Here are the Dude Products Research Institute* we’re always asking the tough questions, finding the real answers so you don’t have to.
This week we’re addressing a bizarrely common phenomenon — having an accident at the gym. Whether it’s a fart, shart, or full on evacuation, there are a lot of fitness freaks who have had an incident while working out, or are terrified of it happening mid-squat.
In this post we’ll explain why this is and what you can do about it, so you never have to cancel your gym membership due to poop shame.
There are two fitness populations that are primarily affected by the gym pooping phenomen — long-distance runners and weightlifters.
Marathoners even have a name for it: runner’s trots. It’s so widespread that a survey of ultra-marathoners found that 96% of finishers experienced some form of runner’s trots.
Sweden’s Mikael Ekvall had unfortunate, and very public, runner’s trot incident in 2008 that was captured for the world to see.
Same goes for Paula Radcliffe, who had to run behind a barrier and drop a deuce before finishing the 2005 World Championship marathon. Oh yeah, she won it like a total boss with a 2:17:42 time.
Runner’s trots are a thing for two reasons:
Though it sounds like a theory a 10-year-old would come up with, the jostling of your intestines while you’re running actually contributes to the feeling that you have to poop while you’re on a run.
While you’re running, your body is diverting so much blood to your muscles that it makes it hard for your GI tract do the work of absorbing what’s inside it. Add in a little dehydration and your intestines start to panic.
Runner’s trots can hit overzealous beginners especially hard, because their body isn’t used to pounding the pavement for long periods of time. The solution? Increase the intensity and distance gradually so you don’t send your body into poop shock every time you hit the road.
For runners looking to avoid "the trots" during a run, here’s are 5 things to do:
Always go #2 in the morning before a run.
Watch your caffeine intake pre-run.
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Then hydrate some more.
Don’t eat for one to two hours before running.
Gradually increase your distance training, big jumps can cause big distress.
Weightlifters have a slightly different version of the same problem. The Oklahoma Foundation for Digestive Research found in a 2000 study that 72 percent of conditioned athletes have suffered from a case of the runs while performing.
For lifters, a squirt is most likely to happen during heavy squats or deadlifts. Given the effort involved in a heavy set, and the positions the movements put your body in, it’s fairly obvious how this could be a problem. Why do you think the Squatty Potty works so well?
For the gym rats out there, here are a couple of tips for not splashing the gym floor with dookie:
Always clear your pipes before leg day—no excuses.
Never trust a fart.
Avoid eating high fiber foods before lifting.
Hydrate before and during your workout with cold water (warm water will make you want to go).
When you’re filling out your workout wardrobe, stick to dark color shorts...just in case.
The last thing you should be worrying about when you're going for a max squat or at mile 20 is shitting yourself. So take heed of the wisdom above so you can clear your mind of any poop-related drama. To ease your mind even more, pack some DUDE Wipes in your gym bag so that even if you have a leak you can patch it up on the spot.
*Not Really A Thing