Women really are amazing creatures and our bodies are capable of some extraordinary things but at the same time we can be an out of control species haha and no wonder why with all the hormonal changes that happen throughout our monthly cycles I think we handle it quite well.
So how does this cycle effect your training? Well in many ways that you probably have never taken any notice of. There are things that you need to take into account around that time of the month when you are training. I always encourage clients firstly to become more aware of their bodies so you are able to pick up on clues yourself about your energy levels and what exercise program is going to be appropriate for you on certain days. The first thing I suggest is getting familiar with your own cycle. There is an amazing app called "Period Tracker" it’s really nifty and can help you to learn more about your own cycle and what you experience each month.
PMS symptoms can range from exhaustion, nausea, headaches, mood swings, back pain and cramps and of course with others I surely have not mentioned with each month being different to the last. It’s important to take it a little easier around this time especially if you are feeling tired. It’s best to do a lighter session and really just listen to your body.
One thing that I see a lot around this time is clients getting upset thinking they have gone backwards and put on weight due to bloating. Well it’s actually normal to put on at least one kilogram around this time so be sure to always keep that in the back of your mind before you spiral into a self pity party. I know how that feels to have one week out of the month where all you want to do is eat chocolate, pizza, chips, ice-cream and junk food cause hell you feel fat anyway, right? Learn to expect it and anticipate it that at least one week out of every month you are going to feel like a beached whale. Don’t let it get you down anymore. Like I said above learn to know your cycle and accept that you cannot change this. The best thing to do is to let it work for you and prepare yourself to deal with the symptoms as best you can every month.
One very important thing to remember around this time is that your core will not be working at its best, in fact it will likely switch off entirely. You may have experienced this when you get a sore back when you usually don’t and you are less likely to feel abdominal exercises at all around these times too. So you need to be careful if you are on a heavy lifting program especially around this time of the month as you can really do some damage to your back if you are doing heavy deadlifts or squats which require core activation.
The best time to train your hardest and push through workouts is the week after your period has finished. It’s known as the follicular phase. Generally around this time our pain tolerance is much higher as well and we are in a much better frame of mind.
So best ways to work with your cycle is to:
1. Accept it that it’s going to happen whether you like it or not. The symptoms you cannot control.
2. Learn to expect to feel heavier and don’t let it get you down allowing yourself to get out of control.
3. Expect to have cravings around this time and try to have plenty of healthier alternatives available instead. I do also say listen to your body so if you feel hungrier definitely increase your calories but try to limit as much junk as you can.
4. Keep your training intensity low and no heavy lifting around this time.
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