Issue #1


by HardFitness

Thyroid Disorders
by Sandra del Vecchio

The Ins and Outs of a Fitness Routine
by Kristi Willis

Best Shape of your Life
by Julie Lohre

Women and Strength Training
by Holly Geersen

Video Interviews featuring Julie Lohre and Sandra Wickham

Pictorials featuring Amy Peters, Holly Geersen, Julie Lohre, Erica Davidson and Mimi Jabalee

Things to Pack for Contest Day by Amy Peters

A week prior to a show (an article about carb/water depletion)
by Tanya Pennington

Thermogenics by Sandra Del Vecchio

Upcoming shows in '05
by HardFitness

Antioxidants by Holly Geersen

Picture Perfect get the Right Contest Color by Deborah Denio

Easy Lasagna by Amy Peters

Bethany Howlett book by Bethany Howlett

Some facts of Life
by Holly Geersen

Beyond the Plateau
by Shelly Pinkerton

Thyroid Disorders by Sandra Del Vecchio

I have written this article on Thyroid disorders based on research I have done and my own personal experience. Hypothyroid is a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroid (Grave's disease) is a condition in which the body produces too much thyroid hormone. The most common cause of both thyroid disorders are autoimmune disease (a condition caused by one's own immune system turning against one's own thyroid gland).

I was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism (Grave's disease) about 7 1/2 years ago. I noticed several symptoms such as:

* Heart palpitations
* Fast heart rate
* Heat intolerance (can't tolerate the heat, when other's around you don't feel the heat)
* Nervousness
* Anxiety
* Insomnia
* Breathlessness
* Abnormal menstrual cycles
* Fatigue
* Trembling hands
* Weight loss
* Muscle weakness
* Staring gaze

My case was severe and medication alone could not cure this disorder, it would only serve as a temporary fix. After visiting an endocrinologist, it was determined the best treatment for me would be to undergo radioactive iodine therapy (I-131 uptake). This was a pill form that was administered under hospital conditions. After swallowing this pill, I could not go near other people for about three days, especially children and pregnant women due to the radioactive substance running through my body. This did not cause harm to any other organs in my body because the thyroid gland absorbs iodine which allows the radioactive substance to collect (uptake) in the thyroid gland with the intent to destroy the overactive thyroid cells. Unfortunately with that process, the amount of radioactive iodine given kills too many thyroid cells so the remaining thyroid does not produce enough hormone resulting in hypothyroidism. It became necessary to take a thyroid replacement medication (synthroid). Under "normal" conditions, my thyroid medication serves it's purpose. However, due to the physical stress I put my body through during competition dieting and training, my thyroid levels usually suffer as a result. Under doctor supervision, I usually have to increase my thyroid medication during contest preparation so my thyroid levels continue to function in a normal range. Since the main purpose of the thyroid is to control and regulate metabolism, it becomes especially important that everything is functioning the way it should be or it is next to impossible for my body to lose the weight necessary for contest preparation. I learned the hard way this year ... I did not pay close enough attention to my thyroid levels during my last two competitions and my body really suffered the consequences. I have spent this off-season "getting my body back to normal conditions" so I can prepare for my next round of competitions in a healthy and safe way.
The normal range of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is between 0.5 - 5.0. A high level of TSH indicates hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) because the body is experiencing a low level of thyroid hormone the pituitary glad will make additional TSH in an attempt to entice the thyroid to produce more hormone, therefore causing an increase in TSH levels. A low level of TSH indicates hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). I had my blood levels checked after my last competition when I was experiencing several symptoms of hypothyroidism and my TSH level came back at 23.625 (which is EXTREME hypothyroidism). My symptoms included:

* Fatigue
* Weakness
* Weight gain / difficulty losing weight
* Cold intolerance (can't tolerate the cold, when others around you don't feel cold)
* Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
* Depression
* Irritability
* Memory loss
* Abnormal menstrual cycles
* Decreased energy levels

Potential Dangers of Hypothyroidism: because the pituitary will make additional TSH to trigger the thyroid to make more hormone, the constant bombardment of TSH may cause the thyroid gland to become enlarged and form a goiter. Left untreated, the symptoms of hypothyroidism will progress and complications can result in severe life-threatening depression, heart failure or coma.

Potential Dangers of Hyperthyroidism: more severe symptoms include mental changes such as confusion and delirium. Untreated hyperthyroidism may result in a "thyroid storm" which is a condition involving high blood pressure, fever and heart failure.

It is especially important for me to share this information, and by talking about my own personal experience I hope to increase awareness because over five million Americans have this common medical condition. In fact, as many as ten percent of women may have some degree of thyroid hormone deficiency. It is more common than you would believe... and millions of people currently suffer from thyroid disorders and don't even know it.
Sandra Del Vecchio

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About the Author...

Location: Sarasota, FL
Phone Number: (941) 685-6455

INFO: My path to Sarasota, FL started after I decided to pursue a career change. Originally from Rochester, NY I worked for 11 years at the Xerox Corporation as a financial analyst. As my own career in figure competing quickly elevated to the IFBB Pro Level, I decided to make personal training my full-time profession. Personal training is just something I have a passion for, I can't imagine doing anything else.

I earned my certification through the American Fitness Training of Athletics (AFTA) as a trainer/nutrition consultant. I am also qualified as an NPC District Judge.

One of my main objectives as a trainer is to keep my clients focused on their goals and to be a motivator. I also educate my clients on proper nutrition and how fitness and eating well becomes a lifestyle not a chore. Eighty percent of reaching your goals is accomplished through proper nutrition. I always preach to my clients that it's not just the hour a day you spend with me in the gym, it's what you are doing the other 23 hours in the day that is so important.

I work with many clients in the comfort of their own home, at the private gym facility (Fitness Connections) in Sarasota, FL and also on-line I prescribe nutrition plans and training programs for individuals who want to work with me that do not live in my vicinity.

My own focus and dedication has allowed me to achieve great heights throughout my life. I graduated at the top of my class in college, enjoyed a successful business career, achieved professional status as a figure athlete and love helping others reach their own personal goals in fitness ... I would take great pride in helping you as well. Give me a call or send me an e-mail ... I would love to hear from you!

Be Healthy and Love Life,

Sandra D

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