Category Archives: Weight Training


I have not been blogging lately because things seem so to be fairly steady for me so I feel like I’m writing the same thing each time now.  However, I received a question from a reader that I thought would be good to throw out to see what others think and possibly might have suggestions for this person.


“I find with my MCTD weight training makes me flare, but with cardio, I feel better unless I overdo it. All weight training is maddening with the flares because it tends to go on 4+ days. I stop weight training to heal, so I never really get anywhere. I can’t push through the weight training and just do it either because the flare makes me so weak and shaky. I’ve tried very slow increases but the flare is the same. MCTD is affecting my hands and feet a lot along with muscle tone so I know I need the weight training. Any suggestions?”


Thank you for taking the time to reach out with your question. I too have struggled with weight training off and on for the last 15 years and even though I feel like I’m managing things fairly well in my day to day life there are times when I know that I will not be able to weight train.  I have 3 days a week planned out on my calendar for weight training. I treat it like an appointment and so I see it as I am figuring out my next day or next week.  Life and reality kick in and maybe I only actually get 1 weight training session in a week because my hands hurt or I just don’t feel well enough for weight training.


I have moved my weight training sessions from morning to afternoon which seems to help.  When I wake up my body can still feel fatigue and my hands are stiffer in the mornings but loosen up as the day goes on.  I have also had a couple of meals by the time I’m ready to weight lift so I feel stronger.  I also pick a time frame for my weight training appointment.  Maybe it is 15 minutes or if my week is going well maybe 30 minutes, but I don’t go over 30 minutes because my body will absolutely flare during the healing process.


I should mention that I’m at 141 days without a flare and feeling very good about that.  I know that a flare can come at any time and maybe I’ll know why and maybe I won’t but I keep moving forward and jotting down my triggers in my journal.  I have kept a journal every day since 2008 and in my journal I can find triggers to help me pinpoint possible flare situations.  Weight training can be one of them, but limiting how long I do it and making sure I don’t over-work my muscles help keep me out of flare.


Healing from flares is different for everyone and even 5 minutes of lifting weights can cause a flare for some people so trial and error is key and knowing that just lifting is helping with your overall health so compassion and patients is so important. Using bands or machines vs dumbells or barbells can also help with joint issues and soreness, or using just your body weight for a session here or there might also help limited the number of the flares or days you are in flare.


Keep trying, lift only what you comfortably can and rest for a couple days after.  Good luck with your training and your journey with MCTD.


A New Month, But Same Season

We have rolled into February and although it is a short month it seems so long. About the time we get to February and especially March in Maine I’m completely over the thought of winter. However, that does not make a bit of difference. I still have a few months left to endure of cold, snow, sever Raynaud’s, cold bones, and achy joints.

I am 5 injections into my new medication and the last injection did not come with any symptoms.  I was getting flu symptoms 2 days after my injection, but this time there was no flu, no fever, no symptoms of any sort.  I am getting better with the actual injection part as well and there is no pain.  This is much easier than I thought it was going be.  I’m trying to wake up every morning and do a quick analysis of how I feel and journal.  My hope is that I will start to notice some less stiffness or maybe even some less achy joints.  The worst part is when I first wake up, but it only last a few minutes. By the time I’m ready for my workout my body is ready to go.

I have been really focusing on my weight training this new year in hopes that if I can build muscle and take this new medication perhaps I will not flare as easily when my body goes into healing mode to build my muscles.  It seems so counterintuitive to weight training and flare while I heal, but I also know I need the weight training and the strong muscles to keep strong and healthy.  I’m only 32 days without a flare, so not that long, but my hope is that with this new medication I can increase my days without a flare to many, many more.


I haven’t written in a while but have not had a lot to write about. This is a good thing actually because it means that things in my life are relativity in balance. The point of this blog is to tell my story about MCTD but that story is very much the same day after day. I’m at 217 days without a flare which is wonderful and I’m very grateful that my body is feeling good. I am still working out every single day whether it means walking, spinning, or weight training. My yoga practice is a daily adventure whether it is my own practice, preparing for yoga classes, or teaching. My body is strong and most days I feel like my mind is strong. However, this time of year the days are short and it is dark when I go to work and it is dark when I get home. This time of year can be stressful for some people and even bring on depression. We are rushing from place to place, trying to prepare for events, eating and drinking more than we might normally, sleeping less than our bodies need and feeling the stress throughout our bodies and minds. Many people are rushing around so much that their immune systems wear out and illness takes over. I live with MCTD therefore I have a “super-immune system” I don’t worry about the common cold or flu. I don’t worry about picking up germs from the places I go. I enter a gym atmosphere nearly every day, which other than an airport might be one of the germiest places on earth. What I worry about is running my body too hard and putting myself into flare.

This time of year we must make choices, and they won’t all be easy. I thought I would write about some of the things I do in order to stay flare-up free during the holidays and winter months. I am not saying I don’t or won’t flare during the holidays or winter months but I try to keep things quiet in order to stay flare-up free for as long as possible. In Maine our winter started several weeks ago and will take us into April. It is long, it is cold, it is hard to endure sometimes. The way I get through this time is simply one day at a day time. Each day when I wake I take inventory of how I am feeling and then decide what my body needs. I will do something every day even on days I wake up a with some fatigue. I can always walk, as long as my legs will move, I can walk. I find some days it is actually easier to walk than to do yoga. Even if I choose restorative yoga because my body doesn’t always want to bend and move in certain postures.

This time of year we are invited to many events as most of you are, until I was diagnosed with MCTD I rarely said no to things even when I should have. For the last 13 years I say yes to the things that most important to me and my husband. Our families will always be high on the list and if I can help it we do not turn down family events. I also choose 1 evening event a week, this way I’m not out late 2 nights a week. We may do something Friday night and something Sunday during the day but not two late nights. This ensures that my body receives the adequate rest and sleep that it needs. I’m not hyper vigilante about what I eat this time of year except that I make stuff I really want. On Dec 26th that is when I go back to being hyper vigilante with my eating and drinking and let my body fully recover. By New Year’s I am not looking to go out or make resolutions I’m looking to start my new year fresh, clean and re-offer my body everything it needs. Think of it as a back to body basics cleanse.

I meditate a lot this time year. I take minutes in the morning to reflect on the day ahead and things I might have done differently yesterday. Not with anger, or regret, but as ways to learn and do better today. I take minutes to watch my thoughts, make my thoughts cleaner, and notice days when I really don’t have a lot of thoughts. I take this time for me, the time in my life that truly belongs to me, not my family, not my work, not my yoga, not my trainer, not my spin instructor, truly just me, only me. Minutes, not several minutes or an hour, minutes in my day.

This holiday season is going to look different to each and every person, but my goal in this holiday season is to capture the joy, love, peace and calm that it brings. Happy Holidays to all.


I realized last night that it has been an entire month since I sent out a blog post and honestly last night was the first time I even thought about it.  This crazy thing called life has gotten in the way.  I don’t mean this in a negative way because even when things are good, life can get in the way.  My husband and I are making a move after 17 years and you just realize how much work is involved.  My body and mind are not able to rest even for a minute these days but because there is always so much to think about, to do, to discuss and to re-evaluate.

This morning was my first time back to weight training in over a month and half.  I figured I was getting my weight training from packing boxes and moving them to storage, but this morning I was reminded that when you don’t use your muscles they will fatigue incredibly quickly.  It won’t take long for the muscle memory to return and I feel strong again and honestly I haven’t run into any boxes I couldn’t lift and haul so I think my strength is there I’m just using it differently.  I also decreased my prednisone to 4.5mg about 3 weeks ago. I wasn’t sure if with the extra fatigue and stress my body would allow the switch from 5 to 4.5 but I can say that things are going pretty well with.  My doctor wanted me to start to ween off since I have been on the Cellcept now for 3 months.  He is hurrying me to get off of it but I figured I would try a small dose reduction and try another one after we move if my body feels ready.

I did some meditating this morning for the first time since we started this whole life change back in April.  Everyone says that this is the time to meditate the most but I was feeling like things had to give, I had to give up many things and that was one of them. I also started walking every morning to conserve some energy to get me through my work days and do yoga whenever I’m teaching but I don’t have my own practice right now. We are about 2 weeks from moving in our new home, starting our new life and making new memories in a new place and I’m hoping that once we get moved in and settled we will find that tranquility life I crave.  I wouldn’t change what is happening right now in our lives I just wish we were at the end of this journey.  Every journey has its struggles and challenges and also its joyous events but all these things cause stress and as we know stress is my biggest trigger and usually the biggest trigger for most of us with autoimmune diseases.  I am at 62 days without a flare today and feeling really good about that.  My husband is constantly reminding me to breath and rest but my hope is to finally find some real sleep in my very near future.

I am too close to the situation to see when I really need to take a breath and relax . I give people advice all the time but it is very hard to take my own advice.  My plan for the next couple of weeks is to get back to my regular routine, walking, my personal yoga practice, weight training and meditation so this morning I was able to get my weight training session and meditation session in. That felt really good.


As some of you have read previously I have started Cellcept, a new medication for MCTD and Lupus to help change the course of the disease instead of dealing with individual symptoms.  I have been on it now for 8 weeks and I feel pretty good. Other than my flare at day 300 my body feels strong.  I am dealing with some life stuff so I am feeling more tired than normal but my body feels good and my exercise routine is normal.  As I was talking with my doctor he kept referring to my Lupus and for 13 years I have always considered myself to have MCTD.  Over the years I have done extensive research on both MCTD and Lupus.  My symptoms fall more in the MCTD range but apparently my blood work indicates more of a Lupus profile.  My internal organs are not affected as of right now and I do not have any skin rashes, lesions, or discoloration.  I do have severe Raynauds and my fingers continue to be thick, puffy, and swollen every day.  My joints feel ok and I take extra care with my small joints in weight training and yoga.  I do have an indicator for Polymyositis.  This is the first reading that has ever come back high for me and it does cause me some concern. Polymyositis is a rare inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness.  Although there is no cure for this disease there are treatments for managing it.  Usually in the form of medication or physical therapy.  My plan is to have a few more tests done stretched over 12 months so I have several readings at different times in my life and decide if this is something to be concerned with or was this a fluke or is there something else going on.  Either way I am not in denial but I want to make sure I understand what my body is telling me.  I enjoy physical therapy very much but decided to stop going nearly a year ago and perhaps that is a beneficial part of my management.  I also have not had time to meet with my trainer so I believe there are things I can do and try before any medication is introduced into my routine. I am not opposed to medications but only when I have exhausted all other options.

This news has caused concern for my husband and rightly so, but I have not felt that same concern. I do have feelings of the unknown but let’s be honest when anyone is dealing with any disease, illness or issue every day is unknown.  I am vigilant about my health and that won’t change it just means I need to do new research, figure out what Polymyositis means to me and do I really have it.


I have not been paying much attention to my blog lately other than weekly check in with steps but the truth is my MCTD is pretty quiet so I haven’t had much to discuss recently. I am not complaining about a dormant MCTD but I do think it is time to do a full check and reconnect.

I am at 242 days without a flare and with the extremely mild winter that Maine has had this year I have not even suffered from Raynaud’s much either.  My fingers are feeling much better and using the compound seems to have helped the issues I had over the summer.  I have to see the doctor again and have updated X-rays done to see if the calcium deposits are really smaller or gone but my fingers in general really feel much better.

As many of you know I am completely committed to my yoga practice and teaching these days so although my steps are right where they need to be I am not focusing on walking, spinning, or other cardio activities as much right now.  I am in the yoga studio or at home doing yoga every day and that takes a lot of time.  I was listening to a podcast the other day that said don’t let hobbies get in the way of people, relationships and family.  I think my husband would whole heartily agree with that statement but also realizes that I need to take this time now to establish myself as a yoga instructor so I can do more with it in my future and see where this may take me.  I love teaching, I love learning and I love doing yoga so all in all it was the best decision for me to make at this time in my life.

I do hope to find a nice balance between my yoga, cardio, weight training and of course my family and friends.  If only I could get my husband to join me in doing yoga I would be able to spend time with him while we did yoga but that is not likely for at least for the near future.  Perhaps as we move forward into our mid-lives it will inspire him to stay flexible and work on yoga for his body and mind.  Speaking of mind, my meditation practice is dialed and do get a few moments every day to sit quietly and just breathe.  There has been some research recently that states that a daily meditation practice could help with autoimmune diseases and chronic pain.  Find ways to relieve stress and finding ways to ensure that I don’t get over fatigued greatly helps with my MCTD and chronic pain, therefore, meditation is a great tool for both of those things.

With 242 days behind me I forget that I even have MCTD some days but I am also not new to having a long stretch being flare-up free and then having that flare that takes me back to zero.  I half expect it any day but I also don’t expect it to ever come again.  As we age and our hormones change that can also help with reducing the frequency of flares, good sleep, moderate eating, reducing stress, mindful activity, giving and receiving love and peace all help in managing the symptoms of autoimmune diseases.

I look forward to my next doctor appoint to see where my numbers are and what my X-rays look like and can make adjustments from there, but until then I will continue to do what I do and hope for many more flare up free days.


This is the start of a brand new month and I’m so surprised that a full month in 2016 is already over. I am behind on my stats so this will have 2 weeks of information.  I have increased my yoga to nearly 4 hours every single day except for Saturday and Sunday when I’m doing even more.  My body is felling good and I’m 220 days without a flare but I also have not had a lot of time for other things.  I’m weight training but only once per week and yes I make time for at least that 1 time per week. I wish it were more so I’m starting to incorporate light weights into my yoga routines.  This is just for me not the classes I teach nor do I tell my students I’m doing this as there is so much strength building in yoga already but I feel like I need some added weights.  I have 3 and 5 lbs weights I do during standing sequencing since it is not easy to chaturanga dandasana with weights in your hand so I have also been exploring weighted gloves so I don’t actually have to hold anything in my palms.


Weekly stats from 2 weeks ago

Weekly – 74,113

Daily – 10,588

Miles – 28.87

Floors – 122


Weekly stats from last week

Weekly – 80,121

Daily – 11,446

Miles – 31.15

Floors – 154


I also received the astronaut badge from Fibit last week as I reached 28,000 floors. They add up day after day, week after week, year after year.