How to get fit while struggling with IBS

For a fair amount of people, getting in shape is a hard process. You have a exercise more, eat better, cut down on drinking and it can take a level of commitment to get the body that you want. But what about when, on top of all of that, you’re blighted by a bastard of a medical condition that affects your digestive system such as IBS?

For many people with these conditions, it becomes a bit of a barrier, just another obstacle making their goal even more difficult than before not to mention how much it interferes with their daily lives.

Well I’m here to tell you all about how you can manage it and not let it affect your fitness routine and maybe even your general life.

What Do You Know?

I know what some of you might be thinking: ‘You’re a young, fit Personal Trainer – How could you possibly know about what I’m going through??’

Well, let me tell you about my little story.

Hi

Hi, my name is Adam, I’m the one who rights these blogs, I’m a Personal Trainer and I have suffered with IBS since I was 18 (I’m now 24).

When I was 17/18 I had discovered the gym and lifting weights, played rugby twice a week and like most lads my age I went to the pub 5 days a week. That was until around May 2011 when I developed my IBS.

Over the next 10-12 months my appetite dropped, I lost all the muscle I had built in the gym and became skinnier than ever, my social life dropped off the face of the earth, my performance at work was shocking and I just couldn’t understand why I was in so much pain all the time. Doctors had mentioned IBS now and again, but I (Stupidly) dismissed it and was convinced there was something much worse at work here.

Low and behold it turned out that it was indeed IBS and by now I had learned a hell of a lot on how to deal with it and work around it:

  1. The reason it took so long for it to be confirmed as IBS (And the reason why doctors are generally so dismissive of it) is that there are no physical abnormalities so all other potential conditions (Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Coeliac Disease) must be discounted before IBS is diagnosed.
  2. Everyone is affected by it differently, but most cases of IBS can be helped massively by controlling your environment, lifestyles and what you put into your body. Stress is an absolute killer as is alcohol (Durr) and smoking (Never smoked myself, but that’s what I’ve been told).
  3. If I had to pick one tactic to control your IBS it’s have a look at your diet. Nearly everyone will have ‘trigger foods’ which are foods which set it off and either cause tummy pains, excessive gas or other unspeakable bowel related acts. For most people these will be things like milk, cheese etc, but one thing remains the same for everyone – If something affects you then for the love of god DO NOT EAT IT!!! You wouldn’t believe the amount of people I’ve heard moan about how much pain they are in every time they eat a croissant or a bowl of cereal. If it makes you feel like s**t then DON’T EAT IT – IT’S THAT SIMPLE!!!
  4. Exercise helps – it helps reduce stress, releases endorphins which make you feel good and makes everything a bit more.. ahem… regular…
  5. And finally – there is no cure. That’s not me trying to make you scared or feel like there is no end to your suffering, that’s me telling you to man up, stop eating the foods that affect you, cut down on your drinking, start exercising and accept that this is something that most probably won’t go away entirely, but will probably get better as time goes on.

Summary

It took a while for me to learn all of that and took a fair amount of suffering and acceptance before I could move on with my life, but it’s something that I have come to live with and try to make the best of things.

Sure it sucks that i can’t have a pizza or chocolate ice cream (Yum), but if not being able to eat a few bits of junk food is one of the worst things that’s going on in my life then all in all, I have a lot to be thankful for.

That’s all from me for now, but it anyone is or knows anyone who is suffering with IBS and wants further help then please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

Adam

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