Since last November, I have been working with a client who has fibromyalgia. I had some experience helping people work through this condition in the past, but this was my first long-term client with the disease.
The CDC defines fibromyalgia as is a condition that causes pain all over the body, sleep problems, fatigue, and emotional and mental distress. Previous to working with me, she had started taking Plexus supplements which helped tremendously but felt like something was missing. She decided to reach out to me to start a strength training program.
When creating a program for someone with fibromyalgia, you must consider these basic principles:
1. Start with no weight. Literally. Go through range of motion exercises without weight.
2. Assess balance and flexibility. Be creative in introducing balance exercises.
3. Add weight 1-3 lbs at a time to exercises.
4. Start with one set of 6-10 reps. Increase every 2-4 weeks.
5. Never do an exercise to fatigue. I use the 70-80% rule.
6. Do not completely enter into full extension (locking knees, elbows, etc) with any exercise.
7. Rest between sets. I rarely use supersets.
During our 10 months together, she told me that she feels stronger, sleeps much better, experiences less pain and enjoys exercise more than she had previously. Originally, I had also encouraged her to get a step counter and to start at 4,000 steps per day. That might seem minimal, but with chronic pain, too much too soon can make symptoms worse. She is now regularly walking over 8,000 steps per day!!
If you know anyone who suffers from chronic pain, please encourage them to consider researching the benefits of exercise. Chronic pain can cripple their motivation and subtle suggestions can help if they are fed up with their disease. If you have any questions about developing a program that suits someone with fibromyalgia, please contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 Behaviors to Avoid this Fall
WIth the onset of shortened daylight hours, it is easy to slip into some dangerous habits this fall. Here are a few to think about and structure your daily routine in order to avoid.
1. Sleeping in -- Changing your sleeping habits because you don't like to get up before the sun does can alter how you feel during the day. Try to get up at the same time each day. Your body recognizes a pattern of rest and when the pattern is disrupted, this can make you feel lethargic and low on energy.
2. Coffee -- What are you putting in your coffee?! Are you drinking more coffee when the weather gets cooler and the days are shorter? I know I do. Make sure you're not adding anything "gross" to your coffee. This means artificial sweeteners (or just sugar in general), creamer, and other artificial flavors. Stick to black coffee if possible. Plus, is it really coffee anymore after you add all of that stuff??
3. Get outside -- Yes it's colder, but that doesn't mean you can't adapt to the cooler temps. Cold weather clothing is warmer and more comfortable than ever so continue your outdoor activity and dress accordingly. Treadmills are awful and we could all use some fresh air.
4. Vegetables -- All of those delicious summer plants are sadly becoming out-of-season. Fill up on the good fall stuff -- sweet potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, etc. Here's a great list.
Embrace fall and stay engaged to your well-being. That way you don't have to worry about the "I need to get in shape for summer" crowd next year!
A typical day - sad or awesome?
I get a lot of questions about my daily schedule from many of my friends/clients. Here is the most "typical" daily schedule (no day is typical):
4:30am - ALARM!
4:45 - Breakfast
5:15 - Out the door
5:30 - Client Training
7:15 - Pool workout or office tasking
8:30 - Food
9:00 - Client Training
1:00 - Cycle or Pool workout
2:30 - Food
3:00 - Client training or working at Garry Gribbles
8:30 - home for the night - Food
9:00 - reading, LIGHTS OUT!
I'm so fortunate that my parents forced a disciplined sleeping schedule for us growing up. Overall, it has kept me out of trouble (let's forget about college...), happy and healthy. I wouldn't trade this schedule for any 9-5'er. I find extreme fulfillment in accomplishing both working and working out before some 20 and 30-somethings even open their eyes. Also, coffee is helpful and enhances my love for the early morning hours.
I encourage everyone to find "normalcy" in their weekly routine. You'll find yourself becoming increasingly productive and that promotes additional satisfaction in your personal life.