In fitness culture, puking in the midst of working out is often perceived as a badge of honor. Phrases like, “it’s weakness leaving the body” perpetuate the ideology that you’re only training hard when you are driven to the point of vomiting. This ideology can make clients work with a lack of awareness about their own physical abilities in an effort to ‘feel’ like they are working hard enough to receive the benefits of their training.
However, that nauseous feeling is neither a sign of increasing strength nor is it an accurate indicator of how much effort is being put out. As a coach, your role is to minimize client risk while pushing your client within their abilities. If a client reaches the point of nausea they might not be working within their abilities and it is important to stop and reassess the program.
(NOTE: Mastering the art of programming for all three energy systems is an essential tool for fitness coaches. The industry’s leading educator, James FitzGerald, has developed a course on just that: Programming: AirBike. Sign up today and take your coaching career to the next level.)
In the realm of functional fitness, the most often misused piece of equipment is the AirBike. Stories of clients puking after intense sprints on the AirBike is only a google search away. Why is this commonplace with this particular piece of equipment? In part, both the client and the coach are to blame. The client may be unused to working with the AriBike and the coach may be unfamiliar with how the AirBike impacts their client’s central nervous system and various energy systems.
For starters, the AirBike is easy to use. The contraction is simple and clients don’t need to really be ‘taught’ how to use the bike. This allows for clients with a lack of training experience or prior volume to easily reach a level of intensity their central nervous system is unprepared for. The ease of use means that clients can train above their ability quite easily and without any training or discipline in using the machine. It’s for this reason, that we advise many coaches to caution their clients when using the AirBike. It’s best to teach the client how to use it on a more consistent basis first before having them work on interval sessions that will greatly tax their central nervous system. Clients should be gradually introduced to the AirBike as with any other piece of equipment.
Another reason why clients may feel nauseous on the AirBike could be due to their lifestyle choices. Lifestyle choices can have a negative effect on the nervous system’s ability to perform work I.e. a training session on the AirBike.
Lifestyle Choices to consider:
Helping your client’s perform better on the AirBike could be as simple as improving their nutrition or increasing their water consumption
Still, the fault could lie with how the AirBike training session is programmed. Improper programming could lead to targeting an energy system domain you didn’t mean to train or prescribing an inappropriate amount of rest or effort.
If your client does start to feel nauseous either have them slow down or stop their training altogether to give their central nervous system the time and space to recover. If their lifestyle is aligned to support the AirBike sprint, it could be that they are simply not strong enough yet to handle the placement of the work in their training, they may not be able to do the work and recover from it.
Though the fault may lie with the client, a professional fitness coach recognizes that their program design and application of the AirBike may have had a negative impact on the client’s training program. To combat this, you will need to utilize the best education available to effectively program for your clients. With the goal of supporting the coaching profession, we created Programming: AirBike, a digital course taught by James FitzGerald to help you master Energy System Training for the AirBike.