December #119 : Trainer's Bench - December 2005 - by Jeffrey Gross

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Table of Contents

On the Cover-Juliano Innocenti

Melting the Winter Blues

Higher Ground

Sex in the Age of Meds

WHY...December 2005

Steps to the Future

The Fright Before Xmas

Striking Oil

A Gift to Yourself

A New Year Bathed in Promise

Weighing CD4 Counts

Trainer's Bench - December 2005

The Legal Eye - December 2005

Sexy Holiday Toys


LeRoy Whitfield 1969-2005

Earthwatch - December 2005

Tripped Up

Buzz - December 2005

Out of the Blues

A Lifeline for All

Yesterday's News

As the Virus Turns

Mentors - December 2005

Mailbox - December 2005

Editor's Letter - December 2005

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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December 2005

Trainer's Bench - December 2005

by Jeffrey Gross

Fatigue—in your body or in your exercise routine—can be worked out

I want to exercise, but I’m so fatigued that I can’t get off the couch. Help, please!
    —Too Pooped

Ah, fatigue—that annoying yet faithful mate of HIV. From the virus itself, the meds, depression, hepatitis or poor diet and lost sleep, it gets a capital “P” for problematic (and pooped).

See if your doctor can find a cause—and treatment—for your fatigue. But in any case, movement can alleviate depression, stress and fatigue itself, while building resilience. Some tips:
  • Begin by awakening body and spirit with a few minutes of quiet meditation. Tell yourself it’s a new day and that you can move and act.
  • Start with a breakfast of carbs, like pancakes or cereal with bananas, for energy. Plan a simple activity you enjoy, such as walking or bike riding. Begin slowly, at a steady pace, to manage your energy. Listen to your body, stop when needed, sit down to recover, note how long you exercised—and be proud.
  • Now set a short-term goal such as walking or biking for a set amount of time every day. After a while, you can add more time or distance or other activities.
I speak from experience: I spent 1997 to '98 at home on a feeding tube.  Thankful I was alive and knowing I was worth the effort, I would get out bed and take a walk.  I know you have the spirit and determination to succeed, too.

I’ve been doing the same fitness routine for almost as long as I’ve had HIV. Why have I stopped seeing improvements—especially in my abdomen?  
                               – Ab Flab

It’s great that you’ve been working out to trim HIV-related woes, from elevated blood fats to weakened immunity. But you need to challenge your muscles by switching your routine every three to four months. Include a different ab routine in each workout session, 25 reps per set, resting one minute per set. Keep your core tight during all your upper and lower body exercises—lose the contraction and you lose the effect. Do this in everyday life, too. Walking down the street, tuck and contract your abs to improve your posture and strength.

If it’s lipo’s deep fat beefing up your belly, try weight lifting. Even without studies, it’s pretty safe to say that consistent weight lifting can help your body produce more growth hormone and testosterone (and the amino acids that help your body use it). It also boosts insulin sensitivity, helping your body process and use sugar (and avoid lipo).

Jeffrey Gross is a certified fitness trainer in Chicago.

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