Weightlifting-muscle loss with Fibromyalgia

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by Ron77, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Ron77

    Ron77 New Member


    I am a 33 year old male who has recently been having to deal with fibromylagia (newly recognized with the condition) and it has been incredibly difficult. I live a very active lifestyle and used to train heavily with weights. I am finding it is almost impossible for me to lift weights anymore and that any training I do, seems to show no muscle growth. In fact, I am noticing rapid muscle weakness and loss on a daily basis.
    Ive been finding it almost impossible to deal with, accept and adjust to. I have been getting mixed messages from my doctor. Can someone tell me:

    1) Is weightlifting with fibromyalgia useless/still effective?
    2) Do muscles simply stop with any growth while with fibromyalgia?
    3) How do people get any energy to go to the gym?
    4) Will I be living with this fatigue forever from this day on?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the board. Sorry to hear that you have fibro at such a young age.

    There is a fibro and chronic fatigue board on this site which you might want to
    visit. It is more active than the health board. See the upper right hand corner.

    There is a Dr. Nelson who is sometimes available on the fibro board to answer
    questions. I have chronic fatigue myself. Energy is a big problem with
    both of these DDs (darned diseases). Some people have had good luck w/
    supplements. There are several you can try that are sold in the store here.

    In response to your question four, since you are so young, it is possible that
    a cure will be developed in your lifetime.

    Good luck

  3. darrenc89

    darrenc89 New Member

    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 look 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
  4. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    G'day. Welcome to the board. I hope you will share your knowledge with
    us again. As you probably noticed, there are other boards at this same site including
    the FM/CFS board.

    The above is Ron's only post.