As some of you start to get into the higher levels of training on the treadmill, and you may have experienced the “feeling sick to my stomach” phenomenon.

I thought it might be a good idea to go over a few training tips on how to avoid vomiting while training on the treadmill.

It is important to understand that ANY high intensity interval training (HIIT) will produce this type of discomfort. High intensity interval training is defined as short (30 sec or less) maximal bursts of exercise, done repeatedly with short-medium intervals of rest in between. Generally, most HIIT workouts have between 8-15 intervals of intense exercise. This type of workout is one of the training methods athletes use to build quickness and speed, and it is also used to build ANAEROBIC endurance. Anaerobic endurance is defined as the ability to sustain short, high intensity exercise with success. Think of it as the opposite of marathon running which requires a high AEROBIC endurance. Obviously, hockey is a predominantly anaerobic sport, quick short bursts of output followed by rest intervals. So HIIT workouts are crucial for hockey players, and here are some tips on how to avoid feeling sick:

  • Do not eat a large meal within 2-3 hours of your training session. If you really need to eat something after school, consume a light, small meal that is easy to digest.
  • What foods are easy to digest? Clear juices (apple, cranberry, grape); power bars; power drinks; toast; saltine crackers; jello.
  • What foods should I avoid before I do a treadmill session? ALL FAST FOOD (high in fat, sugar, and salt); dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, etc.); baked goods (cookies, cakes, pies).
  • If you really like drinking water or power drinks during the workout, take small sips, don’t guzzle your beverage. This is not a good time to make your body go into digestion mode.
  • If you are the only person on the treadmill, or even with one other person, make sure to rest between your intervals. Letting your heart rate come back down seems to have a positive effect on keeping you less nauseous. Especially at the beginning of the workout when it seems “easy!” If you don’t rest you will throw up!
  • Athletes who have good nutritional habits will have a much easier time in general. What does this mean? This means you have to make a HABIT of eating lots of vegetables, fruits, fish, and nuts. STOP EATING SO MANY CARBS!!!! Cut back on the bread, cereal, rice, crackers, chips, pretzels, etc. And NEVER, NEVER pollute your body with fast food!
  • For you adults and older players, consuming alcohol, even the night before, will most likely produce undesireable effect while training

And lastly, I do not think it is funny when my athletes get sick. I know how awful it feels, it ruins the workout for the player, and makes them dread coming back. This is why I do not “celebrate” the act of vomiting the way some gyms and trainers do by putting the athlete’s name up on a board, or on “the bucket.” So get yourselves on some good eating habits, and let’s get down to some good, hard, productive training!

– Coach Carrie Keil

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