Your Fibromyalgia Training Checklist

Beau Bressington

There are far more serious diseases, conditions and illnesses than fibromyalgia, though if you ask anyone with this autoimmune disease about it and they will all have the same answer.

How did you get it?
What causes it?
How do you fix it?

“I have no idea”

Even the doctors don’t know, there is no certainty or answers.  Every sufferer is different and as my journey continues with this battle against unexplained pain, tight muscles, achy joints, depression, anxiety, fatigue, confusion, foggy brain, IBS, gluten intolerances, loss of motor control I have to do everything I can to still remain fit and healthy.

The list goes on for many other people, for me I sometimes consider myself lucky. I have been fit and active all of my life, and when I got diagnosed I was already in great shape which has helped fight off symptoms, but I still have my bad days, and they are really bad. Sometimes my body just shuts down. Countless times I have fallen a sleep in odd places and not woken up for over half a day.

Being active, going to the gym and playing sports is something that only Fibromyalgia suffers could dream of, my doctors and specialists can’t believe what I am able to do.

Over the past year, learning how to manage it [Fibromyalgia] other people have come to me for advice, inspiration and help. The pain and tiredness with added depression makes staying fit and healthy a major challenge for most sufferers. With my own research and experiences I have put together a checklist for Fibro sufferers to try and help them manage their own symptoms, and I am currently working on a personal video and eBook project especially for those with Fibro.

1. Weight loss
"Well no shit Einstein” I can hear you say. When we have extra fat on our bodies it produces chemicals that can inflame our bodies and make us ache, not only that but having extra fat slows down our cardiovascular system and fatigues us. So exercise and diet come into play, some exercises may be too harsh for those just getting started with exercise, so light weights and low intensity cardio are the best place to start as the body doesn’t recover as fast as normal.

2. Medication
I know it’s just a bandaid fix for now, but we don’t really have any answers for Fibro, so I take Lyrica (Pregabalin) which at least helps me get to some of my goals. It's made for epilepsy patients, it works by slowing down impulses in the brain that cause seizures. Lyrica also alters chemicals in the brain that send pain signals across the nervous system.

3. Brain Training
I do a lot of Rhyming and mind games to help me stay focused, I couldn’t imagine where my head would be without it amidst this Fibro Fog. Sometimes when I talk I will have a word stuck in my head, but it just gets stuck there, so to help I'll try and rap, just connecting words together, so my mind is staying active.

4. Stretching
Yoga, foam rolling and trigger pointing. I use all of these techniques to help take away any aches and pains and to prevent them. One theory is that our Dopamine levels are lower than usual, which results in lower pain threshold. For most people a pain is a 4/10 and it’s just a tight hip or sore ankle, this pain is an 8/10 for us and a radiating pain, so we need to try and help these as much as we can.

5. Recovery
Physio, chiropractic, massage, getting someone else to help manipulate your body back i to place, ease off some aches and help reset the neural system is a method I use too. 

6. Diet
Following a diet that doesn’t consist of inflammation heavy foods can help assist in lessening the pain threshold. Sugar & sugar-free alternatives, alcohol, pre-workout & other caffeinated drinks, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbs, MSG, gluten & casein are all things that I avoid.

7. Supplementation
When cortisol levels are high, it causes stress and anxiety, it sucks and also keeps us up at night and unable to sleep. 
When the anxiety kicks in I take an all-natural thing called Cort RX by ATP science, which helps the anxiety levels drop. When it comes to bedtime I take Delta Zone by BPM labs, which helps you get into a deep sleep that also increases your metabolic rate and helps you recover and burn fat whilst you sleep!

8. Exercise
It’s taken me a while to understand this but I’ve had to put my pride aside and drop the intensity of my workouts. Balanced workouts of cardio & weights with plenty of rest in-between. Finding the time to train is always a hard one, the motivation is down and so are your energy levels, but train when you can, when you have that clear mind and burst of energy take it.

9. Seeing a doctor
Getting anyone of the symptoms checked, there are so many that you don’t know are caused by Fibro, but a lot of them are linked, like rashes, eye sight and loss of concentration.

10. Check out the podcast by ATP Science
They have so many innovating solutions and abilities to understand how the body is working on a hormonal level. Having Fibro means they are all out of whack, and understanding how they work is a great tool for managing your own health regularly.

If you have any tips, or information you would like to share, please comment on our FB page!


Fat Burning Circuit Workout

One of the first ways that I got into training on my own (outside personal training sessions with Beau) was by doing circuits. Beau wrote up a circuit for me to do and had a lot of workouts planned for specific needs, such as core strengthening, fat burning, upper body strength, and the list goes on. We eventually turned this into the 8 Week Challenge eBook. This is one of the workouts from the eBook.

Sometimes it's hard to work out by yourself, so follow along with this workout with me and we'll get through it together!

fitnessinfo, Workout

Hard Core (+ Free Belly-Burning Ab Circuit)

By Beau

We all dream of having a flat stomach, chiseled abs or even just as little as having those dirty muffin tops gone. When doing crunches or sit-ups we are determined to see it all go, but are we doing it the right way? Are the sit-ups we are doing actually burning away that belly fat?  Ill explain what doing sit ups actually do for your body!

When we contract a muscle repeatedly we pump blood in to the tissue and make it expand which causes tiny little tears that then repair over the next week until it is fully healed. By the time they have healed its time to hit the gym again and work on your abs and core again! When building muscle it takes time for them to grow, so doing an exercise more often isn’t going to make them get bigger faster or stronger quicker (unless you use steroids). So the quickest way to getting a 6 pack isn’t from doing sit-ups every day, in fact once a week is enough!

The smaller the muscle is the more reps you have to do on it to make them work, these are called slow twitch muscles or type 1 muscles. These muscles are designed for maintaining structure and balance, if we didn’t have these you would be walking around looking at your feet all day! So when you hit the gym and want to work on your abs they have to be long endured sets in high reps.

The best way to see a flat stomach? Eating more of the the right foods. The fat that stores on your belly is more common in men than it is women, hormone fat storage is the biggest killer to great looking core. Males produce more insulin and testosterone than women and where that stores is on the belly and love handles, where as women tend to store more on the hips and thighs and back of the arms. So reducing the amount of sugars, starchy carbs, soft drinks, energy drinks and anything else that is overly processed will see the belly fat disappear in no time - If you stick to it. 

Another hormone that prevents flat abs is cortisol, a stress hormone that is released though the body and stores on the belly. When the body is put under stress, mental or physical it initiates catabolism and starts a to elevate your heart and pumps oxygen through your body and ignites a glycogen feed that breaks down proteins and turns them in to energy, what’s left over turns in to belly fat. So massage, stretching, relaxing, staying away from caffeine can help too!

Finally, lets touch on the exercise side of things!  When doing any exercise we need to engage our core, if we don’t the technique can be poor and we will see over/underdevelopment and the chance of injury. Switching on your lower back muscles is a great start to any exercise, if these aren’t engaged or are week the exercise needs to be done carefully from the start. A lot of people I train start off with having lower back problems, if getting them to change their technique is hindering their progression we need to start on an easier exercise that focuses on the same muscles groups with out relying on the core too much. For example, I had a client who I wanted to do dead lifts with to gain strength in his legs but he suffered from postural challenges like kyphosis, so his back is always arched over, so instead of trying to push him through a technique he physically cant do, we started on the leg press and got his back looked at by a professional so he can see results in his lower body, leg day is actually his favourite day. 

Apart from keeping your core switched on doing a balanced weights, HIIT and low intensity cardio program doing all of these will help you burn calories and eliminate fat, making sure you balance your energy in vs. energy out is key to burning calories, say your daily intake of calories is 1500, you need to make sure you are eating that or just a bit less plus exercise. The average weight session can burn 200-400 calories per hour.  

Now lets focus on the core training, here is an 8-week abs circuit for you to try

3 rounds:
40 cycle crunches

30 crunches
20 reverse crunches
15 frog sit-ups
10 leg raises
1 min plank
Rest for 1 min


Do this once a week at the end of a cardio session or on its own in your spare time! Lets see those abs grow!

fitnessinfo, Workout

12 Reasons You Aren't Seeing Results From Workouts

If you have been working out or dieting and haven't seen any results whatsoever it's time to assess what you are doing and why nothing is happening. There can be many causes for results to not occur to it's important to figure out what is relative to you and how you can fix it. Being stuck at the one set of measurements or body fat for an extended period of time even when you are exercising can be frustrating and upsetting, here are a few basic steps to overcome it:


1. Scales

Are you only weighing yourself to try and see a difference? This is not the most accurate way to track your progress. Sure, it's handy for a rough guideline, but muscle weighs more than fat. Try taking measurements or measuring your body fat percentage instead.


2. Overeating

Everybody is different when it comes to how much they can eat in a day. It's important to know what your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is, there are many calculators online which will help you do this. For example, I want to lose weight I need to aim to be eating around 150-200 less per day. Usually this works out well if I average it out to be 1400 less over the whole week (200 x 7), that way you can factor in your lower calorie days for your rest days, and higher calorie days for the days you do a big workout. It's important to remember that even if you are eating 'good' food your body still can't process too much of it in one go.


3. Under eating

The opposite end of the spectrum is under eating. Your body is burning calories regardless of whether you are lifting weights in the gym or sleeping, it needs energy to function. If you are only going to feed your body 500 calories per day and you expect it to function as per usual - it won't. If you let yourself go into starvation mode you start to slow your metabolism and you will burn less calories as your body wants to keep a hold of these just incase you don't feed it again.


4. Stress

If you are stressed your body kicks your sympathetic nervous system into gear, this guy is best known for controlling your stress hormones (i.e. triggering your 'fight or flight' response), which is great if you're about to be bitten by a wild animal and need to get away quickly, but if you let it run on for too long you are doing yourself more harm than good. Cortisol is responsible for fat being stored around your mid-section, particularly on your lower belly. It's important to find ways to help yourself relax, these can be yoga, meditation, breathing exercises or going for a slow walk.


5. Dehydration

Drinking enough water can play a huge factor in weight loss. Water promotes fullness and appetite control and minimise your craving for snacks. Having enough water in your system every day also helps your body stop retaining water (similar to the under eating principle) and you will find the more water you have regularly, the more your energy levels increase. When you have water in your system your body is also able to disperse proteins, amino acids and other vitamins and minerals more effectively. 


6. You're not eating healthy

Did you swap regular soft drink for the 'diet' variety, your regular butter for 'low fat' butter and replace having 3 cups of coffee a day with just 1? Chances are these are still holding you back. The difference between reduction and elimination when it comes to unhealthy foods and weight loss is absolutely incredible. Look for real food like fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains and don't drink your calories. 


7. You need to be more active

When I first started losing weight I thought going for 3-4 long runs a week was all I would need to do because I had lost weight that way before… wrong. It's great to get some cardio in when you are trying to cut fat, but to help keep the fat off (and burn even more) you need to train strength - and yes, this may mean you have to pick up a dumbbell to burn your carbohydrates more efficiently.


8. You don't eat enough fat

Sounds backwards right? Well you actually need to be consuming good fats to lose weight. You want to be aiming for monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. They help raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol, improve your mood and immune system and can help give you beautiful hair, skin and nails. Easiest places to find these? Salmon, canola oil, olive oil, flaxseed, almonds, cashews, nut butters, seeds, and avocado. 


9. You have too many excuses

"I'm tired today so I'll just do half the set". "I'm in a bad mood so I will just eat these even though I know they're not good for me." "It's fine, I will just have an extra cheat meal this week." "It's cold so I won't go for a run". "I just won't write this down in my food dairy".  Any of these sound familiar? Stop. If you can't force yourself to stop making excuses maybe it's time to invest in a personal trainer who can help you along your journey.


10. Rest and recovery

When you sleep your body goes into repair mode and the proteins in your system are very active and trying to repair the tiny tears in your muscles. Proper rest and recovery ensures your body is functioning at it's optimum level and will help you have less pain the days following a workout.


11. Party lifestyle

The amount of calories that are in alcohol don't just contribute to your BMR for the day, but the lack of sleep will deny your body of the rest it needs. If you drink alcohol your liver is busy trying to process the toxins you have loaded it up with for up to 3 days after your night out instead of trying to process your carbohydrates, fats and proteins that are needed to sustain a regular workout. 


12. Hormonal imbalance

If you are following all the above steps, feel like you have exhausted all avenues and you still aren't losing weight it can be a good idea to get your thyroid or adrenal glands tested to ensure that your body is dispersing the right hormones.