When people learn that I manage Fibromyalgia and Hyper Mobility Syndrome with weight training, they frequently ask; “how do you manage that?”
I’ve decided to focus the next couple of posts to answering this question in more detail. Today’s post will focus on the personal changes I experienced and how they developed. For the next, I’m planning to write a more practical Beginners Guide to Weight Training from isolating your needs and aims, to choosing a gym – Plus much more! 😀
A change in me.
I think I subconsciously entitled this post ‘A Change in Me’ because it’s the title of a song that formed the backdrop to my life at this point. They say that many of us have a soundtrack to our lives and that certainly describes me; I have loads of them!
This song – A Change In Me by Clare Maguire spoke to my soul. It captures both how lost I felt at that time and my hope for change. It helped to reignite the fire inside that fibro and the rest had helped to dampen. It forms part of fibro – my story.
I hope you like it….
When I started weight training I wasn’t in the best place. Life felt like a daily battle ground with no sign of improvement. The idea of chronic illness makes you scream at times, as does the sentiment of ‘making the best of it’, when quite frankly you’re too freaking fatigued to do any more than you have to. Then someone like me pops up and gushes “weight train, you’ll feel great!”
I well understand the question.
“How do you manage to do that?”
A Change in me.
It’s hard to place natural change in an exact order but I hope you get the idea.
1.First and foremost as the song suggests I was totally ready for change and knew that a commitment was needed if I really meant it. I was also prepared to take some risks. A personal decision that only you can make.
2. I listened to my body honestly – what am I able to do right now?
3. I stopped feeling so sorry for myself and believing I couldn’t because of Fibromyalgia when in fact, I didn’t know because I had never tried.
4. Go more than once! Tired, shattered and sometimes miserable I went to the Gym.
Sometimes I had to dig deep and focus on that fire burning for change.
Sometimes, I had terrible sessions and there were tears in the gym….
I never gave up regardless, just kept going back – even when I didn’t want to. Consistency is critical to change and I wanted change more than anything.
Over time, I noticed the magic happening… ✨🌈
5. I challenged my fears head on. If I was scared of hurting myself or telling myself I couldn’t do it, I demanded the evidence of this. For every negative I made myself find a positive counter. Sure there were days when I wanted to quit (and did!) but once I had licked my wounds, that desire for change got me back up.
6. After training for a month or so, I noticed that if I didn’t train for a few days my symptoms were more noticeable. I can lie to anyone but myself. Physically I felt better when I train and I wanted to feel better – the first motivator.
7. I began to look different too, (see progress shots) I felt stronger and less fragile, which gave me a huge boost mentally. Chronic illness made me frightened of everything, now I felt more confident. Also, I liked the way I looked and began to think “if I’ve done this, maybe I can do more”? – Bodybuilding is 30% weights but 70% diet.
I was overcoming illness, working my ass off in the gym and I wanted something to show for it. I started catching the bug and it kept growing..
8. So now going to the gym was getting easier, I added changes to my diet, cutting out processed foods and sugar. Not all at once, again gradual but consistent changes. I began to notice on the days I ate crap, I felt crap and vice versa. Another motivator.
9. After using antidepressants on and off for 10 years with no hope of not needing them, I became aware that I was gradually missing doses, something I had been too terrified to ever do before. I realised the fitness and diet changes were boosting my mental health too. It wasn’t that I was neglecting my medication but that I was getting my dose of serotonin naturally. There was no definite decision to quit Anti D’s – again it just kind of happened.
10. Gradually it occurred to me that I was staying up later than my usual 9pm zonked state. I realised I had more energy and it meant I spent more time with my husband in the evenings – something I previously felt guilty about. ANOTHER GREAT MOTIVATOR 😁
11. My sleep improved too, after all that exercise I was out cold! (Although I still have those nights here and there)
12. Then the impossible happened….💥I began to look forward to a workout!! I still remember with shock how one day with tense shoulders and a fuzzy head I caught myself looking forward to that nights workout to ease those niggles out. What!!!
13. New habits formed. They say it takes 28 days to break a habit, while we’re breaking one, we’re making another – choose well 😉
No radical transformation into gym bunny – I just learnt that it makes me feel better and the better I felt, the more I wanted to do it. The more I did it, the more habitual it became… it became my lifestyle. When I didn’t do, I felt crap! It’s as technical as that!
At the beginning, my only aim was to consistently go to the gym. The benefits I received made the effort worth while and inspired more change…..
I feel better now than I have for years and that means the world ❤️