The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
OverTheHills presents the first article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME international Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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need advice for weight training

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by hmnr asg, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. hmnr asg

    hmnr asg

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    hello all,
    I know this is an odd question to ask when people here are struggling to make ends meet and i am asking about weight training.

    I have had my CFS for about 6 years, I have pretty awful PEM but i am able to hold my job (and do bare minimum). I have tried going back to the gym a few times but each time i paid a price and have had to cancel my membership. It was either that or my job.

    I find the depression of having let my body go to be one of the worst consequences of my CFS. I think perhaps because the effects of it are so in-your-face; every time you look in the mirror you are reminded of how out of shape you are. Whereas the financial/social/etc costs are more hidden.

    This question may have no answers and i may have just to resign myself to this fate, but if anyone can give me suggestions on how to regain some muscle mass I would be extremely grateful.

    H
     
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  2. lnester7

    lnester7 Seven

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    1) Keep heart rate under AT to begin with.
    2) Do as much as you can horizontal to begin with (in case you have OI it will help you).
    3) I focus on chore and legs first, again will avoid/help blood pooling.
    4) Start low and slow, rest twice as much as you do. You will be more productive w almost nothing and increase slow and not crashing or relapsing (i did 3 times w exercise).

    I too have exercise (if you can call it that) all the way, but have over done it and relapsed myself 3 times so be careful.
    Right now I walk 20min, do 60second plank+ 1h recumbent bike. Has taken me about 2 years to get to this since last crash.
     
  3. Sushi

    Sushi Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I do pilates with machines (at a studio) which is done almost entirely lying down. I also use a heart rate monitor to make sure I don't go over my anaerobic threshold. This works pretty well for me.
     
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  4. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Resistance training can be one of the best exercises for those who have ME/CFS and will help stop you getting all flabby. If you do it at home you also then dont have to travel out the house which also can be fatiguing.

    I dont see why you should have to let your body go unless you are after big bulky muscles but even just several weight training repetitions may be okay if only a few are done at a time, instead of trying to do it in just one daily session, try doing it in several tiny sessions instead.
     
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  5. *GG*

    *GG* Senior Member

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    What are you trying to do at the gym? 2 hours of weights or aerobic?

    What kind of work do you do? Physical or more mental? How is your diet?

    I started going back to the gym over 3 years ago. Was doing PT at the time, and paying $20 for each visit, and had about 8 in 1 month. So spent $160.

    So decided to try gym because they were saying at the time that I had weak muscles in back. My gym is Planet Fitness, so I only pay $10 a month, so if I don't use it much, not like it is a huge expense.

    So been doing the gym since, and have gotten stronger, which is kind of nice for a guy who was not hitting the gym for about 25 years, mid 40s here. And it is good in the Winter when there is no snow, I do my cardio in the gym.

    GG
     
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  6. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    If you have awful PEM, my advice would be don't do it, especially if you want to retain your job.
    Also look up Jamison Hill (i think it's the name) and his story. A bodybuilder. His story may be upsetting but you need to know what the risks are.
     
  7. helen1

    helen1 Senior Member

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    @hmnr asg I've had surprisingly good success at retaining muscle by doing saunas almost daily. I was fit before falling ill, so did have muscle. There's good research out there about how saunas mimic exercise in some ways. I also do very short and light weight workouts, upper body only (leg workouts make me crash) 1-2x a week. I only do those when I feel it's safe and won't be overextending myself so some weeks I do no weights.
     
    hmnr asg likes this.
  8. Skippa

    Skippa Anti-BS

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    Walking and small amounts of dynamic tension.
     
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  9. David Jackson

    David Jackson Senior Member

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    Could this idea help: getting some weight-adjustable dumb bells and barbells and working out at home, incorporating body-weight exercises, like pushups, pull-ups, crunches, dips, body-weight squats, etc. That way it's all right there for when you have some extra energy, and you don't have to make the trip to the gym. You can also just lift without having to worry about any ego/pressure from all the other people in the gym, and overexerting yourself because of this.

    This is what I do, or more like, what I plan to do, just as soon as my energy picks up a bit more!!! :bang-head:

    But another thing has just come to mind: I recently read Tim Ferris's book, 4 hour body. Well, scanned it; I didn't study it in detail. Anyway, Tim Ferris has some interesting ideas. He believes in doing the absolute minimum to get the desired results. He has another book called the 4 hour work week, or something like that. He thinks that when it comes to most things, weight training included, the vast majority of people over-train a great deal. There were quite a few chapters in the book dedicated to weight lifting/muscle development, and one of them was saying about how less can be more when it comes to training frequency. I don't remember all the details, but it might be worth looking into. You might not have to do as much training as you think you do to get the results you want.
     
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  10. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

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    I have tried resistance band training (going very low and slow) in an attempt to try and improve my upper body strength which has become pretty pathetic. My ambition was to be able to carry a shopping basket around the shop. I had some success with this although it took a long time (year) to build up and saw gradual improvement where I could work with a 13kg band. I use creatine every day and this has had a dramatic effect on my stamina overall (takes a burden off methylation as well apparently). I did manage to take a shopping basket around the shop without a PEM the other day but suspect this to be more about how I was pacing that day. Biggest thing for me has been managing heart rate with exercise as mentioned above. I very rarely go into the cardio zone and if I do I take a rest break with whatever I'm doing until it drops down and I can resume again. Perhaps try a combination of resistance training and heart rate management?
     
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  11. Sherpa

    Sherpa Ex-workaholic adrenaline junkie

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    When I was extremely weak, sick and catabolized (muscle & collagen wasted away) I started with 10 minutes of yoga videos per day, I increased by 5 minutes every couple weeks until I could do an entire 60 - 75 minute video.

    After getting "good" at yoga to where I could attend local classes and keep up with the girls in the class, I switched to gentle free weights. (mostly dumbbells)

    I started small (5 lbs) and worked out for no more than 45 mins. 3 times per week. made sure not to do much physical activity on rest days.

    The key with weight and CFS, as with supplements, is to start low and go slow.

    supplements:

    • NOW Waxy Maize (pre and post workout carbs, overall best supplement. Gives energy before, fuels growth after and reduces soreness big time. I do two scoops before workout for energy and one scoop -- plus protien powder - after )
    The other supplements that helped me... but which I don't use much after discovering Waxy Maize
    • d-ribose (pre workout enegy - if needed)
    • beta alanine (helps with soreness. )
    • mangapower creatine (gives stamina, increases DHT/sex drive but accelerates hair loss)
    • megnesium enema (can reduce muscle soreness)

    The key is to go slow and keep pushing the window. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Don't compare yourself to other guys at the gym. You're not playing with the same deck of cards.

    Afer 11 months of weight training (along with clean 'paleo' eating, rock solid sleep hygiene, etc), I have gone from weak, frail and pale... back to a more "average" frame and strength.

    FullSizeRender (5)_censored (3).jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
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  12. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    Targeted anaerobic exercise might result in some small improvements in the relevant muscle groups, but it will not improve ME severity or ME symptoms. Many GET studies have pretty conclusively shown that slowly increasing aerobic activities produces no objective benefits.

    Only anecdotal evidence has shown improvement in specific tasks (eg, walking down one flight of stairs to get out of the apartment, carrying a basket around). And those anecdotes describe it as taking a year or more of training for that specific activity, at the cost of other activities.
     
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  13. *GG*

    *GG* Senior Member

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    My impression is that he exercised a Ton. I would not recommend that either, seems like this happens to often for some adrenaline junkies. Are they listening to their bodies?

    GG
     
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  14. hmnr asg

    hmnr asg

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    Thank you all for your replies.
    These are the things I extracted and i will apply them to my new regiment:
    1) start low and go slow. My ego always gets in my way, the few times i tried to go back to the gym I definitely overdid it, i didnt want to be lifting less than other men around me, I always struggle with acceptance of my condition.
    2) dont go aerobic, keep heart rate low. This I did not know, I will apply this also
    3) add plenty of rest
    ps @Sherpa you look great man! before my cfs I would have looked at that pic and though this man need to lift. Now i look at you with envy! my arms are so weak now i have a hard time holding my phone to my face (no jokes).

    I think i will take your lessons and start LOW. and the advice about not going to the gym is also very useful.

    Maybe in my next life i will go back to doing deadlifts/squats.

    Also i hope it doesnt effect my mind. I have terrible PEM and the first thing that goes is my thinking. I get horrible brain fog. And my job is all very mental. So if i start LOW (5 min a day) and it still crashes me mentally, then i guess i will just have to accept that its not happening for me and just maybe take short walks.

    Thank you guys for all the advice, i will let you know how it goes.

    H
     
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  15. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    You may find that resistance exercise is easier for the ME body than aerobic exercise. The Workwell Foundation website may have recommendations for that matter. I believe they recommend a maximum of 30 seconds of exercise and rest of 3-5 minutes between the sets.

    According to Stevens, Snell, Davenport and VanNess, patients with ME have a broken aerobic system and seemingly according to Naviaux et al., there are major issues in the mitochondria for whatever reasons. We know from many experiences, adrenaline or endorphin junkies to regular people trying to go about their day, that graded exercise therapy is worsening the disease.

    The goals of exercise for patients with ME would be to maintain function but be aware that even doing that could bring on relapses due to the trajectory ofthe disease which varies from individual to individual. Extreme caution is recommended, especially if your breadwinner job is at stake.
     
  16. David Jackson

    David Jackson Senior Member

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    I like and agree with what @Kati is saying here. It is what I found when last trying to do some exercise.

    My health guy gave me a useful tip about exercise, that really applies well to the weight training you are thinking of doing; I tried what he suggested, and got something out of it. He said you record what you do in a little book or something. Then you gradually increase, like every week, or something. After a few months you look back, and see that you've increased the amount you can do by a lot, just by making small improvements over time. He was explaining it really helps out on a subconscious kind-of level. Helps the body understand what it can do. He really emphasised that you have to write it down and record it clearly, so you can look back in, say, 6 months time or whatever.

    I did notice something like this; but it's also good, confidence-wise, just to see that you can now do 20 press ups when you started out doing just 5, or whatever.
     
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  17. jnwp

    jnwp

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    I'll just reiterate the advice some others have given you: listen to your body. As my doctor says, your mind will lie to you in a minute, but your body won't. Strenuous exercise of any sort is a privilege for people with CFS/adrenal fatigue whatever you want to call it.

    I've spent the last 3 1/2 months in a constant up-and-down after getting overconfident and pushing myself in the gym. I was trying to "push through" symptoms and I ended up making myself feel pretty awful. Not sure if that was the only factor or not, but it was definitely a huge trigger. I'm still trying to pick up the pieces.

    As Sherpa said, you're not playing with the same deck of cards as everyone else at the gym, and you can't expect to get the same results. How you feel on a day-to-day basis matters so much more than how you look or how much you can lift. I won't say give up on the idea altogether, but I would say be very careful and don't take unnecessary risks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  18. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

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    I think the idea of a little book/tracker is a good one, I was not a regular gym goer before I got ill so I guess I don't miss this. I did find reviewing progress over months was a good way of keeping motivated though. I started with the 1.2kg band and exercised with my 7 year old (he thought it was great) I slowly increased Reps every other week and kept them high before switching resistance up. The resistance bands are quite cheap and portable so when you don't feel like the gym you can use them at home or in a hotel room etc. My thing as others have mentioned is to do this without PEM and go slower than is natural. I just about hold down my job and have ditched the bands for the moment due to work pressures. My key focus is on my non cardio walk every day to keep, from deconditioning (this happens after 2 weeks of inactivity for me and If I let that happen i have to reset and start again). So for me I have sacrificed lifting for walking. This is a higher priority for my energy. I agree with the comments on GET. I did get something from this initially in that it taught me how to pace and know my limits from a low baseline. However it is not in itself a cure or a therapy to improve the condition since you have to sacrifice your valuable energy to do it and then for me the realisation dawned later on that cardio was a complete no no for me, since just a few minutes of very light jogging just tips me over the edge and I crash. It's the same for lifting and carrying slow steady controlled lifting is best. Luckily I had the heart rate monitor and this helped loads...who knew that tying your shoelaces could be quite so strenuous. I guess the hardest thing at work was admitting that I couldn't lift stuff which was embarrassing at first, especially when some of the women in the open plan office would shout over and ask me to move stuff for them. ' I need a big strong man" flirt etc. I'm brazen about it now and say "sure" and then promptly ask someone else to move it on their behalf ( normally someone younger). It's better than crashing.
     
  19. hmnr asg

    hmnr asg

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    Good for you! I am still trying to come to terms with that.
    But what you said reminded me of a bit by the comedian Jerrod Carmichael, it goes something like this:

     
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  20. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

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    Ahh so true ...awful to admit but I have one of those rubber things to open jars...oh and an old fashioned suitcase trolley with some bungee cords that I keep,in the back of the car (kindly donated by my in laws). It's now got quite popular at work ...people borrow it and everything :). I keep the jar opener is strictly for home though.
     

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