Sport: Avoid Side Effects

Side effects in sport? It can happen: did you choose to turn your life around, abandon sedentary life and junk food to embrace training and healthy eating but you find yourself facing a series of side effects that put a strain on your willingness to continue? At first, then, it is not at all easy to understand if you are doing things right and the fear of making mistakes affects us.

Side Effects in Sport

Does sport make you fat? Does sport inflate? Does physical activity increase water retention or, worse, cellulite? Does sport hurt joints and muscles? Let’s try to understand these problems together and, above all, how to solve them point by point.

Does Sport Make me Fat?

No, it’s practically impossible for physical activity to make you fat. By increasing your calorie expenditure, you can’t gain weight! But, despite this, it remains one of the side effects that most worries those who begin to train. Just follow 3 basic rules to avoid getting fat with sport:

Diet and Sport

That you should do sport to feel good without stressing too much with calories is certain, but it is also true that, if your goal is to lose weight, unfortunately you have to reckon with it. It often happens that people who begin to play sports think they can give themselves much more than they actually consumed with physical activity. A psychological mechanism is triggered: since I have done something important for my body then I can reward myself.

And so, those who have perhaps consumed 200 calories with the workout, take 267 with a single tablespoon of peanut butter (100 cal) on a slice of bread (70 cal) and a squeeze of orange (97 cal). Healthy snack and great for those who do sports but you must always keep in mind that healthy is not low-calorie.


  1. Eat the right food by choosing healthy foods and simple preparations,
  2. Take into account your caloric requirement and your basal metabolic rate. Do not reduce your calories too much (never go below baseline) or your body will perceive it as a threat and will respond by going into reserve, causing a blockage of metabolism and stored as much as possible making it difficult to lose weight.

Avoiding Overtraining

When summer approaches with its dreaded costume test, many people find themselves obsessively observing their bodies in the mirror. Since he was buried all winter long and well hidden by layers and layers of clothing, for many it is a bitter surprise to find himself decidedly out of shape and with a few extra pounds. There is an urgent remedy and, too often, the solution practiced is to overdo it: do more workouts at the same time or add exhausting cardio sessions (running, swimming, hours of walking) or many mini workouts. But what exactly do you get?

The body perceives it as a real aggression and responds to this alarm by braking the metabolism to limit the damage caused by too much sport. Overtraining, also called over training, causes an increase in cortisol and therefore:

  1. It increases insulin (the sugar hormone) and stimulates the storage of fat on the abdomen. The increase in insulin in turn causes an increase in hunger. The body has burned calories and is now tired and hungry. Result? Maybe we’ve burned 300 calories and eat for 400.
  2. The metabolism slows down to defend the body from excessive fatigue.
  3. Increases water retention.
  4. The catabolism (undesirable effect of tissue turnover characterized by a imbalance between demolition of the muscle and consequent restoration) of muscle mass increases.
  5. Increases general fatigue.


Effective slimming training must first prevent cortisol from rising. How to do this?

  1. Start with the workout that suits you, you can calculate it with this easy TEST. You will have time and way to increase the intensity, much better to start with basic workouts and intensify progressively.
  2. Do not perform excessive cardiovascular activity. Especially at the beginning no more than 20/40 minutes
  3. Maintain moderate intensity: we should always be able to talk to our training partners.
  4. Respect the rest days of your workout.
  5. If you love running, do it consciously. Especially those who are at the beginning should do it no more than 2 or 3 times a week so as to give time to the muscles to rebuild.

Don’t Avoid Weights If You Want To Lose Weight

Often women, for fear of swelling the muscles, avoid the toning activity. Nothing could be more wrong! You often hear questions like “Does this workout make you swell? Will my thighs become big? Will I look like a man?” Well, I can only reassure you because there is no fattening workout and it’s really hard for you to grow your muscles too much during training. Also because it’s not an immediate process and you can safely adjust your workout in the process.

Keep in mind that:

  1. The muscles grow due to the presence of male hormones which are obviously scarce in women.
  2. To grow the muscles you need an adequate diet for this purpose (hyper-calorie and hyper-protein) without which the body does not have the resources to grow the muscles.
  3. The training should be really very heavy to grow the muscle that develops only if it is forced by exercises that lead him to squeeze to the maximum.

Just think of all the fatigue that men face to develop muscle mass to understand that it is absolutely impossible for a woman who does not have a favorable hormone profile and does not care about the diet specifically develop huge muscles simply by doing some toning exercises.

The toning work is important for 2 reasons:

  1. Obtain firm muscles and thus have a toned, healthy and harmonious appearance
  2. Lose weight! Increased muscle tone increases the basal metabolic rate, resulting in greater calorie expenditure at rest and at any time of day. If the muscles are more toned, the body burns more!

A girl who starts lifting weights doesn’t have to worry if after the first workouts the jeans tighten a little more, remember that it’s just a phase! In fact, the muscle volume can increase but this is only a temporary effect. When you start a workout or when you intensify a lot it happens that the muscles retain fluids. The toning process is in fact faster than the slimming process so the thigh grows moderately because the muscle develops slightly and the adipose tissue that is on top and any pads created by water retention have not yet been consumed. This will happen more slowly. All you have to do is wait for this second process to happen too to get the desired circumferences.

How Long Does The Swelling Effect Last?

It depends on your level of training, the intensity with which you train, your metabolism and also your diet.


  1. Train without fear of swelling and don’t stop at the first stage or you’ll always start again without really solving the problem. The first effect of physical activity is the recall of blood in the muscles, which causes swelling and turgidity. This is a very short-term effect: the legs are more toned, but bigger. Obviously, this phase scares us and makes us think of giving up physical activity.
  2. The real problem of leg size is not the muscle, however, but the fat that is on top of it: that is to be eliminated! If you continue your physical activity you will burn calories and lose that layer of fat that is above the muscle and that takes several weeks to leave: your leg will eventually be leaner and more toned.
  3. In addition, endurance training will continue to burn calories even after you have finished your workout and this makes it a perfect type of training for those who want to lose weight. This phenomenon is called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).
  4. Drink a lot, reduce (but not eliminate) salt and do a lot of stretching to stretch your muscles.

Does Sport Cause Water Retention?

The big thighs of some women very often are not real side effects of training but are caused by everything that forms “volume” and, therefore, unnecessary centimeters. To have two thin and athletic thighs you need to work not only on muscle tone but also on the reduction of water retention and subcutaneous fat through a balanced diet.

If your goal is to reduce the circumference of the thighs you will have to “endure” psychologically that necessary period of “transition” during which you will have toned legs but not yet with the desired appearance. With the correct training and nutrition, the excess fluid and fat will definitely go away. Also keep in mind that if you do toned workouts in the minutes following training, you will feel “swollen” due to the normal increase in blood flow to the muscle groups involved.


  1. You drink a lot. Water, but also draining herbal teas and green tea.
  2. Reduce (without completely eliminating) salt and over-salted packaged foods.
  3. Heals the diet by choosing foods rich in fiber and liquids such as fruits and vegetables.
  4. After showering, practice a good self massage.

Does Sport Cause Cellulite?

Let’s try to understand what it is about so as to understand the mechanisms with which it is formed and, above all, we eliminate cellulite. Under our skin a layer of fat is formed called Adipose Panniculus. It works as a calorie balance by increasing when we take more calories than those consumed and decreasing with a low-calorie diet.

Like all tissues, the Adipose Panniculus also has its own vascularization, the microcirculation, which serves our body to extract energy. The microcirculation is affected by genetics, poor nutrition, stress, sedentary lifestyle, water retention and vascular or hormonal changes. But what exactly happens? The membranes of the lipid cells break and their content spreads into the intracellular areas. That’s how we get cellulite.

And what role does sport play? Apparently, microlesions due to impact with the soil can contribute to the breakdown of lipid cell membranes, which is why all high-intensity sports (such as running) are not recommended. Lactic acid also seems to be an ally of cellulite because it has negative effects on tissue oxygenation and, more generally, on circulation. The latter consideration has no supporting studies, but it is commonly believed that it is not good for it to do so. Within the medical community, however, there are those who think that it is not true and that, on the contrary, to combat cellulite we must train intensively to promote the increase of lean mass and metabolism. In short, there is no absolute truth, but what is certain is that, in the case of running, you must absolutely avoid these 3 mistakes:

Go too slowly almost dragging your feet, thus creating back problems especially at the lumbar level.

Keep it as the only exercise without ever changing the intensity (always try to insert some sprints, even short).

Start too fast. One of the worst mistakes that you can make when starting to run is to avoid warm-up and start in fourth running too many km already at the first exit. If you want to do things right, first increase the distance: first 3, then 5, then 7, then 10 km. At this point, try to cover the 10 km in an increasingly short period of time. In this way, you will keep your exits under the hour of duration. NO to too slow and trailed running, which can even worsen your cellulite, but YES to the short run (under an hour) alongside other activities such as yoga or toning workouts.


Exercise, proper nutrition, proper hydration, rest and some beauty treatments can make all the difference:

Eating And Hydration

Adopt a diet rich in fiber, reduce sugars, saturated fats and alcohol, drink at least 1.5/2 liters of water per day and, if you practice physical activity, have a sufficient intake of protein (with lean meat or fish) to support the increase in lean mass.


Stress is one of the causes of cellulite, rest becomes an essential therapeutic element to allow our body to have greater balance. Always give the body time to recover after a workout and never get to overtraining becomes really essential.


If you want to do physical activity only to reduce cellulite, the types of mild training are clearly the best. So you’ll need to focus on fast walking, biking and workouts to suit your level of training. The important thing is to move often and train at least 4/5 times a week.

Aesthetic Treatments

To combat cellulite, all treatments such as: lymph drainage; pressure therapy; hydromassage; various massages; toning, generates

Does Sport Cause Joint Pain?

Joint cartilage is an elastic tissue with high resistance to pressure and traction. Its function is similar to that of a shock-absorbing pad that protects normal joint relations and allows movement. Over time, genetics and injuries can create physical problems to the cartilage. The joints of people who practise sports in an intense way are constantly subjected to stress: every sporting gesture in itself involves a more intense use of the organism and consequently this is also reflected in the joints.

In addition, sometimes the lack of proper warm-ups, excessively long and heavy workouts, incorrectly done exercises and insufficient recovery time make the joints vulnerable to wear and tear. This causes constant pain to which the athlete becomes accustomed or which he sedates regularly using pain-relieving drugs, which are ineffective in removing the cause of the symptom. In addition, by continuing to train even in these conditions, athletes worsen their situation. In addition to pain, joints often have swelling (due to fluid retention) and a clear inflammatory state.


  1. Sport, if done with criteria, is an excellent workout because it helps to improve muscle elasticity, reduces weight, improves posture.
  2. Never neglect warming up,
  3. Do not follow workouts designed for those who are already trained or at the right weight if you still need to lose weight but choose low-impact workouts designed to protect the joints.
  4. Follow a healthy diet and as varied as possible and hydrate enough.
  5. Always choose the right shoes for your physical activity and make sure they are sufficiently cushioned.

Does Sport Hurt Your Muscles?

It is often the case that people who start practicing any sport from scratch experience severe pain in the next two or three days. They are almost always mistakenly attributed to the accumulation of lactic acid. It is DOMS = delayed onset muscle soreness. The accumulation of lactic acid is in fact felt during training when you feel that burning localized in the muscles that prevents it from continuing. This is because there is such a high concentration of lactic acid in the blood that you have to stop and rest to dispose of it. The blood level of the lactic acid is restored within a few minutes and the muscle level within two or three hours. Never after 24/72 hours!

DOMS are caused by micro-lacerations of muscles caused by eccentric muscle work (i.e. in the phase where the muscle resists weight, such as in the return of a weight exercise) and occurs especially in people who are not well trained in that type of work, but may also appear to trained people who have significantly changed the exercises and have solicited the muscles in an unusual way.

It is a normal physiological response to higher efforts, or the performance of physical activities to which you are not accustomed. The pain and discomfort associated with DOMS usually reaches a peak between 24 and 48 hours after exercise, and is extinguished within 96 hours. These are perhaps the most annoying side effects of continuing training. Generally, a greater perception of pain occurs with more intense efforts, and more frequent execution of unknown activities. Other factors that affect the formation of the DOMS are muscle stiffness, the speed of contraction, fatigue, and the angle of contraction.



Doing a session of at least 20 minutes of stretching after a training session (not the day after but immediately after training) heavy-duty eccentric work helps you in recovery and helps you make it milder then delayed soreness.

Warm Water

Some coaches recommend a nice hot bath in the tub with two tablespoons of salt and one of bicarbonate dissolved in water, stay in the bath at least twenty minutes and go out avoiding getting cold.


A nice massage helps to relax the muscles and alleviate the pain, better anchors if done with the addition of essential oils such as decontracting basil oil, Roman chamomile and marjoram. For cramps, again, you can mix a little peppermint oil with lemongrass, perhaps using a carrier product such as coconut oil or sweet almond oil.

Although the real decontracting massage is necessarily the prerogative of an expert, from home you can still try some natural remedies, to be applied locally with a small rubbing do-it-yourself:

  1. Apple vinegar: Mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple vinegar in a glass of water, together with a sprig of mint. This remedy is known to help sore muscles by rubbing this mixture directly on the soredest spot;
  2. Cayenne pepper: capsacin is widely used to relieve pain in joints, muscles and arthritis. Even if it is found in the form of creams and lotions, you can prepare an appropriate blend yourself at home. Simply mix half a tablespoon of cayenne pepper powder into a cup of olive or coconut oil, then apply the mixture to the sore area. However, it is always better to first do a tolerance test on a small part of the skin, because if the mixture is irritating it is absolutely to be avoided.

Light Training

It is a good idea not to suspend training completely but to resume it the next day, perhaps a little lighter. This is because, after warming up, the muscles have a normal yield and the pain disappears.

Muscle Cramps

If the problem is the annoying cramps during training remember to do a good warm-up, drink a lot (two nice glasses of water a little ‘before the sport is a good habit), make sure you do not have deficiencies of magnesium and potassium.