The Story So Far
In the first and second parts of this series of articles, I gave a history of my experiences with Weight Training and Chronic Fatigue, defined some of the terms used, told in brief how I managed to get back into Weight Training and gave a run-down on the equipment that I use or have used.
This third and last article concludes by summarising the key points and touching on some issues, such as nutrition, that I have not yet mentioned. Lastly, I am providing a list of the online and other resources that have used over these last months and before.
One thing that I have not mentioned in the previous articles is nutrition, which may come as a surpise to regular readers of this site, where food is a majority topic. Correct nutrition is an important part of managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; correct nutrition is an important part in an athlete's regime. Combine the two and you have a critical and complex factor that is simply beyond the scope of this article. Nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all subject; after all, each and every one of us is unique. I know what works for me but, as they say, "your mileage may vary". Consuming adequate protein is only a start. (See References.)
If you feel up to a little research, there is plenty of reading matter out there (once again, see References). There are also, of course, competent professionals who will be able to advise you. I would, however, make a word of warning: whether you are reading information or being told it, you will find conflicting opinions. Please, always, review all information critically. Does such-and-such an article cite references? If so, read them if they are available. (I have seen articles aimed at the bodybuilding market - generally endorsing a product - that look nice and scientific, cite references, but following the references shows them to be scarcely relevant and/or not supportive of the claims made). Doctors and nutritionists - even good ones - may have their own pet theories and panaceas (I know one who swears by apple cider vinegar as a cure for anything from aching joints to the plague). Never be afraid to ask "why?" or "is this just your opinion?". You may decided to go along with them or not; the important thing is to consider carefully what you learn and not to accept anything blindly - especially if it involves you having to part with money. [End of sermon.]
In no particular order:
- Safety first.
- If beginning Weight Training for the first time, or even getting back into it after a long break, consider professional coaching and check with your doctor.
- Slow and steady is the key. Even if you have had a good level of fitness or strength in the past, treat this as a new venture.
- Allow adequate rest.
- Listen to your body.
- Don't dehydrate - remember to drink. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated!
- Remember that there are "gadgets" that can help you around injuries or injury-prone areas.
- Above all, enjoy yourself! (Seriously. Enjoying your workouts is about the best motivation you can have to continue.)
The Story Goes On
Is this the end of the story? Certainly not. Exercise is a key to Health, Health is part of Life, and Life goes on. I will continue to lift weights as I am able; over time, I am certain that this will result in improvements to my condition and quality of life. Not only that - I will also continue to lift weight simply because I enjoy it!
Remember my "I am not a..." disclaimer in the first article? Whilst I am not, I am deeply indebted to my two reviewers who are competent professionals. Many thanks to:
- Melissa McLean Jory, Nutrition Therapy, Exercise Science and Gluten-Free Blogger - Golden, Colorado, USA
- Neil Kelliher, Personal Trainer and owner of Inta Fitness - Personal Training, Supplements and Training Aids - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Kudos too, to Paige Waehner at exercise.about.com for giving me encouragement back at the very beginning last year when I was wondering whether or not I would ever be able to get back into Weight Training. Thanks Paige - I was.
My primary online exercise reference is the excellent ExRx.net (exercise prescription). Video demonstrations of exercises being performed may be found on the bodybuilding.com supersite. Generally, however, Google Is Your Friend; if you know the name of an exercise, you will find all the information you want (and more) with a quick Google search. One place where you can find exercise advice and a forum is exercise.about.com.
On the bookshelf I have Kinesiology of Exercise by Dr Michael Yessis - ISBN 0-940279-36-3. I used to have a copy of Ralph Wirhead's Athletic Ability and the Anatomy of Motion, but think it went astray when I did my inter-continental move.
Medical & Nutrition
My starting point for medical references is always PubMed, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health. For those interested in sports nutrition, the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition is well worth a look.
Where Smiffy Buys Stuff
The following are all companies (in Australia) from whom I have purchased and with which I have had no problems:
- Australian Fitness and Nutrition - have purchased whey protein from here for my wife when looking for a product free of artificial sweeteners. Particularly responsive and helpful when I made an 'awkward' product enquiry. Orders are generally despatched the same day.
- Gym Direct - the source of my power rack, bars and weight plates. I have been very happy with the performance of this company, both in responding to enquries and processing my orders. Also on eBay.
- Intafitness - my source of "gadgets" and alpha-lipoic acid; sells supplements and training aids. Also has an eBay store. Always good communications and service.
- Mr Supplement - my primary (cheapest) source of soy protein isolate. My FatTrack calipers also came from here. Quick and cheap.
- Sam's Fitness - source of my calf block. General gym equiment supplier.
- Vitamin King - the cheapest source of bulk sodium ascorbate (Vitamin C) I have found.
- VitaminMe - about the cheapest source of vitamins, minerals and the like (and I'm on a few) I have found. Of possible interest even to the non-exercising Aussie CFS sufferer who is taking a lot of these and wants to save a few dollars.