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  • Writer's pictureLarie Marin MD

Hypothyroidism: The Hidden Battle of Building Muscle and Losing Fat

Updated: May 9, 2023


Imagine pushing yourself to the limit in your workouts, tracking your macros religiously, and still struggling to see any progress. For many people living with hypothyroidism, this is their reality. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones, leading to a myriad of symptoms that can significantly impact a person's overall well-being. In this blog post, we'll explore how hypothyroidism can make building muscle and losing fat more challenging and share some tips to help you navigate this complex journey.

The Impact of Hypothyroidism on Your Body

Hypothyroidism can affect your body in many ways, making it difficult to achieve your fitness goals. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Fatigue: Constant tiredness can make it harder to find the energy to work out or even perform daily tasks. This exhaustion can also affect your motivation and commitment to a regular fitness routine.

  2. Slow Metabolism: A sluggish metabolism can make losing fat more difficult. With hypothyroidism, your body may burn fewer calories at rest, leading to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

  3. Muscle Weakness: Hypothyroidism can cause muscle weakness and aches, which can hinder your ability to perform at your best during workouts and make building muscle more challenging.

  4. Brain Fog: The mental fog that often accompanies hypothyroidism can make it hard to focus and stay motivated, affecting your ability to stay consistent with your fitness and nutrition plans.

Tips for Building Muscle and Losing Fat with Hypothyroidism

Despite the challenges posed by hypothyroidism, there are ways to work towards your fitness goals:

  1. Consult Your Doctor: It's essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to manage your condition. Regular blood tests and medication adjustments can help bring your hormone levels within the normal range, alleviating some symptoms.

  2. Be Patient: Progress might be slower for those with hypothyroidism, but it's important to remember that consistency is key. Stay committed to your fitness journey, and celebrate small victories along the way.

  3. Adjust Your Diet: Work with a nutritionist or dietitian to develop a meal plan that supports your goals. Eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients and adequate protein can help you build muscle and lose fat.

  4. Prioritize Recovery: Listen to your body and give it time to recover. Incorporate rest days into your workout routine and focus on quality sleep to help your body heal and recharge.

  5. Customize Your Workouts: Work with a personal trainer or fitness coach to develop a workout plan tailored to your specific needs and limitations. They can help you find exercises that suit your abilities and goals.


Living with hypothyroidism can make building muscle and losing fat more challenging, but it doesn't mean it's impossible. By understanding the impact of the condition on your body, working closely with your healthcare team, and tailoring your fitness and nutrition plans to your needs, you can still make progress and improve your overall well-being. Remember, it's not about comparing yourself to others; it's about finding what works best for you and your body.

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