Updated: Jan 26
For those with hypothyroidism, there is often a daily struggle, trying to balance everyday life, diet, and fitness. Bodybuilding can be the best form of exercise to help control symptoms.
Hypothyroidism basically means the thyroid gland is underactive.
Located at the front of the neck, the thyroid gland produces health affecting hormones and is usually associated with a slow or sluggish metabolism.
Common symptoms include:
Being sensitive to the cold
Muscle aches, weakness, and cramps
Bodybuilding is a form of exercise designed to enhance muscular development and promote overall fitness and good health.
A competitive bodybuilder aims to display a form of art by way of body sculpture, showing muscle, symmetry, and definition.
For those concerned about looking like the hulk through bodybuilding, you don’t have to be. Substances that are banned in some countries are required in order to become huge like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Ferrigano, and even then, genetics plays a large part in developing those physiques.
I have personally found that I get the best health and weight-loss results through bodybuilding over any other form of exercise.
Cardio exercises like walking, running, cycling, stair climbing and so on are great, but as those with hypothyroidism like me know, it’s not always so easy to be motivated enough to run or often cycle, especially over long periods.
With cardio exercises like running, you might start with 15 minutes. Before you know it, 15 minutes becomes too easy and you need 30 minutes to feel the same or get the same result, and so on, adding time and distance, which could get pretty dull and hard to find time for. With weight training and bodybuilding, if an exercise becomes too easy, you gradually add weights. It still takes the same time to do, and you keep making progress.
Large amounts of energy is expended when bodybuilding and results will become visible in a short period of time, giving you more motiviation to keep working out.
I rode a bicycle for a period of 16 months on a solo charity bicycle ride between England and Southern Thailand, and did very little bodybuilding in that time. The result was that I stayed the same weight but lost a lot of muscle that I no longer worked. After just 6 months back in the gym lifting weights, I lost weight and gained muscle.
When first starting out in bodybuilding, you may notice little in the way of weight loss. Instead, results will be revealed in the mirror and with how you feel. Over time, you will notice more fat will be lost as muscle develops.
Muscles burn more calories than fat, and muscles continue to burn more calories than fat while you are resting. Studies have shown that calories continue to be burned 24 hours after a one hour bodybuilding workout.
Maintaining muscle can be hard work for people struggling with a fast metabolism, meaning they usually have to eat more to maintain or developed muscle, but for those with slow metabolisms, there is evidence to suggest that it is much easier to maintain and develop muscle with less effort and fewer calories.
Bodybuilding should make you feel good about yourself. Your posture will improve and you will look more confident. Your shape will change for the better and results will likely start to show within just a few weeks of regular training.
Another plus side for many who are hypothyroid, is that they often look younger than their age. Looking younger with a great physique would be a great goal, besides all the health benefits, so I highly recommend bodybuilding.
A healthy diet is important for everyone, not just those with hypothyroidism.
Supplementation is also important if a diet isn’t quite as healthy as it could be. Selenium ACE, Vitamin D3, B12 and B Complex are all recommended and can help make a real difference. We always advise you speak to a GP regarding specific supplements.
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