FM and Muscle loss / how to exercise for better health

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by darrenc89, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. darrenc89

    darrenc89 New Member

    Hey everyone. Below is a direct response I made to a query on this website, I thought that the principles and info contained may be of help to others who are looking for similar "answers". Feel free to contact me for more information, or with any questions. I really want to help out as much as I can, so feel free to contact me with any "topics" that you may want me to address.


    Dear Ron

    My first piece of advice to ALL those diagnosed with FM is to see another Dr for a second opinion. FM is a "collection" of "symptoms", therefore, you can't be diagnosed with FM until a host of other pathologies have been ruled out - you need a Doctor who is thorough, and patient.

    Now, to answer your queries more directly...

    Losing muscle mass drastically is a concern. If you have lost 4kg+ in the past month, you need a thorough clinical examination, including comprehensive blood tests. FM is NOT a degenerative or muscle wasting disease, however, it can be linked certainly with decreased athletic performance and secondary body composition alteration. Secondary means that you lose muscle because you are not working out as hard or as consistently, or because you're diet has changed, or because your sleep patterns are poor. With muscle, if you do not use it, you lose it. However, it is expected that any muscle loss would be fairly gradual, and in keeping with how your illness effects your lifestyle, more so than how your illness effects your physiology. The important thing here is to rule out the more nasty conditions which are associated with muscle wasting or loss.

    (1) Weightlifting is effective in building fitness and strength and managing the symptoms of FM, but you must always ensure that you are not over-training. CFS, and you may have this, is basically an "over-training"-type condition. You want and need to build up your fitness gradually. At the moment it sounds like you are trying to train as hard and as much as you used to, you need to take a step back, assess your capacity and start your workout intensity very low and slowly build up. You must not be overly fatigued. Sometimes, weightlifting must be avoided initially, and lower intensive exercise such as walking, riding etc are effective in building up your exercise tolerance.

    (2) Your muscles do not stop growing if you are diagnosed with FM. As mentioned, FM is simply a collection of unexplained symptoms -- no one is sure just yet exactly what happens on a physiological level with this condition. You need a bit of an attitude adjustment for the time being, building muscle should not be a priority. Increasing your capacity to recover from exercise (during and after) and maintaining muscle mass and preventing fat gain: these need to be the focus of your exercise plan.

    (3) Energy is a huge issue in people with FM and CFS (...this is Chronic fatigue syndrome). You manage declining energy levels by having around 7 hours of sleep each night, going to bed and getting up at the same/similar time each and every day, eating a wholesome diet, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly at moderated (controlled) intensity.

    (4) You can recover from this condition; FM and CFS are cyclical in their nature -- this means you have ups and downs, ups and downs, and than it all starts over again... Like I have mentioned, you need to find consistency (in diet, sleep, exercise, social life, family life etc). Keep your chin up! Things may be bad right now, they can get better. Stick with it and lean on the people close to you.

    Anyway Ron, your priorities for the moment are:

    *Get a second opinion on your diagnosis -- ensure that your Doctor is thorough, you need comprehensive blood tests and physical examination.
    *Ask your doctor about TCA's (tricyclic antidepressants) which have helped some people with similar physical conditions. You may need medication to assist your sleep patterns also.
    *Throttle back on the "weight-lifting" mentality, make your focus more aligned with getting BETTER (fitter, healthier), not bigger.
    *Focus on Diet, Sleep, and Exercise

    I hope this has helped Ron. Please contact me with any further questions.


    Certificate III in Fitness
    Certificate IV in Fitness
    Registered Personal Trainer and Fitness Professional (Australia)
    Bachelor of Nursing
    Medical student (current)
    Long time FM and CFS sufferer