but you believe, “no pain, no gain,” and you’ll do anything just to have that bloat go away. 

You continue to feed into this vicious cycle for days, then weeks, months then years. (For the record, I know this because I used to make myself run when I felt bloated or flared. You know, because I wanted to “get rid of the fat.” That was until I enjoyed 101 days of no cardio, which began the day I was supposed to run a half marathon.)

2. Stop doing the former, what you’ve always done, and start being kinder to yourself.

You sit back and finally say to yourself,

The same input never resulted in a different output.

Enough is enough. Take initiative to make a change that requires you to be kinder to self.

Seek and find the best possible doctor you can, one who will listen to you and order the tests you need.

Figure out your root cause for bloating (because let’s be honest, under-exercising is not it).

Begin healing that root cause, no matter what it takes.

Rest and relax.

Maybe most importantly, you figure out how to stress less.

Listen to your body because deep down you know your mind (with the former) has lead you astray.

Our bodies were not meant to be under constant stress. I have learned that stress manifests in hundreds of ways. We can be stressed even when we are certain we’re not (ex. “I’m going to go for a 7 mile run to reduce stress.” <– If you have IBS/IBD and/or other autoimmune conditions this is likely a part of the problem.) 

5 Other Ways I Got Rid of Belly Bloat

Need more? Here you go.

1. Happy

Here’s the thing about healing the gut that few doctors would tell you: the whole person must heal in order for the gut to function optimally.

Happy for me has included things like: reading the Bible more, writing, working out less, working out on my terms, reading, re-focusing my business.

What I found was that the busier I was doing the things I loved, the less time I had to worry about trivial things or get caught up with wanting foods that would not behoove my healing.

2. Less Working Out.

See above.

Still need more to believe this one?

A ton of training has only ever done one thing for me: flare after flare after flare. I have cut the amount of time I spend working out in half (or less).

Some weeks I workout 5 times, but usually I’m lucky to get in 3 – 4 workouts. This has been a blessing in disguise and critical for even more gut microbiome healing.

You can get in regular exercise without having the effect of increased cortisol levels.

p.s. HERE is what I really think about workouts and gut healing.

3. Food

Yes, of course there is a food component to stomach bloat and GI tract discomfort.

The truth is that I don’t eat as much. Now before you get all up in arms about this one, hear me out. It’s not that I don’t get enough calories. C’mon, I’m a Gutsy queen of Coconut oil, nut butters, full-fat coconut milk, meat and gelatinous bone broths.

But what I’ve learned over the past several years is that my system simply can’t handle mounds-and-mounds of food at one sitting or in one day. In fact, yours likely can’t either.

I practice both intermittent fasting plus meal spacing and I know exactly the quantity of food I can handle at any given moment.

When I stretch those limits, I feel it.

Also remember that if you have something like SIBO (which I did; small intestinal bacterial overgrowth — a small intestine condition), the food type and quantity you eat will matter in determining bloat state.

4. Good eats, healing treats.

I always have something on hand for when cravings hit. I used to prescribe to the theory that if we “rid ourselves of sugar,” we would never crave it again. False. I rarely crave sugar and starchy carbs anymore, and at the same time, I do still crave them.

My cravings typically accompany the female cycle, and instead of resisting, I gladly listen to what my body is telling me. I enjoy every last (unprocessed) bite of the treats I make.

If you pay attention to food intolerances and work with you medical condition vs. against it, you’ll be surprised by how you can have your cake and eat it, too.

5. Bitters

Yes, digestive bitters for bloat – 100%. Always, no matter what, if I’m having a big meal or massive fiber intake, I’ll take my digestive bitters.

Digest Plus

Digest Plus from “A Gutsy Girl’s” supplement line. Use code GUTHEALING10 at checkout to save 10% off your entire order.

6 Ways to Apply the Above and Reduce Stomach Bloating in Your Own Life

Ready to apply this all to your own life?

1. Are you happy?

Are you really happy?

Don’t just answer this question with an automatic, “But of course, I’m happy.”

Dig deep. If you’re not fully happy, you’re maybe not able to truly heal.

The following questions (HERE) might help get you started.

2. Workouts.

Ask yourself:

  1. What do my workouts look like? For some, your healing is being halted because you are turnin’-n-burnin’ the candle at both ends with how active you are. You think that if you could just “lose a few pounds” or “get more buff,” that your gut problems will magically disappear.
  2. Is there a way to consider a new type of workout?
  3. Am I seeing anything in my journal for workouts and bloat patterns?

3. Food.

Are you stuffing yourself with huge salads and a ton of vegetables in order to “fill up” so as to consume less? 

Remember, those New Year’s Resolutions might have left you bloated and miserable.

4. Deprivation.

Don’t deprive yourself, and don’t believe the lie that by doing a 21-day juice cleanse you’ll rid yourself of cravings forever.

You won’t. You shouldn’t want to, either. If your body is craving something, eat.

Stop battling those days when your body is clearly telling you something. Seriously, just make the Poppyseed Cake!

Know your triggers and work with vs. against them.

5. Get the bitters {+ The Gutsy Bundle}

I created The Gutsy Bundle (which of course includes Digest Plus, the bitters) just for you. Honestly.

You will not be disappointed.

And by the way, since you’re reading this and committed, here’s something I’m offering….

20% off The Gutsy Bundle for an entire year! You can have The Gutsy Bundle shipped to you automatically each month throughout the year and you’ll save 20%.

Click HERE to get started and then:

  1. Add to cart the “Subscribe and Save”
  2. Click “Checkout”
  3. Use discount code “GUTSYBUNDLE20”
A Gutsy Girl supplement bundle #supplement

Consistency and Commitment; the Easiest Ways to See Bloat Reduction Results

If you’re still making excuses and doing things daily that you know are not helping, then don’t expect to heal.

If you are a weekday-only healer, don’t expect to heal.

Or if you have to “wait until tomorrow” or “start Monday” to begin healing your gut, you’re probably not really ready to heal it. You can’t half-a@# healing. I know that for certain.

The First Three what you get #detox

Stop where you are right now.

Re-read these ways to get rid of belly bloat. Where do you fit today? Be honest. Maybe a change needs to happen. (Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes.)

Believe that you are worth more than another intense workout and a diet that leaves you feeling empty (And guess what? Gut Healing is Not a Diet).

Onwards to Gut Healing

I’ve continued to heal in a huge way because I understand (and have lived through) to full healing. This is a rarity from those who preach digestive health. I promise you that.

Oh, and p.s. You are not fat. Fat and bloat are not the same things, but even if they were, perhaps part of the problem is that you have consistently told yourself, “Shame on you – you’re fat.” And that vicious cycle is damaging and stressful.

Two Ways to Get Rid of Belly Bloat #bellybloat #guthealth #healthyliving

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

  1. Why You Might be Bloated and Constipated
  2. Start Here
  3. 15 Ways to Deal with Constipation


Similar Posts


  1. very interesting!! so glad you’re feeling great!! just being pregnant, i’m not able to eat as much at one time anymore either or i get a massive stomachache, so i’ve been doing a better job of eating smaller meals throughout the day to prevent this!

  2. Sarah, you are the gutsy hero. Keep doing what you’re doing, preaching the truth, and inspiring others (like me) every day. You are an inspiration of what loving your self and your body and really living healthfully trully is. Thank you!

  3. Awesome; so similar for me. I stopped working out and started doing all these things and I’m feeling SO much better. I’m so happy for you!
    Hugs from NYC!

    1. Michelle – I can’t tell you just HOW critical that is. I’ve been thinking of doing a series on it all, since people ask me all the time. 🙂

  4. less is more with healing. and i am glad it has made you MORE happy. I can relate and I can thank you for sharing your heart and support through this too. Such a blessing!

  5. Hi Sarah – I love your site, it has really helped me in my healing process. I was just wondering if you have done the posting for this yet? If so, can you tell me where I can find it – it so applies to me. Thanks!

    6 Ways to Apply this to Your Own Life

    4.Food. Are you stuffing yourself with huge salads and a ton of vegetables in order to “fill up” so as to consume less? This could be a huge problem for you. (Post coming on this next week.)

Comments are closed.