Why Does Working Out Make You Poop?

You’ve probably heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, there’s another saying that goes, “A good workout makes you poop.”


When you exercise, your body works hard to keep up with the increased demand for energy. This can cause physical stress, which can sometimes lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea or feeling the urge to go to the bathroom immediately after a workout. It is quite common for people who exercise regularly to experience these symptoms, and while they might be annoying or embarrassing, they are perfectly normal and generally not a cause for concern. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why working out can make you need to poop.

How Your Body Prepares for Exercise

Exercise can cause a number of physiological changes in your body, ranging from increased heart rate and respiration to an increased need to pass stool. Knowing how your body prepares for exercise can help you understand why working out can make you have to go to the bathroom. In this article, we’ll explain why exercise can lead to the urge to poop, and how you can prepare for your next workout.

The Role of Stress Hormones

Before any physical activity, your body is gearing up for what’s known as an acute stress response. The hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline are released in the bloodstream when you start to move, helping to increase your heart rate, respiration and blood flow. At the same time, cortisol – a “stress hormone” – is also released from the adrenal glands.

Cortisol acts on muscles throughout the body and has a direct effect on the digestive system: it increases motility (muscle contractions that push food through the digestive tract) and secretion of gastric juices (to help break down food). This change in regular physiology has been linked to an increase in defecation shortly after exercise begins.

In addition, this combination of hormones helps to suppress hunger hormones like ghrelin which means that you’ll feel less hungry while exercising and are more likely to stay energized throughout your workout. This may also contribute to a decrease in hunger later than can lead to fewer bathroom breaks during exercise.

How Your Body Uses Energy

When you start to exercise, your body begins to mobilize energy sources in order to help you perform at your best. To fuel the activity of muscles, your body requires a combination of sugar (glucose), stored fats, and oxygen.

The primary source of energy for any physical activity is glucose which can be found in the blood stream, muscle tissue and liver glycogen stores. During exercise, carbohydrates are broken down which increases blood sugar levels and helps meet activity demands. This significantly increases your body’s need for insulin – a hormone that helps regulate blood glucose levels.

Fats are also used as a source of energy during physical activity. Triglycerides in fat cells are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol molecules to be used by muscles as an additional fuel source. The amount of fat used during exercise varies based on the type of physical activity you’re doing, but generally speaking it is more significant during longer duration exercises or activities that require steady levels of effort over time (e.g., endurance running).

Oxygen is needed for aerobic processes such as respiration and delivery of combustible substrates (sugar and fat) to muscles where they can be turned into energy (ATP). Your VO2 max – or how much oxygen your body can take in per minute – is an important factor when doing any kind of aerobic training because it dictates how much work you can do before becoming exhausted due to insufficient amounts of oxygen reaching working muscle groups.

Exercise and pooping may seem like two unrelated things, but they’re actually linked in interesting ways. Working out can increase the speed of digestion, increasing the amount of time it takes food to move through the digestive system and eventually be passed as a bowel movement. In addition, exercise can also increase blood flow to the intestines, helping to stimulate the urge to defecate. Let’s take a closer look at this connection.

How Exercise Affects Your Digestive System

Physical activity can have a positive impact on your digestive system and its ability to process food. Exercise changes the rate at which food passes through the digestive tract, increasing the speed of movement of materials in the intestines. This helps your brain to receive messages about fullness, allowing you to better regulate what and how much you eat.

Proper energy balance is essential for recovery and muscle growth from physical exercise. Exercise increases blood flow to the intestines, which helps to digest food together with bile acids and enzymes from our digestive tract. Increased circulation also improves absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream, so that it is used where it’s needed most – in our muscles, joints and bones.

Our bodies ad-lib their way through digestion when we exercise by changing their activity level according to conditions inside our GI tract. During high intensity aerobic exercise we can sense uncomfortable feelings due to tension in our abdominal area because of stomach-motility changes i.e., an increase in abdominal wall contraction during exercise leading us naturally towards pooping during or after intense physical workout or exercise sessions. It seems motility signals emitted by “big” intestine are stronger than normal; this is why some people experience frequent bowel movements or ‘runner’s trots’ after running “long” distances – this phenomenon typically happens at / around 12km mark in a marathon run due to an increase in gastric adaptation leading us naturally towards pooping during or after intense physical workout or exercise sessions.

The Role of Intestinal Gas

When we exercise, the body works to increase both oxygen and blood flow to our muscles. This causes your heart rate and breathing rate to increase, which in turn increases the pressure inside your large intestine. As a result, intestinal gas is dispersed throughout your digestive system. This is why we often experience bloating, bloating pain, flatulence or diarrhea when exercising.

Having excess gas buildup in the intestine can also interfere with healthy digestion and cause constipation. That’s one of the reasons why regular exercise encourages better digestion. Exercise helps the body move food and waste along more quickly so it can be more efficiently digested and disposed of as waste.

However, physical exertion itself isn’t necessarily the only factor responsible for increased elimination during exercise — what you eat before working out can have a big impact as well! Eating high-fiber meals or processed snacks before time at the gym may be just as likely to trigger an urge to evacuate (urinate or defecate) as anything else. Therefore, make sure you pay attention to what you eat prior to going for a jog or hitting up your local gym class!

What You Can Do to Avoid Pooping During Exercise

Have you ever experienced the embarrassing moment of having to use the bathroom while working out? Unfortunately, it’s a common side effect of exercising. But don’t worry, there are a few simple steps you can take to help reduce the chance of having to go when you’re out and about. Let’s look at what you can do to avoid pooping during exercise.

Eat a Light Meal Before Working Out

If you find yourself having to go to the bathroom during your workout, it may be worth it to review the amount of food that you’re eating and the timing with which you’re consuming it prior to exercise.

Eating a light meal or snack about 1 to 2 hours before stepping into the gym or going for a jog will help keep your GI system from becoming upset during activity. Foods that are easier on your stomach include bananas, pretzels, oatmeal, toast with peanut butter, and yogurt. In addition, think about how much water you’ve had since the last time you went to the bathroom — drink too much and it may push waste through too quickly during exercise activities.

It might not be immediately possible to zero in on what is causing you need a restroom break during workouts but making small adjustments can go far for avoiding pooping during exercise. Pay close attention when eating prior to your workouts and then go from there with addressing any issues that arise.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is an important step in reducing your chances of pooping during exercise. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise to keep your digestive system running smoothly. Keep an electrolyte-rich sports drink nearby and sip on it throughout your workout. Aim to sweat, but not excessively – this will help you avoid getting overly dehydrated. Additionally, some foods may have a laxative effect if they’re overconsumed during workouts, such as fruits like bananas and apples. Monitor yourself in order to discern what triggers bowel movements for you during physical activity and try to avoid foods that seem to cause problems. Lastly, be aware of the type of hydration you’re consuming; alcohol is a known diuretic that can cause dehydration, leading to constipation, which can in turn lead to bloating or further GI upset when exercising post consumption.

Try Different Types of Exercise

If working out triggers a bowel movement, it’s important to modify your routine in order to avoid any accidents. First and foremost, try different types of exercise. Cycling and walking are two forms of exercise that are easy on the body and often won’t cause an urgent need to go. Swimming is another excellent option; not only is it free of intestinal distress but it also takes the position of gravity out of the equation.

Going for a light jog or doing low-impact aerobics like Zumba can help you get your heart rate up without aggravating your gut. In addition, you could join a gym or look into taking up some strength-training exercises like weight lifting, which boasts many health benefits too.

If all else fails, focus on getting Plenty Of Rest in between workouts – take a day off after tough exercise sessions and allow yourself plenty of time to recover from hard workouts or competitions with active rest days that include gentle yoga stretches or light runs. Finally, try eating smaller meals before exercising as sometimes large meals can cause indigestion and make it harder for your system to handle other tasks like running around outside or lifting weights at the gym!


In conclusion, there are a variety of methodologies and reasons why exercise may result in an increased urge to defecate. It could be caused by dehydration, the type of exercise performed, or due to what has been recently eaten. Regardless, understanding why exercise puts a little pressure on the body’s need to evacuate may help prevent unnecessary embarrassment and make it easier to plan your routine accordingly. Although it is more common with certain types of intense exercise regimens like running and high intensity interval training, it is something that can happen with any physical activity. All in all, understanding why this happens can help you plan around your bowel movements, hydrate properly before exercising, and have fewer surprises when hitting the gym.

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