Why Would Anyone Want to Work Out Until They Puke?

By Julie Beck
Julie Beck
Julie Beck
July 31, 2014 Updated: July 31, 2014

CrossFit is not the only mega-hard workout that’s become popular in recent years. For fitness video series P90X and Insanity, as well as obstacle course races like Tough Mudder – being difficult is a selling point.

Vomit or no vomit, the experience will be unpleasant, but you will be better for it. This is the promise of extreme exercise.

The risk for vomiting from extreme exercise, specifically, comes from working so intensely that the body can’t get enough oxygen to fuel its muscles, leading to a build-up of the waste product lactate.

“When you’re working at a lower intensity, you’re able to produce energy and get rid of the waste,” Anthony Wall, director of professional education at the American Council on Exercise, explains. “As your intensity increases, your ability to get rid of that waste, or reuse it within the body, becomes compromised and that’s what makes you start to feel sick. It’s a buildup of waste products within the body.”

There is some evidence that people are drawn to hard work when life gets overwhelming. A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people prefer products that require them to work hard when they feel low in control.

This article was originally published on www.theatlantic.com. Read the complete here.

*Image of “man” via Shutterstock

Julie Beck