T Nation

Weight Gain & Crohn's

Hey, i got pointed to this site from a crohns site, im hoping you can help me a bit…

Im 23years old and have had crohns since i was 17, had an op at 18. im 6ft and weigh 114lbs/8stone/52kg, so im very slim. Obviously i dont expect to get big and stocky but i’d love to not look so malnurished hehe. Appearence is half the issue (important tho, as its a big factor in my mental health) but i think if i had more weight on me i’d also have more energy, i can only work part time cause im left quite tired.

Im useless with a diet, i dont know what to eat, i know i should try to eat little and often though. I’m keen to do some weight training and cardio too, any advice will be apprieciated. (i have a dumbbell set but no acces to gym if this helps)

I am VERY unfit so bare this inmind, any advice is apprieciated

First off, you need to realize that no one on this forum is really qualified to give you much advise. Sure, we can give you ideas on programs,set/reps, etc. but that would be applicable to someone without a disease.

How severe is are your symptoms? Was the surgery effective?

I’m certainly no authority on Crohn’s or anything, but my understanding is that the immune system attack the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, I would imagine, your diet and weight gain will be your largest issue with training, as that will affect your recovery.

Sorry I couldn’t be much help.

My symptons are not really an issue at the moment, you are correct about what it is. My surgery was very effective and im pain free, i just cant eat certain foods (spicy/fatty) and have been left unfit due to having it. But i think that im feeling good and if i can get fitter and put on weight i’ll have more energy which is pretty much the missing piece i have from before i got crohns

Thank you for your reply, i realise i cant expect anything taliored around the disease, but any tips on starting up would be appriecated

That’s fair enough then.

When you say fatty foods do you mean things like fast food or any type of fat, olive oil and such?

How heavy do your dumbbells go?

fast food is a nono but i can moderatly eat olive oil and such

i pick up my dumbbells for the 1st time in years today and they were set at 7kgs and i could only do 2 sets of 6 bicep curls(i got curious). but they can be adjust alot lower and higher

Can your doctor not give you a nutritional plan?

I sympathise for you. I have inflammatory bowel syndrome symptoms on and off for about 3 years, it really puts you off eating and going anywhere.

If you can handle protein and some healthy fats, try following Berardi’s 7 habits article here on the site. I imagine that you probably have a hard time absorbing nutrients, so you may need to force yourself to eat a little past feeling full to really grow.

Print out the article and run it by your doctor for his approval before you start, just to be on the safe side. If your dumbbells go heavy enough to challenge you on the squat, deadlift, and bench press, I would highly recommend starting strength.

It’s fairly low volume, and will help you put on some muscle if you eat well. You can also add some cardio on your off days if you feel up to it.

thanks for the replies, i saw my dr today, he basically said do what i like unless it starts to feel bad.

i’ll certainly have a look at that article.

I’ll have to have a look at what them excercises are you mentioned (i know, im a real newbie) put im sure i can add enough weight.

Im thinking of buying some whey powerder to add some more to my diet. And from what i’ve read taking a Zinc supplement is a good thing to do. Because im going to be changing eating habbits quite alot, im eating handfuls of nuts throughout the day to get my body used to eating more often. Hopefully i’ll be able to eat the 6+ meals a day soon enough (what actually consists of a meal? does 1 banana count if eaten between say a lunch and a dinner?)

Remember peanuts can cause a lot of intolerances for people, so if nuts start to cause problems take out peanuts and go from there.

[quote]Sallen wrote:
Hopefully i’ll be able to eat the 6+ meals a day soon enough (what actually consists of a meal? does 1 banana count if eaten between say a lunch and a dinner?)[/quote]

As a general rule of thumb, 300 cals or more, with at least 20 grams of protein. A banana is not going to be quite enough, and won’t have any protein. Have a shake with it, or some other source of protein.

Check your PM.

There was a guy on bb.com forums who powerlifted and had Crohns. He drank a lot of protein shakes and ate a lot of peanut butter.

Hey thanks for the input.

Things seem to be going well, im not yet eating 6 meals a day but im eating alot more then before and im aiming to get my protein intake up. I have the 7 habbits posted up on my wall as a reminder

i’ve started doing

2 sets of 6 bicep curls (7.5kg weigh)
2 sets of 6 upright rows (7.5kg)
2 sets of 6 seated shoulder press (5kg)
2 sets of Bent over single arm rows

does this seem a good routine to do or is it not enough variety? i intend to do weights on Mon/Weds/Fri’s. Havnt got a bench yet, will be some time before i can get 1, so im limited to workouts with just dumbells that need no bench and they were what i found

(oh and what pm? i didnt see 1) If im being annoying i understand that im probably not the usual poster on here but i do apprieciate the help and you can ignore me or tell me to shut up anytime ; )

[quote]Sallen wrote:
i’ve started doing

2 sets of 6 bicep curls (7.5kg weigh)
2 sets of 6 upright rows (7.5kg)
2 sets of 6 seated shoulder press (5kg)
2 sets of Bent over single arm rows

does this seem a good routine to do or is it not enough variety? i intend to do weights on Mon/Weds/Fri’s. Havnt got a bench yet, will be some time before i can get 1, so im limited to workouts with just dumbells that need no bench and they were what i found
[/quote]

You started doing SOMETHING. Great. Keep in mind it’s not you just do: 2 sets of 6 bicep curls @7.5kg’s for the next 6 months you’ll have monster guns. You must get stronger somehow, someway every time you do that routine. Like 3 sets, OR 7 reps, OR 8 kg’s next time.

Oh and as for this routine being balanced?? You’re obviously very green. Read the stickies at the top, very good info.

Oh, good luck man.

I have a friend with Crohn’s and he has good spells and bad spells.

While it effects everyone differently, I would say one piece of advice I have from him is to always introduce new foods slowly and if possible on their own. That way you will more easily be able to tell if something doesn’t agree with you.

He’s not really into lifting, he runs alot and does some bodyweight stuff and has done a few 10k races, but he has been able to balance his exercise with the disease more and more as time has gone on.

I think you need to gradually increase things, making small changes to your diet and adding new weights exercises as time goes on. The more you are ‘in-tune’ with your body and understand the disease the more progress you will make and I’m sure you will start to feel fitter and healthier.

Learn as much as you can on here and try to balance your training so you are hitting all the major muscle groups.

Movements should include vertical push (like overhead DB press), vertical pull (like chin up variation), horizontal push (like DB Bench press or press up), horizontal pull (like DB Rows), quad (DB squat) and hip (DB Deadlift) dominant leg work but you don’t have to do these all on the same day! If you read up on here these will make more sense.