Adam's Story: Becoming FitterFasterStronger with Addison's disease Adam who was diagnoised with Addison's disease as a child, went on to play semi-professional football for 15 years and continues his love of exercise by coaching in his spare time. Adam shares with us his tips for training and exercising whilst managing his Addison's. The irony I have always been a keen sportsman with a desire to compete! So when I couldn’t get warm after playing for my school’s district football team at the age of 13, then further deterioration with extreme tiredness, my skin going dark and lack of concentration, my mum took me to the doctors. This was followed by prolonged investigation that resulted in my Addison's disease diagnosis. Throw in the mix, hereditary thrombocytopenia (I bleed and bruise easily) with mycosis fungoides (a form of blood cancer) and a few other medical problems, it would have been easy to give up on my sporting dreams. But I used this as a driving force to be the best I could be and prove my Addison's disease wrong! It wasn’t going to hold me back. As friends would visit me in hospital and tell me about other kids being scouted for Premier League teams, I would visualize myself heading and kicking a football, wanting to play at the highest level I possibly could. It wasn’t going to stop me. Career With lots of hard work and clean living I managed to play at the top level of non-league football for a few years and continued to play semi-professional football for 15 years. I never really told anyone in the game about my Addison's as I did not want to be judged, instead deciding to just dedicate myself to staying fit and healthy. The Fads After retiring I needed something to replace football, so I tried Crossfit; a high-intensity, all-go exercise philosophy. I was never going to win the Crossfit games, but it was my way of continuing to beat the Addison's and saying “Yes I can”! After three years of Crossfit I continued to keep fit training in boxing, powerlifting as well as other sports. The Now As I get older and things start to get physically harder, I am continually looking for ways to challenge myself that my body can manage. This has led me to triathlons. I have also found that I get great fulfillment from coaching other people to become healthier versions of themselves! Whether this be in my day job as mental health support worker, coaching on a 1-2-1 basis or in a class via Zoom, I love helping people. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it "Having a strong mindset, eating well, keeping fit and taking my medication routinely has saved my life on numerous occasions." I believe my lifestyle has helped to speed up my recovery following any Addison’s crisis or hospital admissions. My wife and two children are a massive support and driver towards keeping as fit and healthy as I can! I’m not going to tell you it’s plain sailing, but I am going to tell you that you can do it. Medication Taking medication is essential to life for those of us who have Addison's... I set alarms, three each day. Taking extra before an intense session (having read Dr. Rob Andrews blog post, I am pleased I am doing it right). Sorting a weekly pill pot has also helped. I find taking my hydrocortisone before I exercise helps me recover, as opposed to taking my medication afterwards. GoSafe GoStrong GoGetIt I have channeled my Addison’s to shape me and not break me. "Whatever your aim or goal is, BELIEVE you can and you’re halfway there!" My top tips for exercising with Addison's are: Listen to your body (if you're tired, take your time) Hydration is important (keeping your salt/potassium levels up) More intensity = more medication (speak to your Dr) Have fun with exercise and don’t be scared (be brave and embrace it) Be prepared (carry snacks, extra medication and set alarms) Trackers (going for a run, set a tracker on your phone, send it to someone) "Thank you for reading, please get in touch if you have any questions." Author: Adam Cooper aka Coach Coops. To hear more from Adam and his FitterFasterStronger tips, check out his Instagram and Website. Do you have a story about Addison's to help or encourage others? Whatever your story or experience we would be delighted to hear from you. Tell us your story Whether you're newly diagnosed or have lived with the condition for years - please join our community and support our cause! You'll receive the latest expert advice, guidance and ADSHG news, whilst being part of our inspiring and supportive community. Become a member today! Join the ADSHG Say hello! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.