Understanding Side Effect of Fitness: From Flatulence to Muscle Gains

Side Effect of Fitness

Many people have recently told me about the side effect of fitness, I’m actually quite surprised. Isn’t the biggest side effect of fitness gradually losing interest in the opposite sex? How come there are so many others?

Someone told me that they’ve been snacking more lately, often feeling thirsty, their urine has turned yellow, and strange lines have appeared on their body, with hard lumps forming in their hands. Last month’s medical check-up revealed many abnormal indicators, which they didn’t understand.

So, in this article, I’ll educate you about these side effects of fitness and how to deal with them. I’m going to introduce four common side effects of fitness. I bet if you’re into fitness, you’ve experienced at least two of these.

The first side effect of fitness is smelly and frequent flatulence.

Farting is normal, and everyone does it. We ordinary people tend to fart politely, sticking to the principle of “loud farts don’t stink, and stinky farts aren’t loud.” But we’ve observed that well-built guys have no such principle. Their farts are both loud and stinky, which I love. We also found that the intensity of the fart seems to be directly proportional to muscle mass—the bigger the muscles, the stronger the fart.

Why do people who exercise have farts that are stinky and loud, and more frequent? This has little to do with fitness training but more with our muscle-building diet.How are farts produced? When we eat, a lot of air is swallowed along with the food into the digestive tract. Additionally, the gut flora ferments food residues, producing certain gases. These two sources mix and are transported to the anal area, following the command of the sphincter muscle, and are explosively released as a fart. Fitness enthusiasts have higher nutritional needs than average people, eating more often, even six meals a day. This increases air intake. The muscle-building diet includes a lot of carbohydrates, mainly from starchy foods.

The digestion of starch significantly increases the carbon dioxide content in intestinal gases, thus increasing the volume and pressure of the fart, making it loud. But why are they especially stinky? Most components of a fart are odorless, including nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. However, farts contain less than 1% of hydrogen sulfide and indole gases, including skatole, which is the source of the stink.

Our muscle-building diet includes lots of meat, eggs, and milk. Increased protein intake enhances gut fermentation, releasing more hydrogen sulfide and skatole. That’s why muscular guys have such poignant farts.Are there solutions? Yes, three. First, chew your food well to reduce swallowed air. Second, eat fewer potatoes and beans, which produce gas. Third, take digestive tablets after meals to reduce food retention in the intestines and lessen fermentation. This might reduce the quantity and loudness of your farts, but not the smell. I think it’s okay if your farts stink during muscle-building. It indicates sufficient protein intake and effective muscle gain. However, if your farts are odorless, you might not be getting enough protein, which could affect your muscle gain.

The second side effect of fitness is elevated uric acid levels.

The second side effect, high uric acid, has alarmed some who found it elevated during medical check-ups. Is it because they’re consuming too much protein? Can they still drink protein shakes? Actually, uric acid has nothing to do with protein but is more related to purines. Purines are not entirely from food—only 20% come from what we eat. The rest, the endogenous purines, are produced by our body’s metabolism and have even less to do with protein, but they are related to muscle-building training. During weight-bearing exercises, the constant breakdown of ATP produces adenine purines. Simultaneously, muscle fiber damage and cell nucleus decomposition release more purines. With increased purines in the body, the uric acid level temporarily rises. However, for those with healthy kidney function, this isn’t a problem as uric acid is excreted through urine. Drinking plenty of water helps. The retained uric acid level remains low and doesn’t affect health. But if you did heavy squats the day before a medical exam, your report might not look so good. In fact, many indicators, like creatine kinase and urinary protein, temporarily rise after intense training, making both you and your doctor nervous. To avoid this misunderstanding, I suggest stopping training at least a week before a medical exam. If the indicators are still abnormal after a week off, let your doctor interpret them. If you’re particularly concerned about purines or uric acid, avoid foods high in purines like soy and seafood. Also, avoid fructose-rich sweets and drinks. But protein sources like eggs, milk, and whey protein have very low purine content, so feel free to consume them.

The third side effect of fitness is stretch marks.

Many people notice mysterious lines on their bodies after gaining a bit of muscle. These aren’t just pregnancy stretch marks. I’m definitely not pregnant, so why do I have them? These lines, called stretch marks, occur when muscle, fat, or other materials expand beyond the skin’s elasticity limit, causing the elastic fibers and collagen in the dermis to break, forming irregular band-like lines, scientifically known as striae distensae. They commonly appear on thighs, buttocks, inner arms, and the edges of chest muscles—areas with noticeable muscle growth. For those with stretch marks, congratulations! It means your muscle gain has been so effective that your skin can’t keep up. But if you dislike these marks, can you eliminate them? It’s challenging because they are caused by damage to the dermal elastic fibers and collagen molecules. Skincare products, which only reach the epidermis, are ineffective. The only effective method might be medical aesthetic procedures like laser or microdermabrasion, but they are usually quite expensive. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to address them. Usually, after a year or two, or even a few months for some, stretch marks naturally fade and lighten. Don’t worry too much. These are medals of your muscle gain and great material for social media posts.

The fourth side effect of fitness is calloused hands.

If you started working out and found your partner doesn’t want you to touch them anymore, it’s not because they’ve changed their mind. It’s likely because your hands have developed calluses, which feel like sandpaper. Fitness enthusiasts usually get calluses around the base of their fingers, especially when using barbells, particularly during heavy deadlifts. The barbell compresses the skin in this area severely. Calluses form from the skin’s repeated friction and pressure, causing the epidermal layer to accumulate. The better you train, the thicker the calluses. Wearing gloves during training can effectively prevent calluses on the palms. If your job requires delicate handwork, like massage therapy or playing musical instruments, it’s best to wear gloves to avoid affecting your touch. If you prioritize training feel and dislike wearing gloves, try changing your grip on the barbell. Don’t press the barbell directly on the fleshy part at the base of your fingers. Instead, move it up a bit and hook it with the third section of your fingers. This cleverly avoids skin compression and significantly reduces calluses. That’s it for the most common side effects of fitness.