The Grossest Thing That Has Ever Happened to Me at the Gym [Badly Illustrated]

by Charlotte on October 18, 2011 · 59 comments

No Gym Buddies, no classes, no Experiments (we do NROLFW on M, W, F) – this morning at the gym I was left to my own devices. This happens to me so rarely that when it does I get a little giddy. What would I do if I could workout any way I wanted to? First I did Tabatas, which I hate but do because they’re so darn good for me (lie: it was because I thought Gym Buddy Allison might yet show up and I didn’t want to look like I was slacking). Then I ran a few miles because it felt so fun (lie: “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” was on and I had to see if she really did pop the kid out in a cornfield).

But once I realized I really was solo, I went for my all-time fave workout: yoga. The peace! The serenity! The incredible shoulder soreness from too many chaturanga push-ups! And then it happened. The absolute grossest thing I have ever done in the gym. And the worst part was there wasn’t anyone to laugh about it with afterwards so I have taken the liberty of recreating my Most Disgusting Moment for you – with very bad illustrations.

After I did some Vinyasa sequences, fell out of a few balance poses and spent 5 minutes asking my hips if they were angry as I sat in King Pigeon, I got to my favorite part: inversions! Yay headstands! I kicked up and went to my happy place. (Notice how I’m keepin’ it real with all the germies on the gym floor? And also my awesome purple gym bag complete with Brita filtered water bottle? I want you to feel like you’re really in this moment – trust me, you’ll be glad.)

See, I’m so blissed out I don’t even care that I’ve apparently dislocated both shoulders and had my hands amputated! Or that I’m wearing white socks with black legs! Ahhh! But then… I feel something.

A tickle? A bubble? Am I going to burp or sneeze? Before I can decide what that funny feeling is, it happens.

I simultaneously burped and sneezed. Upside down. It wasn’t pretty. Good news: I didn’t fall out of my headstand! Bad news: I didn’t cover my mouth. Really bad news: being upside down directed the full force of the sneeze burp (snurp? beeze? sneezurp?) right up my sinuses.

For about 5 seconds I thought the crisis had been averted. That is until I felt something trickling down my face. (Either that or I magically grew a handlebar mustache!) People were staring (not pictured because it took me forever to draw one stick figure and I’ll be darned if I’m going to draw 10 more.).

Immediately I fell over and as soon as I was righted, a flood of – wait for it – brown chunks came out my nose. It was my half-digested breakfast combined with stomach bile and a bunch of snot. Gushing out my nose. That is absolutely the worst smell in the world, FYI. I grabbed my sweat towel but after the initial surge, while it had gone up really fast, it took it’s own sweet time coming back out. As soon as I thought it was done, another bit of egg or blueberry would come oozing out. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it burned. Stomach acid in your sinuses is a horrible feeling. I’m not too proud to admit it: I cried.

I spent the rest of the day feeling like half my head was packed with Gel Blox, like my eye was going to explode and every few minutes catching a whiff of rancid stomach bile. It’s 12 hours later and I’m still snotting randomly with a horrible headache. G-R-O-S-S. Lesson learned: do not sneeze while upside down. You’re welcome.

Have you ever managed to get your stomach bile up in your sinuses? What’s the grossest thing that’s ever happened to you at the gym? If you are left 100% to your own devices what workout do you do??

*I am a huge fan of the blog Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures. I’m not trying to steal her genius idea; please consider my weak artistic skills an homage. And if you haven’t seen her blog before, check it out – you will laugh yourself silly. (Just don’t laugh so hard milk comes out your nose. That hurts. A lot.)

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa October 18, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Oh Charlotte!! I am so sorry for your pain and embarrassment but I just about peed myself laughing while reading this! What an awful thing to have happen – especially in public! And I LOVED your “crappy pictures”, btw. ;)


Charlotte October 18, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Aw thanks Melissa! And thanks again for introducting me to crappy pictures! I had a lot of fun with this one, might have to try it again;)


Melissa October 19, 2011 at 1:00 am

You’re welcome. :) And yes, you should totally do more crappy pictures!!


Liz @ iheartvegetables October 18, 2011 at 9:47 pm

HAHAHAHAHA oh my gosh. I’m literally I’m CRYING I’m laughing so hard. This is like exactly the type of WEIRD situation I would find my own self in.

This is seriously too funny. I love the pictures (especially the details with the germs)


Charlotte October 18, 2011 at 10:44 pm

So glad I’m not the only one who would do this to themselves! Strangely that makes me feel better:)


Amy October 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm

OMGosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is hilarious!!!!! I literally laughed out loud!!!

Most embarrassing thing to happen to me at the gym. . . um, nothing too bad. I did, however, enter a “fitness” (aka, weight loss) competition at my gym, and when I stripped my yoga pants off for the final photos, I also pulled my shorts halfway down, too. . .. in front of the male trainer who was there to do measurements! Whoops. . . .


Charlotte October 18, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Hahahh – you mooned your trainer! I love it! I mooned the gym once. Maybe I should do a crappy pictures post about that one;)


Katie October 18, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I don’t know what is funnier – these pictures, the story, your reaction, the fact that you are sharing this with the world… all rules. You are SO FUNNY, I’m dying.

I mean, I’m sorry this happened to you. Are you alright?


Charlotte October 18, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Hahah – it’s ok, the only thing that made this better was knowing I could blog about it;) So glad you liked it!


meanliving October 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm

That is so. foul. I’m sorry it had to be you. But SUPER glad it wasn’t me.


Liz B October 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Your “art” made my day!!! How you got so much detail in a stick figure drawing is a mystery!

Yes, I have had sinuses full of partially chewed/digested food so I absolutely relate in everyway to your experience. And seriously, why does it take so long to leave the sinuses?? Ugh. My sympathies!


Charlotte October 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm

But Liz, you didn’t say HOW you got all that bile up in your business! But thank you for the sympathy and I’m glad I could give you a giggle!


Charlotte October 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm

i’m sorry char, i just nearly spit out my tea. sorry this happened to you.

i thought you were going to say you queefed while going into plow or shoulder or headstand. which HAS happened to me – though thankfully, only in the privacy of my own home.


Charlotte October 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Oh I’ve totally admitted to that! Happy Baby pose makes me queef every single time, lol.


M. Lindsay October 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Bahahahaha- I love the germs and their comments! Hilarious!

And e.coli is actually kinda cute (but it’s certainly no MRSA….just saying, that little cape is adorbs).

I’ve gotten bile in my nose. It is possibly the worst feeling in the world, sort of like my eyes are being burned out of my head from the inside out. It often happens when I get the stomach flu and spend a significant amount of time vomiting- there’s bound to be some overexcited bile that makes it past my throat and into the sinuses. So. Painful.


Charlotte October 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm

THis: “sort of like my eyes are being burned out of my head from the inside out.” YES!!!! And that e.coli IS adorbs!


Sabrina October 18, 2011 at 11:50 pm

OMG that is so funny and so gross! And yes, I’ve gotten stomach bile up my nose, though not in quite such a creative way (morning sickness caught me by surprise and I leaned over the toilet while standing and it went up my nose) and I agree that smell is disgusting.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga October 19, 2011 at 12:18 am

I am sooo sorry you had this happen and honestly, you could never recreate this so you are done now. This was a once in a lifetime ‘treat’ :)

As a yoga teacher and student, I have heard, seen, or smelled every.single.bodily function in yoga…from post-baby/post-birth “wind” being passed to people literally having well…I won’t even go there. But yes, Ive seen and smelled it all. Well, other than your situation. You’re one in a million :)


Rachel October 19, 2011 at 1:23 am

that was hysterical! i thought i was going to barf reading it. i totally sympathize. once, when i was younger, i sneezed while eating flaming hot cheetos and forced an entire mouthful into my sinuses. it was excruciating, and i had red boogers for days.


Alli October 19, 2011 at 5:38 am

Moral of the story, don’t work out alone?

As someone who has thrown up through her nose several times, I totally sympathize. It’s disgusting, and makes me wish I could use my toothbrush inside my nose. (Side note: why can’t I? Seems like a reasonable solution). Though when I’ve done it it’s been because I was sick and barfing, not because of snurping* up my own nose. The worst was when I was sick from eating bad mackerel at a sushi place. That smelled hideous.

*Works better than “beezing.”


Naomi/Dragonmamma October 19, 2011 at 6:40 am

First I would cram a few sticks of sugarless mint gum into my mouth and chew, chew, chew. That’s got to help, right? Then I would get a bag of wasabi dried peas from Trader Joe’s and munch on them all day. They usually give a slight burn to the sinuses, but probably not after being bile-burned. I’ve used them to get icky smells out of my mouth or nose. (But not barf; I haven’t barfed for about 20 years.)
Cheer up, witnesses will be telling this story to their grandchildren. Just think, your legacy will be passed on to future generations.


Kate October 19, 2011 at 7:06 am

The things you experiment with for the sake of your readers! I’m so sorry–this sounds horrible, but now we know never do burp and sneeze simultaneously while upside down :-)


bjbella5 October 19, 2011 at 7:11 am

ROFL!! Love your artwork! Great story …..but I have to go eat breakfast now so I can’t think about it too much ;-)

I also checked out Crappy Pictures blog, hilarious!


JavaChick October 19, 2011 at 7:26 am

I love your illustrations but I just can’t laugh at what happened because it sounds so awful. Hope you are feeling better.


Elana October 19, 2011 at 7:48 am

Oh no, that sounds AWFUL!
I actually can’t think of the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me at the gym… But I am a personal trainer, and still manage to fall down/off equipment/drop weights on myself, and once sent a medicine ball flying across the weight room…


Gillian October 19, 2011 at 8:02 am

Oh, Charlotte, you kill me. I was laughing so hard my stomach was cramping! Literally rolling around, and your pictures just topped it off. Of course, I’m sorry for the pain and grossness you suffered but man, oh man, you have a gift! Take care.


Man Bicep October 19, 2011 at 8:13 am

That is pretty darn gross. The grossest thing that has happened here lately was…I was stretching a client and there was a farting noise. I thought it was just her back on the mat but then she said oops. All of the sudden a very unpleasant smell wafted up to me. She had to excuse herself and go to the restroom…


Deandre January 2, 2012 at 12:58 am

I was so confused about what to buy, but this makes it udenrstdanable.


mghccrdyd January 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm
Heather October 19, 2011 at 8:47 am

Love the artwork, especially the little germ conversation bubbles!

I’ve gotten bile up my nose before, too, and it sucks. Talk about pain. Sorry you had to experience it, but thanks for sharing. Hope the burning stops soon.

When left to my own devices for a workout, which is almost all of the time, I stick to running or a workout DVD. I’m not creative enough with my tiny home gym to do much else. Well, except for the occasional hula hooping and jump roping.


Kat October 19, 2011 at 9:26 am
Alyssa October 19, 2011 at 10:04 am

You poor thing!!!!!!!! That sounds so incredibly painful!
I love the pictures, but I just cannot get past the pain of it. Hope you’re feeling better today!


Abby October 19, 2011 at 10:23 am

Ewwwwww! That might actually be the grossest thing that’s happened to anyone at the gym. Possibly ever. Poor Charlotte, lol!


Naomi/Dragonmamma October 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

I don’t know about EVER. Last week a kid in the gym swimming pool was barfing and having diarrhea simultaneously. I could hear the shrieking all the way out in the lobby as the brown cloud began to spread.


Laura October 19, 2011 at 11:11 am

Oh. My. Lord. This is why I fear headstand. Ok, not really, but this is another reason to fear it. I did once get half a shot of whiskey up my nose. Cleared those sinuses right out!


Rebecca October 19, 2011 at 11:29 am

I love you so much right now.

Your poor sinuses!


Katie October 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Omigosh, that’s horrifyingly disgusting. I mean that in the nicest possible way.


Nicole October 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Been there, done that! Ok, not quite. I made it to a bathroom, and was puking, but I’ve been in the “bile in sinuses” group along with the rest of you! Ugh! I felt like I smelled like vomit all day, since it was hanging around in my nose!


Ryan @NoMoreBacon October 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm

No. Freaking. Way. That totally blows my mind (just like it did yours)! Seriously, that is so messed up. Wow.

I also think the crappy photos are hilarious. And the germs at your gym are huge.


Erin October 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Awe I’m sorry sweetie. Lets seem what’s the worst thing that happened to me in the gym? Um honestly I can’t remember. Although I do remember when I was a kid at camp walking into the boys locker room and being humiliated.

You know you can always hit me up for illustrations ;)


Susannah October 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I’m so sorry! Actually, something very similar happened to me just a couple of weeks ago- I threw up so violently that vomit shot up and out my nose- and it may well be the worst feeling ever, to have hunks of food dripping down behind your sinuses and out your nose. EVER. *hugs*


Heather @ Bake, Run, Live October 19, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I have to say that had I been there, I would have asked you if you were ok, and then I would have peed my pants laughing!!!
I really do hope you are feeling better though :)


Tina miller October 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Just gotta say my heart goes out to ya and I hope you get better very soon.. Lol loved your drawings :)


Jody - Fit at 53 October 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I hate laughing when I know you were going thru “not fun shit”! Charlotte, you crack me up with those pics & description but so sorry you went thru this! Hey, at least you can do what you were doing! Me, not even gonna try right now! Maybe when I get older & more senile! ;-)

I always work out alone so I get to do whatever I want every time! :-)

Feel better!!!!


Rachel October 19, 2011 at 7:51 pm

WOW! That is disgusting :) Love the pictures…how long did it take you to make them all?


Another Suburban Mom October 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm

That was the grossest thing I have heard of. And this is after listening to Hubman and the kids discuss the dog’s diarrea during dinner.


MegD October 20, 2011 at 7:57 am

OUCH! It sounds like that really hurt/stunk. Lucky for you you didn’t throw your neck out when you sneezed upside down!

I liked the crappy pictures too!


Geosomin October 20, 2011 at 9:57 am

oh…that sounds…oh…poor you.
Hope today works better :)


Pam October 21, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I come from a family of nose-vomiters, as in: whenever my sisters or I vomit, it forcefully ejects through our nose. Every. Time. If I have the stomach flu or something, I actually pinch my nose closed while barfing to try to hold some of it back. Even then, some of it still gets up there. I think the worst time was when I got a chunk of partially digested apple stuck at the top of my sinus…it took about two days to blow it out.

Blowing your nose a thousand times and then rinsing with tons of saline squirts helps clear out the acid.


Sharon October 22, 2011 at 1:49 am

You crack me up! That was too funny, thank you for sharing your humiliation and I loved the images. Nose puke is the worst, you pick those bile boogers out for days.


KymberlyFunFit October 27, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Gotta admit that you went somewhere other than where I thought you were going with this amazing moment. Thank the LAAAWD! I am going to become your new BFF and not share one single gross nose bile spew stinky moment from my life. Or body parts. But I do envy your amazing artistic skills. Not sure whether I laughed more at the writing or the pics.


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