T Nation

First Fitness Female Competition - PCOS (Body Fat Reduction)


Thanks for the mention.

What @EyeDentist is nearly exactly what I was going to respond with after reading your post and but before reading his.

And as he and Stu have written several times as well as what bodybuilders know, weight and body fat percentage are unimportant in competing. Granted heavily muscled bodybuilders are not going to be relatively light in weight compared to their peers of the same heights, but judges don’t run up to a stage with a scale. Same goes for body composition. The mirror will show what shape you’re in. The scale will simply show you’re making progress with a prep.



Thanks for the info, I have been able to put muscle on very easily. Losing body fat to get shape has been an issue. My menstral cycles are sometimes hit and miss so it’s a guessing game when trying to do a increase of carbs at that time.

I work long hours and one of my jobs is stressful which creates issues with cortisol around my midsection. I work 6-7 days per week (Monday to Thursdays I leave home between 5am and 7am get home after work and training 10pm). I work Friday nights and Saturday mornings and then most of Sunday (10-5).

I have tried intermittent fasting a few times. To no success. I have tried fasted cardio and thermogenics to help. They did for about 2 weeks.

Now I am doing intermittent fasting together with carb cycling.


This is part-and-parcel of PCOS. Because of this condition, you are hyperandrogenic, and thus gain muscle much more easily than a non-PCOS female. (In a sense, you are ‘inadvertently juicing.’) Unfortunately, and also because of your PCOS, you are insulin resistant, and thus have difficulty mobilizing fat stores. Further, your androgen levels promote fat storage in a male (‘apple’) pattern, which dramatically interferes with your ability to “get shape.”

I’ll mention this one more time, then bow out on the subject. Like a diabetic, a PCOS pt will have the most success if they keep (high-GI) carbs to a minimum. So, South Beach diet, Atkins-style diets, etc, are the way to go–not carb cycling. (Consider: No one would ever recommend an untreated diabetic do carb-cycling.) I realize it’s probably not what you want to hear (I love carbs as much as the next person), but it is what it is. Fortunately, it’s not necessarily a ‘forever’ thing–assuming you don’t tip over into frank Type II DM, once you lose enough weight to resolve your PCOS and its insulin-metabolism derangement, options like carb cycling will become viable for you.


Do you have any literature on this? I’m very genuinely curious as my wife has/had PCOS.

Edit: should I put my wife on the Keto diet? Would be simple enough considering I’ve done it consistently in the past.



Thank you for these. They are an interesting


As the prevalence of these endocrine dysfunctions increases, the association of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and autoimmune thyroid disease is increasingly being recognised. … Polycystic appearing ovaries are a clinical feature of hypothyroidism, though hypothyroidism should be excluded before diagnosing PCOS.

Have you any thyroid labs to post?
TSH, T3, T4, fT3, fT4

Autoimmune thyroid disease can progress from iodine deficiency with elevated TSH and a lack of selenium then sets the stage for thyroid inflammatory processes that can lead to autoimmune disease. There is a lot of complexity.

PCOS can be aggravated by progesterone deficiency --> estrogen dominance.

Birth control implants have a reputation for driving fat gain and perhaps with personality changes. Progestins, fake progesterone is HPOA repressive and then ovaries produce less progesterone and you are progesterone deficient. There are some things that progesterone does that progestins cannot. That is why there are warnings for increased risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots - I am not very happy about progestins.

Are you fighting the right battle?


Hi I have blood tests done regularly, I had an issue with my thyroid a number of years ago which I was taking thyroxin for. I have been off thyroxin for 4 years and my levels have been normal.

I do have the impalnon implant for contraception reasons. I am battling and confused I have body scans done every 8-10 weeks to give me more on my composition figures… My recent one was the same as the previous scan. I had an issue with it last year when i had 2 scans and there was no change from the previous scan.

I can find my last lot of blood tests and upload them if it helps.


“normal” makes me angry

The ranges for thyroid hormones are insane. TSH often 0.5 - 5.5 does capture 95% of the statistical “normal” range, but that 95% also captures people with real thyroid problems. “Normal” does not mean healthy or optimal. Doctors make this mistake all of the time and also assume that only 5% of a population could have a problem. I have only see a single case where a doctor was reported to ask and be concerned with iodine - which is a dismal state of affairs.

TSH should be near 1.0
T3, fT3, T4, fT4 should be near midrange.

TSH never tells the whole story. Oral body temperatures do that.
fT3 should be tested as it is the only active thyroid hormone.
If fT3 is mid-range and body temperatures are low we need to suspect elevated rT3 blocking fT3 at T3 receptors.

Almost all doctors do not think this way. They are into disease management and if they cannot nail down a disease diagnostic code they really have no idea about what to do other than get you out of the office. Medical systems and insurance also work against health management or optimization as unnecessary medical treatment. If payers other than your self are not involved, you and a doctor can do anything. However, it is really on your shoulders to become knowledgeable and take matters into your own hands. You need to manage your own “health” care and being passive with doctors and/or accepting lab “normal” really is not in your interest.


Is this comforting? “The average increase in body weight in studies was less than 5 pounds (2,25 kg) over 2 years.”

Average increase… there are some who gain a lot of fat with these implants.

I suggest that you consider the merits of an IUD which will allow your hormones and libido to normalize.

Every woman is unique to some degree in her hormone levels, patterns and hormone complications. And women react quite differently, physically, mentally and sexually to birth control hormones. IUD’s do not create significant systemic hormones loads and thus are the least intrusive.


Thank you for your advice I will look into it more, I don’t trust GP’s. I have been researching different elements but a lot of conflicting information.

Thank you