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PCOS and exercise

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Old 01-04-2013, 02:30 PM   #1
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Default PCOS and exercise

I have a question for my fellow cysters. Do any of you totally plateau when you add exercise in to your regimen? I know it's healthy for us and we need to do it, all of that. My problem seems to be that if I add any kind of exercise in I completely stop losing. I know initially weight loss stops or slows as your body adjusts but I have kept telling myself that before and was exercising for 2-3 mos last year and NEVER lost. I've tried upping my cals, lowering my cals, changing my diet, changing my exercise. I just don't lose. I'm wondering if this is just my body or the pcos maybe or what. Everyone else I know seems ot be able to exercise and lose just fine. I don't want to lose all muscle and be that fat skinny girl. I have also thought about just losing the weight then weight lifting when I get to goal to sculpt myself and get my muscle back.

Thoughts? Ideas? similar experiences?
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:34 PM   #2
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This was not my experience with PCOS. I cannot lose, no matter what I'm eating, without regular exercise. A LOT of regular exercise.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
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Exercise really helps my PCOS symptoms! I noticed it fairly quickly. And although my periods come much more regularly now that I've lost the weight, they come more frequently if I've been exercising regularly.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:24 PM   #4
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Odd, I would go see my doctor but well, last time I saw doctors for this I did what they said to do and gained 40 lbs :\ *cries* I will figure this out, I heard that cardio could be the reason and I should try only weight training to build the muscle which will help burn the fat. Thoughts? What do you guys do for exercise? I have ran before, but that is what kept me from losing was running in particular, Walking doesn't seem to do it as much.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:55 PM   #5
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Could think about inches rather than weight.

It's the inches and not the lbs that influence clothing sizes. The scale shows only lbs changed, not inches changed.

I know it is motivating to see the lbs change too, and that lbs gone could translate into inches gone, but don't dwell on that too much. PCOS changes the name of game with weight -- it's so weird sometimes.

I find it helpful to focus on what I want as a RESULT (lesser dress size) and not getting too hung on the tracking method used to chart progress (scale vs tape measure)

I just go with BOTH but lean more on the tape measure action for clothes.

For me it's a mix -- 45 min cardio 4x a week. Maybe 60 min. Then 3x a week weight training. 1x a week stretching thing. Each serves a different purpose, and weight training, while helpful to your body muscles isn't excercising your HEART MUSCLE much. It's doesn't rev it up. I want a strong heart too. Not just strong arms or legs.

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Old 01-05-2013, 09:01 AM   #6
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I have read articles that say that hardcore cardio doesn't help PCOS.

If you're getting better results walking or lifting weights, then do that, rather than plan your next marathon. I used to do a variety of different exercises, like pilates, spinning, dancing, and others.

I think too, it's also just changing your day to day "exercise" -- parking a little further away. I tell myself it's okay to be cold, because it means my body is spending calories heating me up again. Taking the stairs, instead of the elevator.

Walking is actually the best exercise you can do, in my opinion, and some studies suggest humans need to be able to walk regularly to be healthy.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:06 PM   #7
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Yea, I think I might do that. I'm wondering if it was the running that was preventing me from losing, It was really strenuous exercise for my weight so maybe build some muscle up and do a brisk 5 min walk for warm up plus a little yoga on my wii. Hmmm We shall see, I'm scared to try though HAHAHA.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:37 PM   #8
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I wouldn't get rid of exercise just because you're not seeing results on the scale. Get rid of the scale!!! No matter what, if you're exercising you're doing your body good... strengthening your heart and your muscles.
Scales are evil.
Exercise! It will help you build muscles that in turn help you burn fat!
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:42 AM   #9
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With PCOS, your testosterone may be elevated which could cause you to build muscle more quickly/easily when you exercise, so you may just be swapping fat for muscle (ie: staying at the same weight). Fat and muscle weigh the same, but muscle is much smaller in density than fat. Try tracking inches and sizes instead of weight and see if you notice a difference.

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Old 02-02-2013, 12:11 PM   #10
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It could be the type of exercise you're doing. I didn't lose weight doing straight cardio on PCOS but when I added in circuit training that combined different strength training movies (bodyweight and actual weights) with cardio intervals that made a world of a difference for me.

I would strongly discourage you from stopping exercise completely for a couple of reasons: 1) As you lose weight you lose muscle mass naturally, which lowers your BMR even further. Exercise helps prevent some of that muscle loss (by which I mean strength training); 2) PCOS is a condition related to insulin resistance. Exercise can improve your insulin sensitivity. Exercise (particularly strength training) releases HGH (human growth hormone) which actually mediates your insulin response and helps increase your sensitivity to insulin.

Nobody wants to spend two hours in the gym. Throw in some high intensity cardio (think jumping jacks, high knees, jogging on the spot, skipping) for 1 minute every couple of strength training exercises and try and do as much body weight stuff as you can. It was the only way I lost weight.

The book I used was Winning By Losing by Jillian Michaels. I followed her calorie recommendations and her workout plan that's laid out in the book, if you're interested.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:24 PM   #11
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My nutritionist just told me to stop any strenuous exercise since I'm gaining weight. She thinks it's elevating my cortisol and making the PCOS worse. I was killing myself at Crossfit and GAINED 12 LBS OF FAT!!! I was mortified! My clothes got too small so it wasn't like I lost inches.

Anyway, my new prescription from her is 45 minutes/day of gentle yoga, walking, or the elliptical. Absolutely no weight lifting, hitt, crossfit, running, or anything strenuous. This might be what's happening to you. I'm on this prescription for 3 months to reduce any stress hormones, then she said I might be able to work harder exercise back into my life. PCOS is so confusing!!!
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:32 AM   #12
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Interesting that happened to you at CrossFit, Michelle125. I had the same thing happen about 18 months into CrossFit - maintained at 157ish and then all of a sudden started gaining like crazy...8lbs in a month, 15 total over the next year (though I did fluctuate quite a bit).

I've always done intense exercise (at 85% of my maxHR being my goal. I wear a heart rate monitor). It's the only way I can get weight off and I love CrossFit for that reason. I also know I put on muscle mass over my time there and I definitely added definition to my upper body. The weight gain was sudden and really crazy.

Here's my theory - added muscle mass AND intense and heavy lifting = more testosterone and more hormone imbalances...which = weight gain. I've done intensity before and it only benefitted me; I trained for a half marathon at my lowest weight and I was fine.

Now I just need to get these extra 20lbs (now, ugh) off.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:10 PM   #13
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Hi gymrat05, I'm not sure I understand your post... did Crossfit make you gain weight, or not?
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:24 AM   #14
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It did. I'm not sure if I can blame CrossFit. I was fine for the first 18 months and then all of a sudden I gained 8lbs in one month....and then the scale kept going up. It was really strange! But I do wonder if the elevated testosterone levels caused from lifting heavy further screwed up my hormones that were already kinda screwed up from PCOS! In 6 weeks I was up 10lbs after doing nothing different for 2 years. I could even maintain on vacation.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:11 AM   #15
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When I start at the gym I lose all the bloatedness and start trimming down from my waist (I tend to be apple-shape so all the weight goes to my stomach). But I also think it's very important to vary your exercises. I used to just go to the gym and just do cardio, and it never made a difference on me. Neither did the zumba classes or anything which was high intensity cardio.
Last month I started weight training followed by 15-20 minutes of low impact cardio and it's doing the trick. I'm losing weight (9 kilos in one month), i'm feeling fitter and stronger, and I definitely won't go back to just cardio. I do one session of low impact cardio during the week, and walk to the beach and back if the day is nice on a sunday.
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