There’s nothing like going for a run, feeling a rush of exhilaration when you finally hit stop on the Garmin and get inside… only to look in the mirror and see that your stomach looks like you gained about 20 pounds in the past hour, making you look like you’re six months pregnant. 

What the…?

And, apparently, I’m not the only one. I’ve done some digging and it looks like there are several causes of bloated belly from running: 

  • Your body responds to exercise as a stressful event… triggering the adrenal gland and releasing cortisol. Cortisol signals to your body to retain water, which can lead to bloating.
  • Insufficient amount of carbohydrates and protein (note, this is rare)
  • Eating too much food while running
  • Not drinking enough water —> causing your water to retain more water than it needs


Most likely, #1 is the cause of it. This can occur in new runners and also people who have taken a bit of time off, so your body forgets that running is a feeling that you like. 

This combined with several other elements, like not eating a healthy diet or skimping on water, can make the bloat look even worse. 


So, what can you do to fix it?

1. Don’t overstress your body by going too hard or too far. 
If you are a new runner, your body doesn’t know how to react to running. It’s wondering what in the world this feeling is, and why you will feel some awesome physical benefits, your body may be stressed initially. Make sure you ramp yourself up as you start running to ease your body into it. 

In addition, if you haven’t run for awhile (either due to injury or a break), don’t go too far when you’re ramping back into it. This will stress your body out too. 


2. Drink enough water!
The experts say you should drink half your body weight in ounces every single day. Some people may need more or less, depending on their body. However, water is essential to runners! Don’t believe me? Check out these 8 reasons why to drink water.


3. Balance your diet. 
I always feel like the more I exercise, the healthier I want (and do) eat. This isn’t made up. Eating better makes you feel better, which helps you enjoy your workouts even more. If you eat junk food —> you’ll feel like junk food, and your body will react appropriately… resulting in belly bloat from running. 


4. Skip the mirror.
After seeing my belly bloat in the mirror, I avoid looking at the mirror for a bit. I know, not really a long-term fix, but my stomach does even out after a bit of time… and it makes me feel better not have to stare at it and wonder why in the world it looks the way it does. 


Belly bloat from running doesn’t indicate any serious issues, but it is annoying. After a great workout, that’s the last thing you expect (and want) to see. However, know that it’s fixable… and it’ll go away! 


Do you ever get bad belly bloat like this? What do you do to solve it? 

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