Thyroid Importance in training

I’ve recently found out that I have some serious thyroid problems. I suffer from hypothyroid. despite this I remain reasonably lean thanks to proper diet/nutrition. Fat loss has always been super slow for me. What took most of my friends weeks, took me months. I figured it was crappy Genetics. I’ve always wondered about having thyroid problems because my mom had it and it is hereditary. Anyways, I haven’t gotten the blood results back yet, but i’m pretty sure it’s a Thyroid problem. I have about 90% of the symptoms.

Anyways before I get the tests back I decided to do a small Original T2 cycle. To my surprise i’ve been on it about a week and a half and i’m noticing big time improvements in my symptoms. Fat loss speeding up, not as depressed, etc.

One of the biggest things i’ve noticed while on T2 is that I don’t fatigue as early as i used to. I can jog for longer periods of time without getting tired. Before I would be dying after 12 minutes of jogging! I’m not even kidding. It’s like I would not be able to catch my breath. It’s as if oxygen wasn’t getting into my body properly.

Another huge benefit has been with my hair. It’s getting Extremely thick! It’s growing out like mad. I didn’t know my hair could get this thick! It appears as though the hypothyroid problem has been making my hair fall out rapidly.

I’m going to call my doctor tomorrow and see if my tests are back. It would be great to go on a drug routine to fix all these problems. Thyroid problems are the worst! I believe they hinder mass gains too (even if hypothyroid, not just hyperthyroid) because it’s an autoimmune disease.

Anyways, I wanted to start a thyroid thread where anyone can post any info about the thyroid, pertaining to everyday life and training.

I’m very new to all this information and am learning as much as possible. Of course a thread like this would help me and others.


What are some common symptoms of the disorder? Outside of a tendency towards being fat, I’m clueless.


Thyroid deficiency (TD) can have a dramatic impact on your training progress via its effects on plasma IGF-1 levels. In fact, as the study below shows, TD is as powerful as spaceflight at inhibiting muscle growth.

Adams GR, McCue SA, Bodell PW, Zeng M, Baldwin KM. Effects of spaceflight and thyroid deficiency on hindlimb development. I. Muscle mass and IGF-I expression. J Appl Physiol. 2000 Mar;88(3):894-903.

Thyroid deficiency (TD) in neonatal rats causes reduced growth of skeletal muscle that is disproportionately greater than that for other tissues. TD depresses plasma insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) levels, suggesting a mechanism for this effect. We hypothesized that TD and exposure to spaceflight (SF) would interact to reduce skeletal muscle growth via a reduction in IGF-I levels. Neonatal rats were flown in space for 16 days. There was a similar, nonadditive reduction in the growth of the body ( approximately 50%) and muscle weight (fast muscles, approximately 60%) with either TD or SF. In the soleus muscle, either SF or TD alone resulted in growth reductions that were augmented by SF-TD interactions. There were strong correlations between 1) muscle mass and muscle IGF-I levels and 2) circulating IGF-I and body weight. These results indicate that either hypothyroidism or exposure to SF will limit the somatic and muscle-specific growth of neonatal rats. The impact of these perturbations on skeletal muscle growth is relatively greater than the effect on somatic growth. The mechanisms by which either TD or SF impact growth appear to have a common pathway involving the control of plasma and muscle IGF-I concentrations.

I too have just found out that i have hypothyroid even though i also stay rather lean. However i have noticed some fat gain without much change in my diet. I too had a bunch of the other symptoms (ever get aching muscles for no reason? my dr. said this could be a symptom). I just started taking synthroid this week at a very low dosage. This whole thing is kinda freaking me out so i’d love to hear from others and their experiences with it and if it affected their training at all?

Good post- glad to hear you are hopefully getting on top of this problem. I am not an MD (Perhaps the MD T-men/vixens can comment here also), but I am in the medical field.

It appears that the condition is generally underdiagnosed vs actual prevalence. Estimation is that ~5% of all adults, rising to 10-15% in the elderly, have some degree of hypothyroidism. But less than half of these individuals (~2%) show clinical signs Subclinical cases are diagnosed via blood thyroid hormone testing during a general health check.
The condition has a greater prevalence in females vs males.

For LittleJay’s benefit- signs of Hypothyroidism (straight from the textbook) can include:

Coarse and thinning hair.
Dry skin.
Slow body movements.
Inability to tolerate cold temperatures.
Feeling tired, sluggish, or weak.
Memory problems, depression, or difficulty concentrating.
Brittle nails, or a yellowish tint to the skin.
Heavy or irregular menstrual periods that may last longer than 5 to 7 days.
Other, less common symptoms may include a goiter, modest weight gain, hoarseness, muscle aches and cramps, facial puffiness, and swelling of the arms, hands, legs, and feet.

The most common cause in adults is actually an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto's) where the body attacks it's own thyroid gland. However this disease remains relatively poorly understood. Another possible cause is what is termed "euthyroid sick", where another illness is actually causing the thyroid to lower it's function in an attempt to recuperate. This is why it's important to look beyond a low thyroid hormone level when using blood tests in trying to make a diagnosis of a medical problem.

Treatment (once other diseases have been ruled out) is synthetic thyroid hormone replacement- this generally works well, and individuals notice a quick improvement in their symptoms. Length of treatment depends on the cause, but for congenital (born with the problem) and Hashimoto's, is generally for life.

Regarding the training aspects, sure it's logical from the info above, and that suggested by Mr Cressey, that your body's not in an optimal physical, hormonal or mental status for good results in the gym. I would urge anybody who is thinking that some of the above symptoms fit their bill to go get checked out by your MD pronto- all it takes is a physical and some simple blood tests.

Hope this helps.SRS

I feel for you krystian!

the good news is that if you do have an underactive thyroid, you’re probably gonna be ok in the long run…

I went through a period over 3 years (end of university-> start of work)where I gradually got less and less active.

to cut a long story short it got to the point where I was coming home from work, sleeping, getting up to eat, going back to bed and then getting up in the morning to go to work again.

I stopped going out because I didn’t want my friends to see me fat and miserable (I’d put on 15 kg and lost a lot of muscle mass through not training)

I always told myself that I would go out ‘next week’, because next week I’d have a good week and it’d all be allright again… only ‘next week’ never came…

…however, I was diagnosed hypothyroid and after a year of thyroxine I’m now training big weights regularly again and playing rugby, and my life’s back to normal.

…so if it is that, then good luck and take heart from my story…

…but TAKE IT EASY because you can’t just dive straight back into it all otherwise you’ll be ill again.

If you do turn up hypo then feel free to pm me because I’ve been through the process…

take care,

Consider me Hypo.

About one year ago, my eye doctor told me he noticed “occular bulging” during a routine eye exam. He sugggested getting a physical because that is a common symtom of a thyroid problem.

I was 32 years old, and hypo-thyroidism runs in my family(mother, grandmother)

Had a phsical, and found out my TSH was about 15 (normal about 1-4).

Started out on 75mg of Unithroid (Levothyroxine), that lowered my TSH to 11.(after 3 months)

They raised my dosage to 100mg and my TSH raised to around 20.(after another 3 months)(started to worry)

Then they raised my dosage to 150mg/day and after 3 months, my TSH was finally within normal range(around 3 or so).

I go for my yearly physical on Nov 29th, and am curious of my results. I think I lost about 30 pounds, and want to see if my cholesterol, and “blodd sugar” levels have improved.

My weight loss cannot be totally due to the thyroid medication, as the whole situation caused me to improve my entire diet/exercise regimen.

If you want, go to, and put “thyroid” into the search engine. As always, he has some interesting opinions on the subject.

Little Jay, here’s a list of symptoms I had to go through before they considered tests. Basically, I had about 90% of these hehe.

___ My family (parent, sibling, child) has a history of thyroid disease
___ I’ve had a treated or untreated thyroid problem (i.e., hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, post-partum thyroiditis, goiter, nodules, thyroid cancer) in the past
___ A member of my family or I have currently or in the past been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease
___ I am over 60
___ I am female
___ I am perimenopausal or menopausal
___ I have recently had a baby
___ I have a history of infertility or miscarriage
___ I am currently a smoker, or was a heavy smoker in the past
___ I am currently taking lithium, amiodarone (Cordarone), iodine, kelp, bladderwrack, bugleweed, or soy isoflavone supplements
___ I have had radiation treatment to my head, neck, chest, tonsil area, etc.
___ I had “Nasal Radium Therapy”
___ I consume substantial quantities of any of the following foods, frequently raw: brussels sprouts, rutabaga, turnips, kohlrabi, radishes, cauliflower, African cassava, millet, babassu, cabbage, kale, soy-protein supplements (i.e., protein powders)
___ I live, lived, work, worked or grew up near or at a nuclear plant

___ I am gaining weight inappropriately or unable to lose weight
___ My “normal” body temperature is low, and/or I frequently feel cold
___ I feel fatigued, exhausted more than normal
___ I have a slow pulse, and/or low blood pressure
___ I have high cholesterol
___ My hair is rough, coarse dry, breaking, brittle, or falling out
___ My skin is rough, coarse, dry, scaly, itchy and thick
___ My nails have been dry, brittle, and break more easily
___ My voice has become hoarse, husky or gravelly
___ I have pains, aches, stiffness, tingling in joints, muscles, hands and/or feet
___ I have carpal tunnel syndrome, arm or leg tendonitis, or plantar’s fascitis
___ I am having irregular menstrual cycles (longer, or heavier, or more frequent)
___ I am experiencing infertility, or have had one or more miscarriage
___ I feel depressed, restless, moody, sad
___ I have difficulty concentrating or remembering things
___ I have no or low sex drive
___ My eyes feel gritty, dry, light-sensitive
___ My neck or throat feels full, pressure, choking, lumpy, larger than usual, and/or I have difficulty swallowing
___ I have/may have sleep apnea
___ I have puffiness and swelling around the eyes, eyelids, face, feet, hands and feet

Eric, great study. I agree it has impacted my muscle growth. In fact the only time I grow is when i use an androgen like Mag 10. Even then, I gain more fat then muscle. It’s been a huge struggle for me. I hope that correcting the thyroid problem will lead to a nice growth spurt :smiley:

SRS, good post. Yes it’s heavily underdiagnosed. Another problem is that the TSH tests have a range of 0.5 - 5.5. Most studies show that people with no thyroid problems whatsoever have a TSH between 1-2. Meaning anything above 2 could give you symptoms. The problem with the thyroid is that every individual has an optimal area. You may be in the range at 4, but still suffer all the symptoms. Even my doctor said that they test with that range. I read that a lot of thyroid experts are testing from 1-3. So that’s a lot better than 5.5. I asked my doctor to consider my tests with the lower range. Hopefully he does.

Stronglikebull- Thanks for the words of encouragement. Glad to see that there’s hope. My biggest problem is the depression that comes along with the thyroid problems. It makes me very unenthusiastic about life. I don’t want to do anything. I force myself to train because it’s really important to me. I’ve tried other methods to cure the depression but it didn’t work. So I figure the thyroid fix is my last hope.

Vantstaller, great to hear about your weight loss! I too have a bit of occular bulging, but nothing too serious, you can barely tell. The biggest problem is my eyes dry up and sting like crazy. They can get puffy from time to time and i have dark circles underneath at times.

Alright guys I just called my doctor and got the results back. I’m very disapointed with them because they show that everything is normal, despite the fact that I have all these symptoms.

I will be talking to my doctor tomorrow, but for now the lady gave me these results.

TSH: 1.79
B12: 806
Hemoglobin: 157

I am so sure that this is a thyroid problem, it doesn’t make sense. So i’m sure it goes deeper than just these scores. HEre are some of the symptoms that I experience.

For one, my mom had a thyroid goiter most of her life.

  • Depression
  • Hair loss
  • Freezing hands and feet even when warm everywhere else (I wear gloves at my computer a lot).
    -Fat loss is super slow
    -pains in joints
    -dry skin, dry itchy eyes, puffy eyes, occular bulging
    -low sex drive
    -Fatigued, exhausted
    -sensitive to light
    -Mouth get really dry
    -I was treated with iodine because of chernobyl back when I was young.

There is probably others i’m forgetting, but it’s quite clear that all these point to a thyroid problem.

I’m guessing that there may be a conversion problem.
Does anyone know what the next step to take is? I’m going to talk to my doctor tomorrow, but would like to raise any issues that are important.

Looking back to SRS’s post. I can add a few more to my symptoms.

-difficulty concentrating/thinking
-memory problems
-puffiness of the face

Did he say what your T3 was ?

Mine was always normal, even when my TSH was “out of whack”

No van, she didn’t tell me. I will be talking to my doctor tomorrow. That’s when I will find out the details. But i know around here TSH is the standard for identifying thyroid problems. This is a new doctor, so i don’t know how open minded he is.

Figures, he didn’t take t3, t4 levels. That’s ok, I got an appointment for Nov 20. I will make him do all the tests, even thyroid antibodies.

Bad side effects and makes thyroid problems worse.