I almost had to tap out of yoga class. Why you ask? Were the stretches too much for me to take? Were the poses too hard to hold? Perhaps an old injury was flaring up?
Nope. It was the yoga farts.
We were stretching and deep breathing through our weekly session when my sister and I heard them. Faint at first. One…then another…from different parts of the room. Sounding off as if they were communicating with each other.
An unfortunate combination of poses had birthed a mini yoga fart epidemic, and it was almost too much for my stunted adolescent humor to take.
Of course, my sister didn’t help matters.
Every time I caught a glimpse of her smirk, through the rest of the class, I nearly lost it. At one point, I had to fake a coughing fit to cover up my oncoming giggles. My eyes were watering.
Somehow I made it through that class and my abs got a great workout from all the heavy-duty laughter suppression.
But I came away from yoga that day with the newfound knowledge that downward dogging can be downright dangerous!
I later learned, during my super serious research for this article, that yoga farting is actually a pretty common thing. Just ask this mom blogger whose harrowing yoga fart tale went viral on social media and received thousands of responses from women who could relate.We all know the many benefits of exercise, and how regular physical activity can do wonders for our health and longevity.
But sometimes working out can lead to some pretty self-conscious moments, especially for those of us who are starting up a new regimen after a long hiatus.
And ladies, yoga farting is just the tip of the iceberg!
Gym Wardrobe Malfunctions – Don’t Let It Happen To You!
Let’s start with one of the most frequent yet preventable sources of embarrassment at the gym: Wardrobe Malfunctions.
See-through leggings, unsupportive sports bras, torn pants, the dreaded wedgie, an unintended flashing…need I go on? We’ve all been there.
Christine from Kentucky told us:
“One time I bought a new pair of shorts and wore them to work out in. Apparently, they were a little big in the legs, so when I was doing my stretches on the floor you could see my panties but to make it even worse, I was on my period and had a pad on. My personal trainer had to bend down and tell me. I was so embarrassed. That was the last time I ever wore shorts to the gym.”
Now that’s a lesson you only learn once.
As we’re moving and grooving through our workouts, our athletic clothing is bound to betray us from time to time.
Even Olympic Athletes suffer from wardrobe malfunctions during competition, with ice skaters, in particular, bearing the brunt of televised mortification through the years.
Here’s a clip that breaks down the Top 10 Olympic wardrobe malfunctions. My question is, how many of them noticed and how many were too far into “The Zone?”
It makes you wonder: If they can’t prevent a wardrobe malfunction, what chance do I stand as a mere mortal?
What To Do?
Strategy is key when picking out your workout wardrobe and there are some important steps you can take to reduce your odds of indecent exposure at the gym.
Here are a few quick tips:
- Don’t cheap out! The clothes you wear to the gym will be put through the wringer so definitely invest in high-quality fabrics and sturdy construction.
- Test your gym clothes in the dressing room. Squat, jump, bend over, run in place, and do a little boogie!
- Buy seamless cotton underwear in the proper size. The key to wedgie prevention is fabric and sizing.
- Buy sports bras with thick straps and full coverage. Go for function over style to keep those tatas firmly in place!
- Check your clothes after doing the laundry. Inspect for any damage or tiny tears that may become larger.
Falling Off The Cardio Machine – Some Interesting Stats
Ever feel like a total klutz when faced with a new piece of equipment at the gym?
Sandy from California told us about the time she met her match on the stair master:
“There was a hot guy next to me and I was trying to look as cute as I could. While glancing over at Mr. Hottie, I missed a step and literally fell down the stairs while the stairs were moving up! It was the most awkward fall you can imagine. I’ve also eaten shit on the treadmill due to an untied shoe.”
Speaking of the treadmill, check out this clip from the Today Show in which co-host Craig Melvin loses it over footage of a woman repeatedly falling off the treadmill and shooting clear across the room. His laughter is contagious.
Here’s another hilarious clip from The Price is Right, in which announcer George Gray has to walk backward on a treadmill while explaining the items in the showcase, including said treadmill. As you can predict, he flies right off, yet he doesn’t miss a beat of the script. Most impressive.
You can find a plethora of treadmill bloopers online, and there is a good reason for this. Embarrassing treadmill fails are very common.
But did you know that treadmills can be downright dangerous as well?
In fact, treadmills caused more than 1 in 3 workout-related ER visits in 2016 (35.6%), followed by the general exercise machines (11%) and the stationary bike (9.8%).
EllipticalReviews.com shares some interesting infographics based on a report conducted by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS).
What To Do?
My best tip to avoid becoming a gym klutz? Use a personal trainer when you’re first starting out so that you learn how to properly utilize the machinery. Most gyms will provide this when you sign up, so be sure to take advantage.
Also, don’t reach down to grab your phone or earbuds if you drop them while on the treadmill – a common way that people end up flying off.
…Take this Taylor Swift ad as a warning and avoid distraction at the gym!
Uncontrollable Sweat – The More Fit You Become, The More It Happens!
They say the key to a good workout is building up a sweat, but excessive sweating isn’t so lovely.
It can cause you to lose your grip on gym equipment, distract your workout, and is a pretty bad look when it’s happening in certain places like the groin or butt crack.
Our own Editor, Ashlee, shared an experience she had with this:
“My boyfriend gifted me some super cute blue Nike workout pants that weren’t high absorbency like most of my others. When I wore them to workout, within 15 minutes I looked like I had peed my pants. Nothing else on me looked wet….except my entire crotch. SO EMBARRASSING!”
Hmmm. At this point, I would (ever so subtly) dump my entire water bottle on my shirt and torso. To spare your dignity, you’ve gotta fight fire with fire. Or in this case, water with water!
Alternately, you can do like pro IFBB athlete Nay Jones and totally own it:
Here’s an interesting fact about excessive sweating:
Overweight people tend to sweat more since fat is an insulator, but people in really great shape sweat more than average as well.
Research shows that as your fitness level increases, your body’s heat-regulating system actually becomes more efficient so that you can then work harder. This means you’ll sweat more overall and you’ll start perspiring sooner into your workout.
…Just something positive to keep in mind the next time you’re sweating like a pig at the gym! (Something else to keep in mind: pigs don’t actually sweat. So that phrase is pretty stupid.)
What To Do?
While excessive sweating can be embarrassing, it’s rarely a cause for medical concern, and there are plenty of tricks you can keep up your sleeve (pun intended) to cut down on embarrassing sweat incidents.
This includes packing prescription-strength antiperspirant in your gym bag, purchasing workout clothes with wicking properties, and taking advantage of some good ‘ol fashioned baking soda between the boobs! (Besides absorbing sweat, it’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Who knew?)
Funky Body Odor – It’s A Glandular Thing
Have you ever been minding your business at the gym when you were hit with a pungent wave of stale BO? Have you ever realized, at that same crowded gym, that you were the offending party? Yep, we’ve all been there!
But why is it that sometimes you’re truly disgusted by your own sweat while other times, it doesn’t smell at all? This has to do with the glands at play.
The eccrine glands are the main glands responsible for producing sweat when you work out. These glands are found all over the body and the sweat they produce is odorless.
The eccrine gland has a super funky cousin though, who lives in the armpit, groin, and pubic area of your body. His name is the apocrine gland, and he’s the one you can thank whenever you catch a whiff of stink at the gym.
The sweat produced by this gland is high in protein, which produces an odor when it’s broken down by bacteria.
If you’re a super nerd like me, then you’ll enjoy this fascinating TED-Ed video that’s all about BO. Science is FUN!
What Affects Your Body Odor And “Stink Level?”
Besides genetics, your BO can be affected by your stress levels, body weight, certain medical conditions or prescriptions, and the foods you eat.
There are some pretty simple solutions that you can utilize to decrease your BO. This includes showering once a day with antibacterial soap, using clinical strength antiperspirant twice a day, using foot powder and insoles in your shoes, or even a change of diet.
And here’s one of those “only in Japan” products: The Tanita ES-100 Body Odor Detector. Now available on Amazon!
Runner’s Trots – Yep, It’s Exactly What You Think It Is!
There are many potentially embarrassing side effects that come along with running as a form of exercise, and marathon running in particular.
As Tim from California told us:
“I was midway through the race when I felt something wet on the front of my shirt. I looked down and saw two bright red, growing spots! My nipples were bleeding through my shirt! I didn’t even realize this was a thing, but I found out the hard way.”
That’s pretty embarrassing. But that’s mere child’s play when you consider what happened to Swedish runner Mikael Ekvall:
As you can clearly see, he didn’t reach the restroom on time. Photographers captured the moment for the world to enjoy and of course, it spread through social media like wildfire.
Oh and also, the country of Sweden gave him the nickname “Bajsmannen.” Loose translation: “Poop Man.”
Gawker followed up with Mikael several years after the incident because, yeah, they had some questions. When asked whether he considered stopping, he coolly replied:
“No, I’d lose time…If you quit once, it’s easy to do it again and again. It becomes a habit.”
Wow. That’s quite the winning attitude. Poop Man, we salute you!
Actually, what happened to Mikael Ekvall that fateful day is a well-known phenomenon amongst long-distance runners, and it’s commonly referred to as “runner’s trots.”
What causes it? Bouncing up and down can jostle your organs and push food through your digestive tract faster.
In addition to this, the blood that normally flows to your intestines is diverted to your leg muscles, which can lead to nausea and that sudden “need to go.”
Plus, high-endurance exercise like running releases the hormone cortisol, which can further add to the problem.
So how common is it? A study found that 62% of runners had to stop to have a bowel movement during training, while 12% had to use the restroom during a race. (Those porta-potties are there for more than just the spectators!)
What To Do?
Of course, not all of us can handle pooping ourselves during a half marathon with such grace. If running is your chosen form of exercise, here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic to help you avoid the dreaded trots.
…Oh, Dear God, NO! (Thank you, Snopes, for debunking this viral shot!)
Bladder Leakage While Exercising – It’s Actually Pretty Common
Doctors call it stress urinary incontinence.
That’s a fancy phrase for a little uncontrollable tinkle. Many of us who’ve been pregnant have experienced this phenomenon, and unfortunately, it can stick around long after your baby is born.
It can also be particularly problematic during workout sessions.
Ladies, if incontinence has happened to you during your workout, take solace in the fact that even the super buff, badass babes of CrossFit have gone through it during training.
In fact, CrossFit athlete Rory McKernan confronted female athletes at the Central East Regional competition and got them to fess up on camera:
So exactly how common is it?
A study performed by Obstetrics and Gynecology found that over a third of women between 18 and 60 years of age experienced urinary leakage on at least a monthly basis.
Furthermore, one in seven women experienced leakage during exercise and/or physical activity, and one in eight perceived it to be at least a moderate barrier to exercise.
But here’s the crazy stat: Fewer than half of women who experience incontinence report seeking medical care due to the sensitive nature of the topic!
What To Do?
If stress urinary incontinence is a regular occurrence during your workout, be sure to visit your doctor so you can discuss causes and treatment options.
Don’t suffer or avoid exercise and activities just because you’re embarrassed.
Queefing (aka Varting) – Another Side Effect Of Yoga
Have you ever queefed during yoga class? Apparently, it happens quite a lot.
In case you’re not already familiar with it, queefing occurs when air gets trapped in the vagina and is expelled, making a fart noise.
Ashlee, our Editor, learned the hard way that queefing can also occur during gymnastics:
“During a gymnastics routine after totally nailing an extended handstand, I queefed loudly as I made my landing. Everyone in the class burst out with laughter thinking I had farted. I don’t know why I felt so much more mortified that they thought it was a fart, but I did, and there was no convincing them otherwise. More than 20 years later, I’m still thinking about it!”
Interestingly, some women are able to teach themselves how to control the fine muscles of their nether regions and actually queef on command. I had a friend in college who could do this, altering the tone and pitch, as well as queefing along to popular songs (and she took requests).
Needless to say, her legend spread far and wide.
She declined to comment for this article, but if you’re curious to hear this impressive skill in action, here’s a clip from the Howard Stern Show, in which a woman whom they’ve dubbed the “Queefing Queen” defends her title with an astonishing 93 queefs in 30 seconds.
One way to prevent queefing and to strengthen the pelvic floor is to perform kegel exercises. Additionally, you can always opt-out of inversion exercises during yoga class if queefing is an issue or concern.
Or, you can just own it when it happens, and realize that the other ladies in your class have most likely done it a time or two themselves.
The Mythical “Coregasm” – Is It Real?
The last exercise side effect that we’ll cover is something that can be embarrassing, but extremely pleasurable at the same time… Ever heard of a “coregasm?” Neither had I until recently, but it seems like a pretty great problem to have.
A coregasm, or exercise-induced orgasm (EIO), is the act of experiencing an orgasm or sexual pleasure while exercising. It happens primarily during ab exercises but is also reported to occur when climbing poles or ropes, biking/spinning, and weight lifting.
Senior Health Editor Patia Braithwaite wrote about her coregasm experience in a recent Vice article. She recalled how it snuck up on her during an exercise known as The Captain’s Chair:
“I didn’t immediately understand that I was having an orgasm. One minute I was struggling through the leg lifts, and the next my ab muscles gave out and I was having a legitimate vaginal orgasm. It wasn’t a small one either – I had to hop down from the machine, cross my legs, bow my head, and bite my lip to contain myself.”
Some Stimulating New Evidence…
Magazines have reported anecdotal evidence of the coregasm for years, but a 2012 Indiana University study finally confirmed it and provided some interesting stats.
Researchers couldn’t say exactly how common coregasms are, but they noted that it only took them five weeks to recruit 370 survey participants, which suggests that a lot of us ladies are having them!
The study noted that about 40% of women who had experienced exercise-induced orgasm and exercise-induced sexual pleasure had done so on more than ten occasions.
Further, most of these women had reported feelings of self-consciousness while exercising in public, and 20% of them stated that they could not control the experience. Yikes!
What To Do?
If you’ve been having coregasms at the gym and wish to avoid the experience, it’s mainly a matter of learning how to recognize your body’s signals and knowing when to cool down or take a break.
However, if you haven’t been having coregasms and want to get on board, here is a clip that claims to have found the exercise sequence to achieve it. But does it really work? You might want to try this at home first!
Recently, there was a gym-goer who had a particularly embarrassing day and left a post about it on Reddit.
To everyone’s shock and delight, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a frequent Redditor (who knew?!), chimed in with his thoughts.
The message from Arnold:
“You knew it would be hard, and it would be uncomfortable, and it might be awkward – and you did it anyway. That’s courage.…I’m rooting for you, too. You took the first step and you fell, but at least you fell in the right direction, so get back up and take the next step. Keep moving forward.” (Full quote here)
As we’ve learned throughout this article, working out in public or at the gym can leave us vulnerable to an interesting variety of embarrassing moments.
As we push ourselves to achieve greater fitness levels, our bodies are bound to betray us from time to time. After all, we’re only human!
However, it’s important that we maintain our sense of humor, press through, and continue bravely on our journey to optimal fitness.
And Remember: these things happen to us all.
…See you at the gym, ladies. Don’t mind my yoga toots!