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Training with Fibromyalgia - a primer for Fitness Professionals

Fitness and Fibromyalgia
The second of my posts about training clients with chronic illness (the first on EDS is here)

Learning how to achieve fitness in a chronically ill body was first my way of life, and later, my profession; as I train or programme for a number of Personal Training clients. I have EDS and Fibromyalgia (which commonly presents alongside EDS).

While the physiology and mechanisms behind EDS are relatively well understood, at least in terms of recognising the roles collagen plays in our bodies and the effects of an anomaly, fibromyalgia is a bit of a tricky one. The diagnosis, causes and management of fibromyalgia are not very well understood, and while progress is being made in terms of recognising physiological markers etc, we are still very much in the dark.

One thing that is generally agreed on however, is that exercise is good therapy for fibromyalgia, and that's where we come in.


Scope of practice
Here we go again...

Fitness professionals are there to help …
Recent posts

Training Ehlers Danlos Athletes - a primer for the Fitpro.

When you have a rare health condition, it's pretty exciting when you encounter someone who knows about it. Even more so when you encounter people who are interested in it and more importantly, understanding how to bridge the gap and work with it.

This is why I am really happy to be seeing more and more fitness professionals asking "I have a client with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, what do I need to know?"

As a fitpro, and athlete living with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome I am always happy to chat to trainers looking to broaden their understanding, and as I am often answering the same questions, I thought it would be good to do a write up.


Quick disclaimer before we start - I'm not a medic, and this is not for medics. I'm going to provide you with as many references as I can, but please seek specific medical input from your/your client's health care professionals. And with that we get to our first point.

Scope of practice.
Quick, check your job title. Are you a personal tr…

Becoming a powerlifter - Getting into my stride.

It's been ages since I updated on my powerlifting journey, so what's been happening?

I did my second competition
Last July in fact. It was the Gloucester and Wiltshire Championships. It was good to get out and compete again, and I felt well prepared by Ryan from Project Barbell.

Good news: I put 40kg on my previous meet total. Which I was pretty happy about.
Annoyances: I was disqualified on my 100kg squat (a pb I'd never even attempted before) for reracking the bar too fast *DOH* and my third deadlift was a bit sloppy. I got 6/9 lifts.

I came away from that meet realising I needed to work harder at getting my head in the game, and not being either stressed or distracted in the competition environment.


View this post on Instagram

My favourite #squat #bench and #deadlift from yesterday's meet. Thanks to @breaking_barbells for filming @ryangriff_projectbarbell for coaching and handling @swindon_barbell_club for hosting Fab day. #powerlifting A post shared by Claire Salem

Step away from the New Year weight loss.

I was helping my son get ready for school this week, and we discovered that his school trousers would no longer do up.

"Oooh, looks like you've done some growing in the holiday!" I said, to which he retorted;

"Well, yeah... it IS 2019"

Of course. Silly me. How could I not have considered that.

On reflection I realised that this is exactly what I would like to say to most people who come to me concerned about festive weight gain.

Why the New Year Diet?
There's two types of New Year dieters.

The first type had resolved to get on a new health kick, to address some unhealthy habits or lose a bit of weight, probably before Christmas. But they left it until New Year, because that's a nice milestone to work with and starting a new regime in the chaos of the holidays is just asking for trouble - it's easier to build routine and discipline when things have calmed down a bit.

The others have gained weight over the holidays, and are now worrying about losing i…

Here's the best calorie counter in the world... and it's free!

How many calories should I consume every day?How many calories am I using in my workout?Why am I not losing weight when I appear to be in a caloric deficit?What's the best app for calorie tracking?

I'm not going to answer any of these questions. We, my friends, are going to throw those all out of the window. Because they aren't the right questions.

Calorie tracking is notoriously inaccurate. It's almost impossible to calculate your calorie intake with any useful level of accuracy. And unless you have an exercise physiology lab, you aren't getting near with calories out either. The best you can hope for is that the inaccuracies cancel each other out and you end up in the right ball park.

Calorie counting is also laborious, boring and potentially invites obsessive, disordered eating behaviours.

[It's sometimes a useful tool as an advanced level strategy for athletes under supervision, but not most of us who are simply trying to maintain a healthy weight.]

But mos…

I'm going to help you find the best diet for you!

It's the most common question people ask me when they find out I'm a Nutritionist:

"What's the best diet?"
So today, I am going to tell you... You are welcome.

The best diet for what?
So the first question I will ask is... what are your goals? What are you actually trying to achieve?

Gym culture tends to revolve around bodybuilders, because it tends to glorify that aesthetic. But a bodybuilder's eating habits are really not very helpful for someone who is working out 3-4 times a week and trying to lose weight.

Eating for performance is a very different beast from eating for weight loss, and both of those can be very different from eating for good health.

[for instance the protocols I would use to help a physique competitor cut fat for stage are very different from how I would handle a non-athlete wanting to lose fat for health; and also very different from how I would support a weight-class athlete, like a boxer or powerlifter, cut weight for competition.]

Whe…

Getting it done

My goodness I've been up to my ears recently!

A bunch of work came to a close, I took on some more, and then some other stuff came up and turned what I was expecting to be a fallow period into a flurry of tasks and deadlines.

And because of this, the several blogs I have on my to-do list, remain not done.

But I thought I would check in quickly and talk to you about how I get through those mad to do lists, and avoid getting bogged down by small stuff - because it was a hard lesson to learn.

Left to my own devices, I am both a procrastinator and a perfectionist. I want things right, but sometimes that means they don't get done.

I also suffer from social anxiety. In some ways this is an advantage when I work primarily in connecting with people, It makes me mindful in the way I communicate, and empathic with their uneasiness when it comes to the deep talk. It also means I really need a kick up the butt to reach out, or to get communication done, I need it to be right. Is it tactfu…