They're the bane of every fit guy's existence, but there are ways to reduce the whey-and-bean-induced flatulence.
Courtney Anaya, C.P.T., for Muscle & Fitness 1 / 7
Silent But Deadly
Flatulence: We all do it, but it’s an embarrassing topic to openly talk about, and even more embarassing when it happens mid-workout. We've all been there: desperately trying to hold in a fart until the end of the set, only to discover that one of your silent-but-deadly killers has knocked out your lifting partner and everyone else in a 10-foot radius. Worse still are the bottom-of-the-squat floor-shakers, which you can neither avoid nor blame on anyone else.
What's a guy to do? It's probably the main unfortunate side effect of all those whey protein shakes—but every gym rat knows you need serious protein to fuel your gains. Fortunately, there are ways to shift your diet around so the wrath of whey doesn't strike on squat day. Scroll through the gallery to get the details.
Protein takes a while to break down in your body. That causes a thermic effect, meaning that your body uses more calories to digest and use the calories in protein. Your body also produces nitrogen as a leftover product of protein digestion, which often results in that positive nitrogen balance is you letting one loose.
Besides protein, though, another gas-causing culprit is dietary fiber. If you're eating a big bowl of oatmeal 10 hours before you hit the gym, consider switching up your timing so your system doesn't turn on the gasworks in the middle of your squat set.
As gym bros will tell you, your farts can be more pungent when you’re knocking back whey protein shakes. Here's one way to reduce them: Switch to whey protein isolate, which is more thoroughly filtered than whey protein concentrate and therefore contains much less lactose. If you're lactose intolerant, which is surprisingly common among guys, dairy-based protein powders like whey can produce symptoms like gas and bloating.
Still having trouble with isolate? Try opting for pea or soy protein powder, and mix the powder with non-dairy milk like almond milk.
Added tip: instead of chugging your post-workout shake, drink it slowly. You’ll prevent yourself from ingesting extra air—and less air in equals less air out.
Probiotics are the gut-friendly bacteria that work to keep you healthy. You can take a probiotic supplement or eat yogurt, which is easy for lactose-intolerant people to eat since it contains cultured bacteria. Taking live bacteria can reduce the amount of “bad” bacteria in your gut and replenishes the “good” bacteria. When you’re buying a probiotic supplement, look for one that contains Lactobacillus and Bifobacterium. Probiotics have been seen to help regulate the movement of food throughout the GI tract.
Here's a new nutrition word you need to be aware of: carminative. Carminative foods—like garlic, cinnamon, ginger, peppermint, cumin, and dill—have been shown to relieve excess gas buildup. Ginger in particular can help you banish gas, because it contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols, according to a study published by the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Sprinkle some into food, a shake, or have it as a tea—it might ease your GI tract.
A high protein intake isn't the only diet that will create gas. Carbohydrate-rich foods that are not necessarily breads can trigger you to fart more, including beans (duh), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cheese, cauliflower, gum, and onions. If possible, try to avoid or reduce the amount of these foods you’re eating.
When you’re going hard in the gym, it’s recommend to ingest 1-1.5 grams or protein per pound of your goal body weight. That means if you’re at 180 pounds and you’re looking to pack on the muscle, you should aim for at least 215 grams of protein per day. That’s a hell of a lot of protein if you’re not used to consuming that much. Instead of going HAM with that much protein a day, gradually work yourself up to that 215. Start with 175 grams of protein and each day add 10 to 15 grams more — it will be easier on your stomach, and you’ll be less gassy.