Is your period pain robbing you of your goals?
If you feel like your fitness levels fluctuate throughout your monthly cycle, it's not just in your head: You might feel sluggish. Do you know what is happening to your body during your cycle? Your metabolism shifts to use fat as its primary energy source over carbs, and those fatty acids are slower to release as energy; with fewer carbs available, you have less fuel for power. You will feel bloated, as increased estrogen causes your kidneys to redistribute water flow. These physical shifts are a direct result of the process the body undergoes to prepare itself to carry a fertilized egg and sustain a pregnancy. During this time, that's your body's main priority. So it changes metabolic processes to support that, without regard to the side effects we all despise.
Hormones really can affect your energy levels, strength, stamina, likelihood of injury, and how your body responds to exercise, overall. Working out while on your menstrual cycle. I know it is the last thing we want to do when we have our period, but working out can actually help relieve the symptoms that make getting your period so annoying in the first place. Trust me, my period used to be so bad I would lay in fetal position for 4-5hrs straight. So I get it. But I learned the more active you are (overall) and more consistent you are with a workout routine, the better your periods end up being.
Case in point: when you sweat, water leaves the body, which can relieve uncomfortable belly bloat. You get less cramping and less of a flow. That means less leaks and less of a risk of an accident on your pants. I remember in High School I felt a huge clump while sitting in my chair in class and not wanting to get up until class ended because I was afraid I had something on my pants. I would sit there with my mind and heart racing 100mph, sweating like I was sprinting. Now that I know do’s and don’t when it comes to my period and working out I am one happy go lucky girl. I am excited about sharing what I now know with my Pretty Fit Girls so you to can have the tips and tricks to push you forward vs holding you back with your goals.
It has a menstrual calendar to show you when you are ovulating and when your period starts. Awesome right! It has worked wonders. Now that I know when my period is coming, I take the necessary steps so I can avoid being super emotional and try to skip a much-needed workout.
Once your period starts your body kicks things off with cramping and bleeding, the first few days can be the hardest time to train.
If you're working out on your own, include some exercises that entail lying facedown, which can alleviate cramping, and a gentle lower belly massage. (A disposable heating pad can also help — just apply it before you hit the gym.)
Don’t let the pain sneak up on you .Now that we know our period is coming, lets have a plan of action ahead. First thing I will recommend is taking some form of pain killer the day before or with your first signs of pre-menstrual cramps. When you take action ahead, you should avoid any menstrual symptoms before you. Also make sure you have proper necessities (tampons, pads, and menstrual cups, etc) ready to go.
USE THE RIGHT PROTECTION
One of the biggest concerns I hear girls saying is "what if I leak?" Although you will be moving your body in ways that might cause more of a flow, you can use the right tools to keep your period in check. Opt for using a menstrual cup or a tampon rather than pads or panty liners; these options will trap the blood before it leaves your body, making it less likely to leak. Menstrual cups are much better at preventing leaks than tampons are, but their application may not be comfortable for everyone. Also I usually insert a new tampon just before exercising, so that you’ll have a better chance of being leak-free.
SYNC YOUR WORKOUTS TO YOUR CYCLE
GO HARD BEFORE…..
Ø It may be the best time to do HIIT
When your period starts, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop. And because of this, women can access carbohydrate/glycogen easily, as compared to high-estrogen time periods [when we] rely more on the slow breakdown of fat. In other words, this hormone shift makes fuel more accessible to your body, allowing you to push harder and get more out of short, fast-paced workouts than you would during other times of the month.
NOW IT HAS STARTED….
Ø It’s okay to give yourself a break
All this said, if you’re really just not feeling it, don’t beat yourself up for not going all out. Even just a gentle stroll counts as exercise, and it may help you feel better. Your best bet is to do some light and easy movement that helps reduce inflammation via blood flow. If you really feel terrible, it’s all right to take a day off.
That's why it's important to think of your workout plan as a monthly cycle. Give yourself the flexibility to push hard when you're feeling good and to back off when you're not. Now that's flow.
Cycle Your Workouts
The best activities for how you're feeling—any time of the month.
Go with the Flow!
Ø Before your cycle starts….
Feel Strong? Up the intensity of your strength training: Add extra reps or increase weight. Do an extra 10min cardio.
Ø From ovulation until the day before your period…
Feel Lousy? Take a day off.
Ø After it is all over…
Feeling Relieved? GO HARD; this is where you have the most strength!
Depending on the day, your hormones can strike out your best efforts to exercise, or help you get the best workout yet. Of course everyone responds differently to these hormonal changes and you can't stop living because of them. But if you want to max out on the benefits of exercise, listen to your body, sync your workouts to your cycle, and see how you feel.
Final Note: If you’re regularly sidelined by your periods, consider talking to your doctor; prescription remedies like the birth control pill might be helpful. Plus, it’s a good idea to have major aches and super heavy periods investigated because those could signal a health problem like endometriosis.
Sending lots of love and positive vibes!:)