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Exercise and Nutrition for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

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Written by Hayleigh Bennett

Eat Run Lift's HIIT and female weight loss specialist. Hayleigh is exclusively available as an online coach.
Learn more about Hayleigh here >

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Hashimoto’s Disease, or Thyroiditis, is a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. It is an autoimmune condition that can cause symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, joint and muscle pain.

Through appropriate exercise and recovery methods it is possible to lose weight and/or gain lean muscle mass when diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.

Although the excess stress from exercise can cause fatigue, worsened thyroid function, depressed immunity, increased risk of injury and raised inflammation – it is important to know your own limits when training.

 

 

Training Methods

There are two suitable training methods suitable for those with Hashimoto’s Disease:
Short sessions of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training); and
Weight training with heavy weights and low repetitions.

Short and high intensity workouts such as HIIT will ensure (often limited) energy is dispersed quickly – which means the 30 minutes you had set aside for training can be shortened to 10-15 minutes, giving yourself an increased recovery time.

You’ll know you have trained well if you are breaking a sweat around the 3 minute mark, breathing deeply and rapidly, and hitting 70% or greater of your max. heart rate (220 – age in years = max. heart rate).

Take advantage of the body’s natural cortisol surge in the morning by getting to the gym or completing some at-home training within 10-30 minutes of waking up – before breakfast. It is easier to burn fat during this time, completing fasted will help reduce insulin resistance.

Training the larger muscle groups can increase overall lean muscle mass. Heavier weights are better for your metabolism in low to mid range repetitions.

Constant repetitions of 20+ can cause bad Achilles tendonitis or shoulder problems.
Make sure to work your way up in weights rather than starting heavy – a personal trainer is best to assist you with this.

 

 

Over-Training

Over exercising can heighten symptoms of Hashimoto’s, including:
Increased inflammation,
Fatigued adrenals,
Excess bad gut bacteria; and
Leaky gut
(where undigested foods, bacteria, yeast and other pathogens enter the blood stream).

Appropriate exercise boosts the chemicals in the body that improve brain function, increase overall well-being and raise energy levels. There are some pre-exiting factors that will increase your vulnerability to over training with Hashimoto’s such as low-high cortisol levels, systematic inflammation, immune weakness, nutrient deficiencies and obesity.

If you are unsure whether you are over training or just simply experiencing DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), you may notice that you are experiencing lengthy recovery times or being in a state where you can not imagine getting out of bed the following day due to joint and/or muscle pain.

You may also notice that although you are consistently training, your performance is declining, muscle strength is decreasing, and you are experiencing a lack or loss in motivation and enthusiasm to train.

Aim to feel refreshed and energised after each training session! Taking time to recover is extremely important – especially when it comes to sleeping.

Adequate sleep will encourage muscle repair, improve the metabolic system and help your brain to recharge. It’s important to adopt a lifestyle that will support your diet, exercise and supplementation in order to feel your best and to slow the progress of the autoimmune disease.

 

 

Nutrition

Nutrient timing for training is important whether you have an autoimmune disease or not. For those with Hashimoto’s disease it is best to consume a drink of electrolytes before training (avoid sugary ‘sports drink’ options) and look into supplementing with n-acetyl l-carnitine.

Post workout you’ll be best to consume something that will aid in reducing inflammation such as turmeric, alongside another drink of electrolytes.

*It is necessary to eliminate sugars, processed foods and minimise or remove gluten, diary, corn, rice and other simple carbohydrates from your diet.

*Focus on nourishing your body with good quality meats, vegetables (organic where possible) and good fats such as avocados, olive oil and coconut oil.

*Protein is also important and should be consumed at 1.5-2g per kilogram of body weight (around 40% of your diet).

If you feel as though you are eating nutritious and ‘clean’ foods but not experiencing any benefits you may want to consider food sensitivity testing. Probiotics and fermented foods can also encourage a balance of bacterial flora.

 

Macro & Micro-Nutrients

Our bodies need macro and micronutrients to thrive! If you are malnourishing it by under-eating or following a high calorie deficit your body will sabotage any progress by slowing down the metabolism or causing you to have cravings and even feel hungry when you have had enough.

The most common nutrient deficiencies in people with Hashimoto’s are:
B vitamins,
Selenium,
Magnesium,
Vitamin D; and
Ferritin.

 


References

Kalanick, B. (2015, January) When Exercise Harms Your Thyroid, Bottom Line Health. Retrieved from https://bottomlineinc.com/health/thyroid/exercise-harms-thyroid

Dr. Wentz, I. (2018, January) How to Lose Weight With Hashimoto’s, Thyroid Pharmacist. Retrieved from https://thyroidpharmacist.com/articles/how-to-lose-weight-with-hashimotos/

Ryan, M. (2014) How to Exercise With Hashimoto’s, Hashimoto’s Healing. Retrieved from https://hashimotoshealing.com/how-to-exercise-with-hashimotos/

(2017, May) Extreme Exercise is Good for You Right? Not if You Have Hashimoto’s, Functional Medicine; Functional Health News. Retrieved from http://functionalhealthnews.com/2017/05/extreme-exercise-is-good-for-you-right-not-exactly/

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The Correct Way To Warm Up Before Weights

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Written by Hayleigh Bennett

Eat Run Lift's HIIT and female weight loss specialist. Hayleigh is exclusively available as an online coach.
Learn more about Hayleigh here >

Instagram - Blog 

 

 

How often have you skipped a warm up before a weights or resistance training session, simply because you:

a) Don’t know what to do;
b) Don’t have the time;
c) Don’t think it’s necessary; or
d) All of the above

If you can relate to any of those, you’ll want to read on.

 

Let’s start with the why; why do we need to warm up before a weights session?

We need to prepare our body for exercise by increasing our heart rate, loosening our joints and increasing blood flow and circulation. We need to perform a warm up prior to training to increase the blood flow to our muscles, which enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, and promotes the energy releasing reactions used during exercise. Warming up also raises our muscle’s temperature (hence the term ‘warm up’) for optimal flexibility and efficiency.

 

So, does that mean we just need to do a few extra km’s on the treadmill?

Not necessarily, there are multiple ways to help our body prepare for a weights training session.

 

Dynamic Stretches

These aren’t just your average stretches – what we need to achieve with dynamic stretching is activation! Dynamic stretches mimic sports-like movements, prepare the body for activity and increase range of movement (ROM). Unlike static stretches, the end position of the stretch is not held therefore is felt further with each motion. Some examples of dynamic stretches include walking lunges, arm swings/circles, plank windmill/twist, toe touches, hip raises, high knees and bear crawls.

 

Joint Mobility Exercises

We’d all be lying if we said we didn’t want to jump higher, run faster and move without pain. All of this can be made possible by increasing our range of motion through joint mobility exercises. Increasing the flexibility in our muscles and tendons allow for a greater ROM. Joint mobility exercises are similar to that of dynamic stretching or stretching while moving through movement. Examples of these exercises include walking hip openers and thoracic spine windmills on the floor.

 

Progressive Overload

This is something that we do during our training, so think of it as a pre-exercise warm up – or a gradual increase in intensity during sets. In order for our muscles to grow we need to provide them with stressors to adapt to. Start with your bare minimum, whether it’s body weigh bench dips, squats using a barbell without weights or using the 4kg weights before hitting the heavier weights for your bent over rows. This will assist in preparing your body through the proper range of movement to achieve hypertrophy, strength, power and endurance. This is when it can be important to write stuff down: click through to Rachel Aust’s #plantraincreate journal.

 

Conditioning

Try to keep conditioning as your warm up to a minimum – after all, we want our weights to be the thing that takes up our strength and energy! Skipping, walking with gradual incline on a treadmill, step-ups or using the step machine should be kept to 2-5 minutes before training and are better kept for your HIIT sessions. If you find that you have some energy left after your training and before static stretching you can add your 2km row here. After all, it’s shampoo (exercise) and then conditioner.

 

Completing a warm up is essential for the time (and sweat) you are putting in to your weights training. Make sure to avoid static stretching (where you hold the stretch in one place for a few seconds) cold muscles before your session by opting for dynamic stretching. Spending 3 – 5 minutes before your training session to increase your blood flow will increase your range of motion, help decrease muscle stiffness and lower the risk of injury (see my 7 Trainer Approved Tips to Prevent Injury here!).


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10 Tips for Getting Fit on a Budget

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Written by Hayleigh Bennett

Eat Run Lift's HIIT and female weight loss specialist. Hayleigh is exclusively available as an online coach.
Learn more about Hayleigh here >

Instagram - Blog 

 

 

Whether you’re a student, saving for a holiday or already spent your hard-earned money on a pair of training shoes (no seriously, these are important!!) exercising on a budget is super easy! You don’t always need weights to achieve your goals.

 

1. Exercise From Home

Body-weight exercises come in many variations, and simple home equipment such as resistance bands and skipping ropes can make a huge difference. Most of these things can be found on Amazon or at discount stores, even your local Buy/Sell/Swap page might have something available.

 

2. Get Out There

There are so many great ways to get fit for free! Try walking or jogging laps around your local sporting ground, swimming laps at the beach, go for a bush walk or hike – not only will you burn up some energy, but you can also get some enviable snaps to share on social media of lush rainforest or waterfalls. Outdoor gyms are also popping up all of the time – hello muscle beach!

 

3. Group Exercise

Whether it’s at a training studio, gym, or youth center – there are so many different options available when it comes to group training. Maybe it’s a group of 2-5 with a personal trainer or something bigger like mall walking. Some workplaces even have a corporate fitness program in place – if not, why not! Get in touch with a trainer local to you to see if they can get the ball rolling.

 

4. Apps & Journals

There are so many apps to choose from that are either free or very affordable. Apps such as Lifesum and My Fitness Pal will help you to track your nutrition, or a journal, such as Rachel's Train Journal, will help hold you accountable and on the right way towards your goals.

 

5. YouTube

There are so many fitness specialists sharing their knowledge on YouTube – Rachel Aust has a number of different workouts including at-home and gym options. My fave? Her full body toning workout routine that can be done at home – click me to follow through! Be warned, some routines may not be safe – be sure to keep an eye for the videos that have a higher rating.

 

6. Cut The Junk!

How much is it hurting not only your budget but also your waistline each time that you’re ordering from a fast food chain? Especially when it’s so convenient to have the food delivered to you. Cut it out! Healthy food isn’t expensive – in Australia you can find fresh produce such as carrots for $1.50/kilo and tuna at 99c a tin.

 

7. Drink Water

I feel like this should be obvious. It’s basically free. Opt for a reusable bottle and you will save hundreds, if not thousands – not to mention you’ll reduce your one-use-plastic footprint.

 

8. Discounts

A lot of online stores will offer a discount when you sign up to their mailing list (we offer a 15% discount for everyone on our list!) – plus you’ll be the first to hear about their exclusive offers. After a name brand pair of tights but can’t quite afford them? Wait for the end of season sales to snap up a bargain!

 

9. Change Your Routine

Park further away from the shop front, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus earlier, cycle or roller blade to work or school… get up 15 minutes earlier and give it a go.

 

10. Online Community

Accountability – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Have someone else keep you accountable! Get a workout buddy, share your progress on social media, read fitness blogs (you’re already off to a great start), join a group challenge and have some fun with it.


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Fat Melting Core Workout!

 

Written by Hayleigh Bennett

Eat Run Lift's HIIT and female weight loss specialist. Hayleigh is exclusively available as an online coach.
Learn more about Hayleigh here >

Instagram - Blog 


 

Have you ever felt insecure about your mid-section? You’re definitely not alone. Whether you’ve felt uncomfortable without a shirt on in summer or less-than-average in those jeans through winter… we’ve all been there. 

Did you know that there are two types of abdominal fat?

Subcutaneous fat is the type that you can pinch and prevents us from seeing any sign of ‘abs’. Although it is not necessarily bad for our health, it can make us feel insecure about our appearance. Visceral fat is hormonal and relates to the fat cells sitting around your heart, lungs, liver and other organs – this stuff is harmful! Sure, we need some of it for ‘cushioning’ around our organs, but if you have too much of it you are more likely to be at risk. Some of the biggest risk factors of visceral fat include increased blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin sensitivity and is linked to diabetes and heart disease.

When people slim down through exercise and diet, visceral fat disappears twice as fast as subcutaneous fat according to Dr. Klein, Professor of Medicine and Nutritional Science at Washington University School of Medicine. One of the easiest ways to measure this is to get a body scan – enquire through your GP or local fitness centre.

Spot-training your abdominal muscles will help grow and strengthen your core - the higher the intensity of this training the better chance of burning fat. Just remember, good nutrition is just as important for losing belly fat – eat fewer processed foods, watch your portions and increase your protein and fibre intake.

Having strength through your core will improve your stability and your range of motion as well as helping to maintain a good posture. The following workout will target your abdominal muscles that connect to the spine, pelvis and shoulders. Exercising these muscles provide the foundation for all arm and leg movements and will help to prevent injury from poor posture.

What I want you to do during the workout (especially the first time that you try this one out!) is to focus on the activation and movement of the muscles. Make sure to move from your waist rather than your hips – and don’t forget to breathe!

Equipment needed: none!
All you need is a carpeted floor or mat.

10 x Burpees

20 x Leg Raises

30 x Reverse Crunches

40 x Bicycle Crunches

50 x Mountain Climbers

Repeat 3 – 5 times.

Rest for 30 - 45 seconds between each set.

Complete this 2 – 3 times per week – try to include it as a ‘cool down’ after your cardio sessions. This workout should only take 15-20 minutes.
 

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Strength or Size? What Do I Train?

If you’re a beginner you might be thinking, “Hold on.. isn’t weight training just weight training?” Well, no, not really. The exercises you choose to do, combined with the amount of weight used and number of reps can alter how you’re training your body. Training for strength (example: powerlifter) is about increasing the amount of force your body can exert, to lift heavier. Training for size (or mass, example: bodybuilder) is more about ‘sculpting’ the muscles to look a particular way, and getting that pump when you train.

If you’re just starting out at the gym it’s a good idea to aim toward strength training to build yourself a basic foundation and have something to work with, it’s also a good idea to start off around 10 reps of each exercise (which is more than an advanced strength training routine) because on average it takes a combined 500 reps for your brain to recognise the movement patterns. However, once you reach a particular point you may want to decide to focus solely on strength training with heavy, compound exercises and low reps, or to increase your training volume and focus more on building size. Training volume is the number of reps and sets that are included in your workout; the more reps and sets you do, the greater the training volume.

Training for strength usually involves focusing on compound exercises, which are exercises that target many muscles at once. Prime examples of these are the deadlift, squat and bench press. The general rule that you see for strength training is to keep reps low, and the load high in any particular exercise (the number you will do in your rep range will depend on both your fitness level and your body type). This is to focus on the force that you’re able to exert.

Training for size needs a different approach, it usually will require you to work your muscles to complete fatigue through small, isolated exercises with a higher number of reps and a lighter weight. The amount of weight that you lift in a mass-building workout is not as critical as it is when you are training for strength, rather, the primary focus should be higher reps and fatiguing your muscles and getting a pump.

Depending on what your goals are, and if you’re not one of the aforementioned types of athletes, you may want to consider working in both training styles in a way that compliment each other (if you’re lost at how to combine them into an effective workout plan our Get Lean Guides cover that for you). It can also be easier to achieve a particular training style through the type of exercise you choose to do. We’ve created a chart for you to help you understand a little better (click to enlarge). Of course, there are many more exercises than this that we couldn’t possibly fit into such a compact chart, and some exercises (example: deadlifts) will work far more than just one muscle group. It’s also important to note that some exercises can be completed using different techniques to help focus on slightly different muscle groups. Think of this chart as a basic guide to strength versus size exercises.

Remember, just because you see someone at the gym doing a certain exercise a particular way doesn’t mean that you need to as well. Figure out what your goals are, and then find a training plan (or trainer) to help you achieve them!

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7 Day Plan To Get Back On Track

Get back on track and motivated in 7 days.

Whether it's coming back from a holiday, recovering from sickness or from being just plain lazy for far too long now, it's time to get you back into routine and fit again. I’m helping you with 7 easy steps that can get you motivated again and ready to kick butt!

Day 1: Write down your goals.
You may have set some goals before, but did you write them down? Did you just think of a time you need to be fit for and just hope it would happen? Write them down, stick them on your fridge, near your computer, somewhere.

What do you want? (Specifics E.G. Size 10 jeans, lose 5 kgs 3cms off your arms)
When do you want it?  (E.G. My birthday 21st of July 2016)
Where will it be? (Out with friends, getting dinner)
Why do you want it? (You need to feel confident in your new dress)

How are you going to achieve it?
How is it going to feel when you achieve it?
How is it going to feel if you don’t?


Answer these questions, keep them close.



Day 2: Throw out 'junk' food/processed food.
Try it for 1 week, not only will your body be able to burn fat more efficiently, but your skin will clear up, sickness will drop and you will feel healthier and you will notice a slight change in your waistline.
 


Day 3: Plan out a new routine.
Planning is key, working around a schedule to fit in work, study and play and keeping it balanced is the best way to not burn out and get tired. Sort your day into hourly blocks and work from there. Plan at least a few days in advanced if possible, and each morning sit down and write out your 'to do' list for that day.

 

Day 4: Create a work out playlist.
I’ve written about how music can motivate you and keep you energised throughout your session., release endorphins and get your blood pumping. Make sure you make something long enough that it can take you from the time you need to go to the gym and to the end of your warm down.



Day 5: Buy some workout gear or equipment.
I think investing a bit of money no matter how much or little it is can keep you more inclined to exercise when you have something to show for it. Equipment to use at home, a new training program, some new shoes, clothes even. 



Day 6: Do something different.
Go hiking, try a sport maybe even some new fitness yoga hybrid that your friend Michelle has been raving on about.  Doing exercise is obviously not the most enjoyable thing in the world for many people, but the results are, and if you can do something different that is a step closer to getting you fit, then just do it!

 

Day 7: Book in with a Personal Trainer.
This is the final step when it comes to committing to your results,  some PTs can be can be a luxury, but even just getting them to write you a program can be a great start. Although all of my clients get to experience my dad jokes, missed numbers whilst counting reps and massages. Check out the Eat Run Lift Trainers if you're from Brisbane.

It doesn’t have to stop there, you can do many more things to continue and narrow down your goals. If you need your hormones checked see a doctor, need a meal plan? See a nutritionist.

What have you done in the past to get yourself back on track?

 

Workout

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!