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Athletic woman running at the gym

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I have always worked out, but I have to be honest in saying that I wasn’t sincerely serious about it until last year. After years of working out and then eating God knows what after the fact, I started taking my eating habits seriously and making fitness a priority.

Nowadays, I work out for about an hour at the least, four to five times a week in an attempt to build muscle (I’m going for Angela Bassett arms with old-school Janet Jackson abs and Serena Williams’s butt). I do a mix of cardio (either a class, Stairmaster or running) and strength training, and usually feel pretty good when my workout is complete. You know, accomplished and all that jazz.

But then that urge hits. There I am, minding my business, waiting for the train, and then I get that feeling. It’s a feeling similar to the one I get when I eat something I know I have no business consuming, and then I have to prepare for my body to reject it. (Like the time I did the Daniel Fast and tried to eat Chinese food right after I finished 21 days of clean eating. Bad idea.)

I scurry home, increasing my pace during my 15-minute walk from the train to my apartment, and the minute I open the door, it’s like my bowels know I’m near the bathroom. I literally have to throw my bag and coat to the ground and run to the toilet, where I finally sit and get a ridiculous amount of satisfaction. Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty! I’m free at last.

I initially assumed that I had been eating poorly, or that my stomach had somehow become more sensitive than normal. But then I would enter the locker room and notice that folks were dumping the same loads in the gym that I was holding onto for my bathroom at home. (If you were wondering how I knew exactly, the smell was a dead giveaway.) And then I also noticed threads online with people asking, “Why do I have to poop after I workout?” and “Why do I have such huge bowel movements after exercising?” and “Is it normal to poop a lot more?”

So what is going on? Well, it seems that regular exercise equates to regular pooping. As Dr. Sophie Balzora told Buzzfeed, your bowels are moving around just as much as you are during exercise. This is especially true for serious runners, who complain of “runner’s trot.” The discomfort you feel comes from “pounding on the pavement and that mechanical disturbance, the jostling of the intestines. It seems obvious when you compare it to, say, cyclists, who are seated the whole time.”

She also noted that you may also have to poop due to the lack of blood flowing to your intestines during exercise, and dehydration.

And on a side note, if you’re trying to avoid eating crap, opting for foods like peanuts, raisins, fresh fruits, yogurt and more can make your bowels move a lot more.

But all in all, it’s been proven that more workouts equate to more poop.

A few years ago, Swedish scientists did a study comparing the gastrointestinal activity of a group of athletes during a week of heavy training and a week of rest. During the heavy training week, subjects had more bowel movements and not just that, but looser stools.

I’m one who appreciates a good trip to the toilet to do No. 2, especially when I’m in the comfort of my own home, still, the increase in toilet trips did alarm me at one point. But no worries if you’re feeling a little distressed over gastrointestinal distress. A daily poop does the body good–unless it’s a stool with blood, bad cramping, increasing weight loss, and really strong diarrhea. In that case, you definitely have a bigger problem than post-exercise pooping.

Can you relate to the need to go, and badly, after a good workout?

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