Does anyone have any experience of the effect of weight-training when you're hypo? I know it's supposed to increase your metabolism so you (apparently!) keep burning fat after you have stopped doing it. However, I seem to remember reading on here that we should be careful with diet & exercise so I am a bit worried in case I do the wrong thing? I am going to HAVE to do something though as I am getting fatter by the day :-(

33 Replies

  • Body by Science by dr Doug mcGuff . Explains all :0) 12 mins a week which is just right for people like us!!

  • Hi I know its hard but what I've found works for me is getting in 10, 000 steps a day and a calorie controlled diet. I've been hypo for over 25 years and weight has been a constant struggle, however im now on track and the weight is coming off

  • Hi there OP. please do not believe the hype. if you want to lose weight 12 minutes a week will do nothing or counting steps. truth be told its hard work but it's worth it. if you want to lose weight and be fit and tone, you need to do weight training. it's a given. You can lose with out it but you will look flabby and soft. because you have loss not only fat but muscle as well. diet is also very important. and it's more than just counting calories. What you eat and when you eat is also key. also portion sizes. also in my opinion if you have a thyroid or don't makes a difference. it's more to be said but my time is limited. hope this helps.PM if you need more info. if I can come back here later and comment I will.

  • To lose weight when hypo, your medication should be at an optimum level for you.

    This is a link which may be of interest


    and re reduction of T3 with intensive exercise


  • Well... I exercise every day! I don't go in the gym as I have no motivation! I do les mills body combat around 4 times per week, I also do body pump (low weights high reps) 3 times per week. I cycle around 60 miles per week and live on roughly 500 cals per day. Last week I gained 8lb!!!! Iam hypo and taking 250mcg Levo. Though my levels still aren't stabilised and waiting to go see an endo. I've just had my hormones done as my hair is also falling out! I'm keeping up with the exercise as it's keeping me for but it's doing bugger all for me! Work that one out?!!

  • I'm no expert Rach but from what I've read 500 cals per day is a no-no for hypo people. It's fine (even recommended) when done as part of a 5:2 diet going that low on a daily basis can apparently even cause problems.

  • Hmmm...in order for your body to process the thyroxine you need to consume enough calories, by excersising all your calories away and not eating enough you're stopping yourself from being able to process the hormone replacement.

  • Hi you are not eating enough to sustain your body it will struggle without enough calories for energy your body goes into starvation mode if you don't eat enough and will hold onto the weight .I used to be a gym instructor .hope u don't minde saying :-)

  • With such a low calorific intake, you could be doing more harm than good. This is a link and there are lots of topics which you may find helpful but some links within may not work.


  • Why are you only eating 500 cals per day, that is far too low and could well be the cause of hormone disruption. My daughter who has no thyroid issues, started running, she was slim and lost more weight, since all this exercise she has encountered hormone health problems. I do believe it is important to move as much as possible but be sensible about it.

  • I agree with miniholiday. While it may not be true 'starvation mode' in the beginning, you do get a metabolic slowdown quite quickly because several key hormones are reduced, including TSH, T4 and T3 and adrenal hormones. Not to mention the lack of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the body to function.

    Some people think that you should have a day off from dieting a week, or a week every month or similar, to allow your metabolism to 'reset' and the hormones to go back to 'normal'. The longer you have been at a calorie deficit, the longer it takes the body to reset itself.

    It's also not good for your adrenals to be exercising on almost no fuel! This lack of calories could also be contributing to your hairloss.

    I hope you get your endo appointment soon!

  • dr.john briffa--tells us to eat well as eating too little slows your metabolism way down and weight gain follows, and concentrate on lo-carbs not no carbs & remembering veggies have carbs & muscle strengthening reduces insulin resistance and also to contributes weight loss -well actually fat loss, there is a lot of info from dr.briffa on line and his diet book-which isn't about diet as much as how the body & metabolism works in easy to understand language as we all suffer from some sort of brain fog.p.s. he also explains leptins function..

  • Great thanks. There is a load of interesting info on his website and I've just subscribed :-)

  • glad to have been some help, you'r welcome..

  • Hi everyone. I've been on T4 for two months and up to now it's having no effect other than making me put on weight. Dr S has suggested I try T3, but my GP has said he won't test for it nor prescribe it so it looks as though I'll have to pay for it myself. I'm moving house shortly and have been trying to find out if the health authority for that area is different (not holding my breath though!). I am planning on aiming for 10,000 steps per day but I really want to start weights again. The link re T3 is a bit of a worry though Shaws. I wonder if I have some porridge and fruit pre going to the gym it would help? Changes, I have PM'd you for some more info-thanks.

  • Porridge is a great idea before a workout. Remember to eat plenty of protein on exercise days too. It might help with the weight as well.

    Weights shouldn't be a problem as long as you don't over-do it. The increase in muscle mass should help with your metabolism and, even if you don't lose actual pounds, it tends to make you look slimmer. Aim for short sessions to start with. Perhaps warm up with a short walk on the treadmill and a few gentle stretches and then finish with another walk and stretch. If you find you don't get too tired doing that for a couple of weeks, increase the length of time you are training for.

    See if you can get assistance at the gym with the weights so that you can safely lift heavier weights once you are used to it and have correct form. It is the heavier weights that are really going to make a difference but you do need to make sure you are doing it all correctly first to avoid injury and get the most out of your training. I would love to start lifting heavy again but I can't get to a gym :( Back to 'Convict Conditioning' for me :) I always preferred the free weights and I could lift a lot more than you would think a size 8 young lady could lift! I'm not a size 8 any more though (boo - hiss :( ) I really do think that lifting heavy was what gave me my size 8 figure at 9 stone 8lb. I didn't look that heavy even! Now I look like you wouldn't want to mess with me, lol! I'm far from slim at nearly 15 stone!

    Basically, build up slowly so you don't stress your adrenals and make sure you are eating enough good food to fuel those workouts and you should be fine. Perhaps don't 'diet' for the first few weeks until you get used to it.

    I'm no expert but this is what I would do after reading around.

    All the best with the exercise :)

    Carolyn x

  • Thanks Carolyn, that's a great help. My hubby is off abroad to work for two weeks tomorrow morning so I'm taking the opportunity to crack down and see if I can lose some of this blubber. I've only put on 5.5lbs since starting on Levo but it feels like much more :-( I used to know a guy who had trained for years and he used to go mad trying to make me believe that weights was THE thing for weight loss. I've done it off and on for years and always preferred it to cardio, mainly because it's not as boring but this time round, now I've got to consider the effect on my health I'm going for the more scientific approach! x

  • I do body pump and pilates twice a week...and hope to add in running 3-4 times a week I have done it before and I lost weight dropped from 74kg to 63kg but it took months - no quick fix here..oh and it improved my depression (win-win) now i just have to summon up the motivation to get running again

  • Excellent-that's encouraging! I won't be doing anything nearly as strenuous but it's good news that you are able to lose, even if it takes a while.

  • I used to go to the gym 3-4 times a week for the 10 or so years before being diagnosed as hypo. Although I went through a very difficult period until my meds were sorted, and this made going to the gym extremely uncomfortable (I suffered with painful joints, ligaments, muscles etc) I continued anyway. Going to the gym is part of life for me, and I find it helps de-stress me, and clears my head. I certainly haven't noticed any detrimental effects, and it gives me a great sense of achievement. Sometimes I find that I feel a bit rough, so don't expect to do well at the gym but I surprise myself. I think you will find it very worthwhile. Losing weight isn't an issue for me, I have always remained of a slim build. Give it a go, you might actually enjoy it!

  • Oh I agree it does lift your spirits! I may be fat but I'm fit! I'm wondering if I'm not converting t4 but like info maniac my GP wouldn't touch t3 testing!

  • I'm reading all these replies and am amazed at the amount of exercise you hypos manage to do! I love exercise and used to train 6 days a week for competitive sport. Since being diagnosed and having 2 kids, I manage only one powerplate session a week and a short run (until I tore my calf muscle a month ago that is...), and occasional gym sessions. I tried a longer run a couple of months ago (not long, only 4km) and absolutely crashed - exhausted, couldn't move. Scared myself actually. I am normally OK with energy and feel that I get on fine with levo, its just the exercise thing. I also never put weight on - always been 9stone. I eat pretty much what I want (I am pretty healthy). I just don't understand this disease, or how we can all have such different reactions to it. To answer the original question, I find weights 'easier' to do than cardio, but do seem to ache more than I used to.

  • I absolutely hate Cardio, and always have so now I have got a perfect excuse for not doing it ;-) Walking and weights is the way forward for me-just hope it works!

  • Actually, when I think back, I have always hated cardio too! I did used to be able to do it though...

  • Karate is a fun way to get in some cardio. Builds strength and flexibility too. You too could be a lean, mean fighting machine :D You might want to wait until you are sorted out first though. It might be a bit much to start with. I agree with the walking and weights :)

    Please let us know how you get on.

    Carolyn x

  • I will do...if it can help anyone else I am willing to be a guinea pig :-) It might be interesting to see what happens since my medication seems to be having no effect! x

  • I go to the gym three times a week and yes I am knackered lol but its good for you I also am gluten and dairy free and I eat regularly cos more important if I dont its much worse!

  • Hi I have always exercised, I do about 40 mins of aerobic and 20 minutes of weights. I have been hypo for about 17 years. I am sure the exercising has meant that I am still on a lowish dose of levo and I am a bit over weight but I am 62 now so......

  • That's good news Polly & Mado. I am off to gym tomorrow...no excuses!!

  • It is my understanding that if you are not consuming sufficient calories your metabolism slows down to compensate.

  • I was diagnosed hashi 2 years ago, I exercised when I felt well but always counted calories for 12 months all I did was maintain my weight at 12st 12 to 13 st... I began to feel really tired and B12 and iron was low couldn't tolerate any B12 treatment but put on iron tabs, then I was diagnosed coeliac disease last Nov and I went Gluten free and later dairy free that the weight started to come off following the same calorie controlled diet as before exept no gluten, 4 months after going gluten free I'd lost a stone and a half I felt fantastic I downloaded the NHS couch to 5k and started running , now 11 months on I'm 10 st 6lbs and running 3-4 times aweek 5k+ each time...my B12 has gone up from 103 to 174 and I still take iron....My dr says many people have problems with gluten if they have thyroid probs and although in my case coeliac is in the family but if you have one autoimmune disease your more likely to have more.....But for now I feel 90% normal which is a massive improvement from 12 months ago :-)

  • That's fantastic! I went gluten free about a year ago and do feel better for it but haven't noticed any difference weight wise, however I have been completely off the rails lately so it's difficult to tell if it's made any difference or not. I have never been a runner (built for comfort more than speed!) but I am a good walker and following advice from a lovely person on here who has given me loads of advice, I am off to the gym tomorrow! It's so great to know that some people CAN lose weight...I hope I'm one of them :-)

  • Fingers crossed for you, it's certainly not been an easy journey but have done it with a friend which has really helped, neither of us had run before and the first run of 60 secs nearly finished us but kept going...I just hope my thyroid remains stable and I'm able to keep it going . Good luck on your journey enjoy it

You may also like...