Muscle building for PCOS
Muscle building for PCOS , 04-10-2011 12:21 AM

Newbie Low-Carber


I have been combating PCOS for the past six years and have managed so far to lose 35kg and develop a very strong and consistent low-carb, low-glucose and fairly low-fat diet. My biggest battle has been finding the right exercise plan for my particular condition. Unfortunately, a major symptom of PCOS is insulin resistance, which means my muscles are constantly being eaten away, while fat continues to be stored in its place. So far I have tried all of these different forms of exercise:

-Weight training on a circuit with high weights, low reps (I have bad knees and I found this to have little effect on loosing fat, however it did damage my knees further)
-exercise bike (to build up my muscles in my knees after the damage was done)
-Fast-pace walking
-jogging 2.5km every second day (once my knees were ok again)
-swimming 1 km three times a week

I have been doing some research and have found that doing weight work is very important for insulin resistance, as well as the cardio work, however I have been a little bit reluctant to start this again after the first time I used the gym and did high weights with low reps. I also find that if my routine is too strenuous, my blood sugar levels drop too quickly and I end up fainting. As I cannot have sugar, carbs and glucose it is difficult to take an energy supplement after or during exercise.

I was wondering if anyone could provide me with some tips about how I could improve my exercise routine and what particular weight training I should do?

Thanks in advance
RE: Muscle building for PCOS , 04-10-2011 11:37 AM

Expert Low-Carber

Take a closer look at your diet first. 80% of your success in weight loss and correcting the PCOS will be thorough diet.... the other 20% comes from exercise. If you are low carb and fairly low fat, that means you are probably high protein and still providing your body with more glucose that it needs to correct the PCOS.

I am a type II diabetic and had PCOS. I didn't get my BG and PCOS under control until I started lifting weights intensively. I actually took it to the competitive levels and was a bodybuilder for a number of years.

Are you on any BG lowering meds like metformin/glucophage? Are you eating enough overall calories to prevent the BG drops? What supplements are you taking?

Work on the diet first, to get your insulin resistance and PCOS under control...then perfect the exercise routine. For now, just keep it simple....lift weights 3 days per week and do some light cardio & abs 2 days per week.

Kathy Coe
Refinery Fitness Center
RE: Muscle building for PCOS , 04-10-2011 08:36 PM

Newbie Low-Carber

Thank you for your reply. I have my diet fairly sorted. I take chromium, fish oil, women’s multivitamin and fibre tablets as my supplements. I am not on any medication and haven't ever been as I wanted to do it naturally. I have so far succeeded and am actually down to size 12-14 AU which I am very happy about. I just want to start toning my muscles more than anything.

In terms of my diet I have sort of developed my own way of determining what I do and don't eat based on what seems to work best for me. I have a system of reading the percentage per 100g and stick to a set of strict amounts. Ie 6% or less carb and 10% or less fat. Admittedly, I use to have too much protein in my diet which I have recently corrected.

I will certainly take your advice on the weights and light cardio and I guess we will see how it goes from there.

Again thank you for your reply!
RE: Muscle building for PCOS , 04-11-2011 01:21 AM

Advanced Low-Carber

I too have PCOS, but I'm built like a linebacker. I've always had big muscles. I do a "slow-burn" type workout once a week and then try to get some minor cardio in a few days a week. Usually chore related or just a walk around the block.

I just keep my diet simple. Fats, meat, and a few veggies. If I try to cut too much fat, I stall with my weight loss. I also try not to eat before bed. That's just what works for me. It sounds like we're totally different shape wise! Good luck to you.

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." -- Mark Twain

RE: Muscle building for PCOS , 04-24-2012 08:37 PM

Newbie Low-Carber

Hahahaha built like a line backer! Me too! Glad to hear Im not the only one looking like Wendy Williams! lol....

Well, SKCOE mentioned "To correct PCOS..." It can't be corrected, you can help the symptoms but it will always be there.... there is no cure. I just went to the dr today. She increased my Metformin RX to 1500 mg per day. Not looking forward to the side effects of the increase. Despight being on Metformin and doing a very strict low carb diet, apparently I have raging insulin resistance. My hair s falling out. Havn't felt this helpless in years. To make matters worse, I can't take birth controll pills because I had blod clots from taking it....
RE: Muscle building for PCOS , 04-30-2012 05:21 PM

Senior Low-Carber

I'm another "built like a linebacker"! Nice to meet some others! My shoulders are so broad that I learned to sew as a child just so I could have some clothes to wear.

Since I'm a newly-diagnosed IR PCOS and now on metformin (that is a miracle drug in my opinion!). Tried months of diet/exercise to control things, but nothing worked until the metformin. Fortunately, I have no bad side effects from it; only good ones! I'm up to 1500 mg of it and things just keep getting better.

My silly question is: what kind of exercise would be helpful to someone with 2 artificial knees (can't run) and other orthopedic problems? I have a Bowflex that I use about 3x week and I bike or walk or garden most other about 10-15 miles and walk about 1 mile (still recovering from a broken foot).

I don't do the heavy stuff with my Bowflex because when I tried it earlier, I ended up reawakening an old shoulder injury, so I'm back to lighter weights (25-30 lbs) with about 20 reps.