Sloshy Stomach During Running. What Causes It And How To Prevent It.

Why Is Your Stomach Is Making Weird Noises During Exercise?

EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman discusses the likely culprits and how you can prevent it as a runner, cyclists, or other endurance athletes.

What Causes A Sloshy And Gurgling Stomach During Exercise In Runners, Cyclists, OCR, And Other Endurance Athletes?

Good morning, family of fast. Matt Mosman, the Chief Endurance Officer over at EndurElite.

Today, we're going to be talking about sloshy stomach during running, what causes it, and how to prevent it.

Now, a lot of people don't know that sloshy stomach during running is a very serious medical condition. Because if you have it, and you're running with somebody, it gets really annoying to the point that your training partner or running buddy is going to want to punch you right in the gob.

And then you'll lose teeth, have a bloody nose, all that terrible, terrible stuff. But all kidding aside, a sloshy gut is pretty annoying. 

What Is A Sloshy Gut?

It's kind of that squirrely, swishy, gurgling sound you get in your stomach, and it can cause cramping, and it can cause GI distress.

It can cause a whole lot of other problems that can really derail a good training session or race.

Now, there are two main culprits outside of like serious medical conditions that lead to that sloshy gut.

  • Food
  • Water

So let's cover these both briefly and then tell you how to prevent this from happening.

How Food Can Cause A Sloshy Stomach

So, from a food perspective, sloshy gut is usually caused by one of two things:

  • Eating way too much food right before training, or
  • Even if you're eating a long time before training, eating basically not the right foods. 

So let's go back to the timing.

If you're eating before endurance exercise, ideally you want to have a larger meal about three to four hours before you start training.

This will allow for proper digestion and absorption of the nutrients, and not have a lot of stuff sitting in your stomach when you start the training session.

Now, most importantly here too, or not most importantly but along the same lines, that meal before you go out for training should be mostly composed of carbohydrates, a little bit of protein, and a little bit of fat.

But mostly carbohydrates because the fat and protein basically takes more to break down. So even if you eat three to four hours beforehand and you eat like a really high-protein meal or a high-fat meal, that can slow down digestion, and you go out running and it's still kind of sitting there in your stomach. 

And when that happens and you start exercising, more blood is shunted away from the stomach to working muscles, so that blood isn't available to help with digestion.

And voila, you have the sloshy stomach or about five miles and you want to poop your pants.

So, ideally, again, what you want to do with your food before exercise to prevent the sloshy gut, is just eat a meal that's mostly high in carbohydrates three to four hours before training, and you should be good to go.

Avoid high-fat and high-protein. Now, if you need a little bit of something before, you know, right before your training session, again, stick with quick-digesting carbohydrates. Just a little bit of them, don't go overboard. So, that is the food part. 

How Fluid Can Cause A Sloshy Stomach

Now, with hydration, this gets a little bit tricky because you've probably heard, you know, all along that, you know, the more water you can drink the better.

And this simply isn't true.

For endurance exercise, the way you want to do it beforehand is about two hours beforehand, before you go out of the door for a training session or a race, you want to drink about 16 ounces of water, or a sports drink, or something like that.

And that will leave you in a fully hydrated state when you start your training session, without being so waterlogged when you start, where, again, you get the sloshy gut.

Now, if you get that part right but then you just, like, chug water like the devil during your training session, you might run into the same problem again. 

The body can only really absorb about 50 milliliters of water per minute during endurance exercise or running.

So for your goal during, depending on the weather, I would say shoot for 16 to 24 ounces of water or sports drink when you're racing and training.

Again, so you don't have this bolus amount of water or sports drink sitting in your gut, just waiting to cause problems. So just keep it in check.

You know, keep it in check according to the weather, to the humidity, to the intensity and the duration of the race. But I would say, typically, you know, that 16 to 24 ounces of fluid per hour is a pretty safe zone to be in to avoid the sloshy gut. 

Sports Drinks And Sloshy Stomach

Now, on the other hand, too, you want to choose a sports drink, like, say, for example, SustainElite that has the correct carbohydrate concentration.

You want it to be about 5% to 8% carbohydrate.

You don't want to stick stuff with like a highly sweetened sports drink. Gatorade, sugar water crap. That'll cause, basically, the carbohydrate to sit in your gut. It's gonna get sloshy again and not digest and absorb very good. 

So, that is all I have for today on sloshy gut, my endurance friends. If you have a buddy that experiences sloshy gut, please share this video with them.

If you want other videos like this on endurance training, nutrition, and supplementation, and whatever the hell else I feel like talking about, subscribe to the EndurElite YouTube channel, or head on over to the EndurElite blog at

Get social with us on Facebook, and Instaslam. And until next time, my endurance friends, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and stay informed.


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