If you have been experiencing spontaneous and unexplainable episodes of tiredness, fatigue and headaches that you just can’t snap out of this blog may help you. (I know the picture I have used for this blog is far from glamorous. I look pale, tired and lifeless – but it is an honest photo taken on one of my lifeless days!)
Probably since moving to London 3 years ago to undertake a masters degree my energy levels have started to play up. Thinking it was due to stress, which it probably was I just kept working, training and living, whilst fighting my symptoms. Over the past 9 months my symptoms became progressively worse. 2-3 times a month I would get episodes of the worst symptoms that just didn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t understand why I would experience them at my age, so I put it down to the hectic London lifestyle, my early starts and late finishes, starting up my own business, the intense training programs and general stress. I decided to cut back slightly on hours and training, but my symptoms persisted. The symptoms I was experiencing were the following:
- Severe fatigue
- Intense headaches
- Inability to wake up in the morning
- Shaking and tremors first thing in the morning
- Tiredness throughout the day
- Palpitations/racing heart (which is not common with my diagnosis)
- Worsening of symptoms around menstruation and ovulation
- Memory loss
Month after month these symptoms would recur, no matter how much I rested and how many supplements and vitamins I took. A few weeks ago it got to the point where I became so upset because I couldn’t explain my symptoms and they started to effect my career, my social life, my relationship, my training and my lifestyle in general. It was time to see my GP Dr Laurence Gerlis at samedaydoctor.co.uk. He assessed me thoroughly and wanted to take blood tests immediately. Sure enough, the test results proved Dr Gerlis’ diagnosis to be right – Hypothyroidism.
This answered so many of my questions, and just knowing WHY I had been feeling so unwell already made such a difference. It was time to take action!
Dr Gerlis recommended I started a very low dose of Thyroxine to kick start my thyroid. Within a week this started to help me and my energy levels were elevating gradually, my headaches were diminishing and I was able to wake up in the morning!
Although I was generally feeling better, I still wanted to evaluate further and have my hormones assessed by an Endocrinologist (a hormone specialist). Dr Gerlis recommended that I see Dr Mark Vanderpump. Getting specialist advice was the best decision, because after all who could give me better advice?
Hypothyroidism and Training
Did I have to change my training program? Yes, I did. It happens that low intensity steady state cardio slows down the thyroid. I was spending hours a week on the stepper and treadmill doing my cardio. This was instantly knocked off my program. I was always following a high volume program with sessions of 1.5-2 hours a day. These volume sessions (low weight, high rep) were changed to strength sessions (high weight, low rep), and my sessions now last about 45 mins to a maximum of 1 hour 15 minutes. I am still adjusting to this program, but it seems to be working for me.
Finding out why I was feeling so horrible was the best thing for me. An explanation always helps you to understand the process. The process is slow and frustrating. You need patience and you need to listen to your body (a lot of us, including myself are guilty of pushing ourselves TOO hard). Find a good doctor, take control of the situation and GET BETTER!
1. Seek specialist advice from an endocrinologist
2. See a nutritionist for dietary guidance, including supplementation advice
3. Find an experienced personal trainer to structure your training program
4. Sleep when you need to sleep!!
If you have any questions or need any advice please feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org