The reality is there will probably be about a million posts about this. I’m still in the relatively early stages of getting myself fit again and there’s seems to be a lot of up and downs but I’ve kept moving and I’m definitely getting stronger over all so that’s got to be a good thing.
The stress and anxiety I’ve had the last few years about having to start again was definitely a lot worse than actually starting again. The process of rebuilding my fitness has over all been quite fun so far.
When I was first diagnosed with hyperthyroidism I was told to stay on complete bed rest until my resting heart rate come down to under 100bpm. It took a few weeks which gave me a lot of time to watch crap TV, read and plan my life.
The first book I read was Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr which helped me get myself off the fags. See ‘I Quit‘ for details on that.
But once I gave up smoking I found I had free time even when I came off bed rest and it made me want to start exercising again. Fitness, pole and aerial were a big part of who I used to be and I missed them. I was also really conscious over the fact that my thyroid could be stabilising soon and I was worried about regaining the weight I had lost.
I am a qualified personal trainer but because it had been a long time since I’ve tailored exercise and diet programmes and I’d lost my confidence in my knowledge, I decided I wanted assistance in rebuilding the muscle I’d lost from hyperthyroidism.
I read Thinner Leaner Stronger by Mike Matthews. The book provides both a diet and exercise plan to follow along with the aim to get stronger. However I couldn’t start with that programme straight away. The concept of Thinner, Leaner, Stronger is to lift heavy. I was a bit concerned my joints wasn’t ready to go straight into that. But I kept the weight training programmes on hold for when I was ready to start them. And I will describe and review the programmes in more detail on another post.
On 2nd July I did check to see how many push ups I could do. I’d always been able to do push ups and I didn’t understand people who couldn’t. I was shocked to find I couldn’t even do two push ups on my knees!!!! I didn’t even know it was possible to not be able to do push ups on your knees. I was in shock but it confirmed that lifting heavy probably wasn’t the best way to restart my exercise journey.
My first appointment with endocrinology was on the 4th July 2019, so I waited to ask there if I could start exercising again. I didn’t get any clear answers and I don’t think he understood what I was talking about when I mentioned pole and aerial arts. So I’ve had no advice from doctors on how to approach exercise and I have no idea what’s considered safe or advisable with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism. But I decided to start slowly, with a rough plan. I set myself goals for the rest of the year with the aim to be able to do 10 full push ups on my toes by October, to be inverting with control on the pole by November, to climb the silks and do at least one drop or roll with good control and technique again by January 2020 and to have my splits back by March 2020.
Getting back in the air was really important to me, both on the pole and on aerial apparatus but I knew I wasn’t really strong enough for doing much aerial yet. I could barely walk up the stairs so I knew trying to climb the silks was a little bit to ambitious to start. But I did start doing little bits on the pole a few times per week to try and improve my confidence and to help build up my upper body strength a little. I couldn’t do much to start with, even spins were a no go and within about ten minutes on my first session, I was completely knackered and had to stop. Despite being completely shite and having to repeat the basics, that I’ve been teaching for the past 13 years, I made myself do some pole at least three times a week and pushed myself to increase the duration a little bit every session and slowly build myself back up.
I started walking to. I didn’t do a huge amount of that either. I just walked from the hospital to the academy after blood tests or appointments and I started taking Daisy (my pain in the ass, beautiful, black Labrador) out for a 20 minute walk in the evening.
I wasn’t doing much but it was more than I had done in a long time and it felt positive. I wasn’t as harsh on myself this time round with the pole because I understood why I couldn’t do everything I wanted. I’d been given an explanation for my muscle weakness and it made me feel ok about failing. Most of the time anyway. Some days I still had tantrums and got impatient and frustrated but overall pole felt good again and since I stopped smoking walking the dog became fun again to, I could breathe!!!
And I started stretching. As well as losing strength, I had also lost all my flexibility. So I signed up to Easyflexibility’s Hamstring Beginners and Hip Flexor Essentials programmes. These were fantastic for me because not only did they work on the mobility, they also worked on strengthening the muscles at their end range. I did both programmes about three times per week and in between did a lot of maintenance stretching and foam rolling. I was very conscious of my weaknesses so didn’t push my stretches but I made noticeable progress daily. I’d never had that before with flexibility training. And I do think maybe the fast progression was partly because of my lack of lean muscle to get in the way. But I made sure I did the strengthening exercises to and focused a lot on active flexibility. I managed to get my splits on my left side in under a month of training them every day. That was extremely motivating! I also noticed that my joint pain wasn’t as bad. Some days I was still in a lot of pain but in general I started feeling a lot better and I think the mobility training really helped that.
Towards the end of July I started joining in with Metafit to. At first I wasn’t really doing it as the HIIT workout it’s designed to be and didn’t allow my heart rate to go above 140bpm. But I did low impact versions of all the exercises and I was managing to keep moving for the full duration. And by the end of July I was able to do 15 push ups on my knees.
Despite having lost a lot of weight leading up to my diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, it seems to have mainly been muscle loss. My body fat percentage on 1st July was 28.74% and despite my weight remaining the same by July 31st my body fat percentage was down to 25.42%.
Some days were very difficult and I really struggled with motivation. Some days I had to improvise a little or adapt what I was doing, as I didn’t have the energy to stick to my plan but I made myself do something if I could. And during July 2019 I think my thyroid levels were the closest to optimal they have been in a long time. Or at least for the first half of the month they were and I think that really assisted in getting started with training again. Despite me being weak, my energy levels were good, my frame of mind was positive and a lot of the symptoms I had been having started to improve. And by 1st August 2019 I was determined to take the next step and start training again more seriously.
I have no affiliation with any training programmes or books described in this post. They were all purchased by myself and I am receiving no compensation for my opinions on them. However if anyone does wanna throw me some freebies, they’ll be more than welcome. 😂😂😂