Back in July last year (2012) I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (for those who don’t know what it is, here is Wiki’s explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia) which pretty much threw my training (and life) up in the air.
My whole approach to training had to change, I had to research and reassess what supplements I was taking and also the timing of taking them (which I’ll go into more later on), and my food had to change a little as well.
So let’s start with the training by giving you a brief view into the different ‘systems’ that are used by the body, and I’ll talk in terms of making muscular changes.
I will call one Strength (Central Nervous System changes – Heavy Weights with fewer Reps: 3,4,5,6)
I will call one Hypertrophy (Physical changes to Muscles – Moderate Weights, Moderate Reps: 8,9,10)
I will call one Lactate (Muscular Endurance – or the length of time the Muscle can affectively work for – Lower Weights, Higher Reps: 12,13,14,15+)
So based on the above, I found that when I went into a ‘Strength’ Phase, my Nervous System seemed to suffer quite badly. To put that in real terms, my sleep got worse, I found I was tossing and turning throughout the night and always seemed to wake up tired. This then had a knock on effect by increasing my pain levels for that following day, sometimes quite substantially.
Even initially, moving to Higher Reps and lowering the weight didn’t seem to help, so I began to take my foot off the gas as far as my training was concerned, until I actually ended up not being able to train at all, due to it’s horrendously negative effect on my body.
Now for a Personal Trainer, this was completely unacceptable in my eyes, how could I train people and not myself!? And this really got me down, in a big way.
Luckily at this point, the Scientist in me took over.
I had to try and figure out a way, to be able to push myself, physically, without the following backlash – I have my own goals after all.
So let’s touch on the Nutrition side of everything at this point. Now one saving grace that I already had, was that I was eating a somewhat modified version of the Paleo ‘diet’ (hate that word); and one of the massive benefits of eating what we call ‘Clean Food’ is that I was keeping away from foods that would make my sleep worse (increasing pain), be difficult to digest [Dairy & Gluten in Wheat products] therefore causing Gut Inflammation (increasing pain), and generally make me feel like crap.
And by the way, I strongly suggest that EVERYONE remove processed foods from their ‘diet’; process meaning when foods have a long-ass list of ingredients in them.
So, enter ‘Scientist-Mode’ (this was my favourite part, it’s got its own Mode and everything)
After making sure my Food was on point, I looked as ways of adding a few, very specific, supplements in each day. I’ll list them below with a brief explanation:
- Magnesium (shown to aid the Nervous System and help improve sleep)
- Vitamin B-Complex (Also shown to aid the Nervous System)
- Bioavailable Iodine (Low Thyroid function in some studies has been shown to be a precursor to Fibro)
- Omega 3 Fish Oils (Help reduce Gut and overall Inflammation)
- Probiotics (Show to further reduce Gut Inflammation and aid in digestion and assimilation of nutrients)
- Glutamine (To further enhance Gut function due to it’s ability to help seal the Gut Lining)
- Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
- High quality Greens Drink with added Gut Support
Now this is not a crazy long laundry list of Supplements, but it doesn’t need to be, it never needs to be. Supplementing is about firstly getting your Nutrition sorted and then specifically targeting certain things. Not carpet bombing with everything under the sun. If someone attempts the latter with you, I’d question them and their knowledge of why supplements may be needed in the first place.
Once I’d added these into my daily regime, things slowly started to improve. Sleep got a little better (I’m writing this on Thursday 8th August 2013) however it’s far from perfect yet, but my pain levels are generally lower and I rarely get crazy bad flare ups (I’ve had 2 in the last 3 weeks) – which is massive let me tell you; and my training has improved in leaps and bounds to the point where any Phase that I use (Strength, Hypertrophy, Lactate) doesn’t have any negative effects.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get rid of this thing, or even fully control it, but with little tweaks here and there, I’ve certainly got a much better handle on it than I used to.
I think I’ve rambled on long enough now, if anyone has any questions about any of this, please scroll down to the bottom of this page, click on the ‘About’ section and give me a shout.