Ask The Trainer #43 – Bloating Issues


Greetings Chad.

I’ve been reading your articles and they’ve been very informative and useful.

I have a question regarding bloating. I’m 5″9 and 23 years old. And I’ve been training for about 5 years. Recently I’ve been having intermittent problems with bloating, usually by the end of the day (if I don’t work out) I’m fairly bloated and I’m pretty lean so it shows fairly easily.

I’ve heard that it can be due to water retention, electrolyte imbalances, fiber (too much or lack thereof) insulin sensitivity, drinking water with meals, eating too fast and even hormonal issues.

I’ve been dealing with bloating for a long time and sometimes it’s to the point that my lower back hurts. Hopefully you can shed some light.

Thanks in advance.



Hi, Elionel. Thank you very much for the positive feedback on the articles, I sincerely appreciate it! Regarding your question, bloating and digestive problems have become much more prevalent in this day and age. I believe there are a number of possible reasons behind them.

The most obvious reasons are the ones doctors would likely suggest based on your issues. They will tell you to consume more fiber, probably suggest a fiber supplement like Metamucil, and to drink more water. They will also likely suggest you avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, as these things can irritate the nerves of the digestive system, exacerbating GI symptoms.

If you’re already doing these things, the doctor will probably test you for Celiac Disease by performing a tTG-IgA blood test. If your test result is negative, the doctor might then suggest taking a biopsy of your small intestine to rule out any chance Celiac Disease could be the cause.

It’s possible you could go through a gauntlet of tests and try various treatments and medications, only to be stuck with the same lousy symptoms. If it sounds like I’m speaking from experience here, it’s because… I am!

Through my personal research, trial and error, I’ve found there are some additional causes of digestive issues many people rarely consider. So, I’ll share these ideas with you now and hopefully, some will help you too.


Most people consume far more processed foods than natural, unprocessed whole foods. Some of the most unsuspecting processed foods infused with exorbitant amounts of sugar are cereal, breakfast bars, granola bars, juice, bread, cookies, crackers, sports drinks, flavored coffee creamers, microwavable meals, TV dinners, fast food, weight loss shakes, certain protein shakes, and many popular protein bars.

Chad ShawWhat impact does sugar have on your digestive system? Consuming sugar actually feeds the bad, or pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi in your gut, which could actually be even more of a threat than its impact on insulin resistance.

Unfortunately, sugar isn’t always easily identified on food labels. It can be represented by any of the following names: Sucrose, Maltose, Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Galactose, Lactose, High fructose corn syrup, Glucose solids, Cane Juice, Dehydrated cane juice, cane juice solids, Cane juice crystals, Dextrin, Maltodextrin, Dextran, Barley malt, Beet sugar, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Caramel, Buttered syrup.

There’s also… Carob syrup, Brown sugar, Date sugar, Malt syrup, Diastase, Diastatic malt, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Dehydrated fruit juice, Fruit juice crystals, Golden syrup, Turbinado, Sorghum syrup, Refiner’s syrup, Ethyl maltol, Maple syrup, Yellow sugar…just to name a few!

They key here is to strictly limit your intake of foods containing high amounts of sugars.

Whole Grains

Whole grains of today aren’t the same whole grains our grandparents, and most of our parents were raised on. In the 1990s, manufacturers introduced GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) to the marketplace.

The vast majority of whole grains today have been genetically modified to contain significantly more gluten than the pre-1990 whole grains. Our bodies seem to have a limited tolerance to gluten.

Obviously, some people are more sensitive to gluten than others. However, most whole grains today seem to contain more gluten than the average human body can tolerate without causing adverse reactions.

This is why you constantly hear about more and more people being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. This is also the driving force behind the gluten-free craze that has exploded over the past few years.

Most grains (especially refined grains) have been shown to cause systemic inflammation in the body. This inflammation can have a profound effect on our gut. It can cause severe gas, bloating, cramping, constipation and diarrhea.

I know people who were able to eliminate nearly all symptoms of IBS simply by going on a grain-free diet. This is one of the reasons why grain-free diets like Paleo, the Primal Diet, and the Caveman Diet have become so popular in recent years.

Increased Cortisol

As if the attack on the digestive system wasn’t enough, the systemic inflammation caused by most whole grains and gluten also results in elevated cortisol levels. This is extremely significant to anyone trying to reduce their body fat levels and build muscle. As you’ve read about in my previous posts, cortisol destroys testosterone in the body.

Furthermore, research has proven gluten can increase prolactin levels in the body as well. Like cortisol, prolactin can hammer your testosterone levels. I want to make one thing perfectly clear. Although I do support the idea of following a grain-free diet, it does NOT mean I’m in favor of a carb-free diet!

By design, the human body requires carbohydrates for optimal health and performance. When adhering to a grain-free diet, you can still obtain quality carbohydrates in the form of potatoes, yams, pumpkin, beets, carrots, turnips, squash, vegetables, and fresh fruits.

Probiotics and Good Gut Bacteria

These are extremely important for efficient digestion and proper assimilation of nutrients. They help your body produce vitamins, absorb minerals and aid in the elimination of toxins. Research has also shown this good bacteria plays a significant role in immunology, brain, and cardiovascular health, and helps build resistance against age-related diseases.

In particular, probiotic supplementation shows many benefits for the treatment of numerous conditions. These include Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, leaky gut and irritable bowel syndrome – which directly involve the digestive system.

I personally feel everyone on the planet should be taking probiotics, or at least taking measures to increase the good bacteria count in their guts. So many common things like antibiotics, fluoride, chlorine, artificial sweeteners, agricultural chemicals, pesticides, pollution, sugar, refined grains, and processed foods deplete the good bacteria in our guts.

Good Bacteria Sources

The best ways to beef up our army of good bacteria is by ingesting fermented milk products like Kefir, yogurt, blue cheese, and Lassi (an Indian yogurt beverage). Try to avoid of pasteurized versions of these products, as pasteurization will destroy many of the naturally occurring probiotics.

For example, most of the “probiotic” yogurts you find in grocery stores these days are NOT the best choices. Besides being pasteurized, they also typically contain added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, or artificial sweeteners. These can affect your health in a negative way.

If you have a tough time finding these types of fermented milk products, I suggest obtaining a strong probiotic supplement to take daily. Since people respond differently to different probiotics, you may have to try several varieties to find one that works best for you.

Lactobacillus Sporogenes seems to be a strain many people respond well to. Be sure the brand you select is at least 2 billion CFU’s (colony forming units0). It should also be resistant to stomach acids and bile so those good bacteria make it to their destination.

These are some simple and practical things you can try to hopefully relieve your symptoms. If you try these options and still don’t get relief, please go see a local gastroenterologist right away.

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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