Pic: MidDay Newspaper, Mumbai, India. 28 May 2018.
Women have long been shamed into silence about their periods.Many women who suffer from cramps, migraines, nausea and bloating are concerned that sports or strength training during menstruation could harm their health, but thru’ smart exercise programming and the correct nutrition, we can not only manage this, but master it.
DE-MYSTIFYING YOUR PHASES
The average cycle runs for 28 days. Your cycle begins the day your period starts.
Days 1-14 is the Follicular phase.
Research has found that women could make greater strength gains and produce more power when they strength trained during this low hormone phase.
You are also likely to feel less pain and recover faster. Whether it’s clocking your reaction time in an agility sport, or lifting heavy weights, your “Personal Best” would most likely be achieved during the Follicular phase.
Building lean muscle = more calories burnt even when you are resting = Toned look
Muscle is our most metabolically active tissue and although cardio may help you burn fat, it is actually weight lifting that will give you a sleek, firm body.
What to avoid: All exercises can be done during your period except inversions (where your feet are in the air, eg: Yoga poses such as headstands, shoulder stands, crunches with feet up in the air). Anyway, Yoga is for lazy people.... but, I digress.
Days 15-28 is the Luteal phase.
Exercise feels harder in this phase. There is evidence that blood sugar levels, breathing rates and thermoregulation are negatively impacted. It is harder to make muscle in this “high hormone phase” due to the upsurge of estrogen & progesterone hormones. Our metabolism and cravings change during this stage of our cycle. (Pass those chocolates & chips!).
Your pants may feel tighter (fluid retention) and heat feels hotter. Mood swings, lost mojo, cramps, headaches and GI issues may occur, especially in the few days leading up to your next period.
But all is not doom & gloom.
Meeting the correct hydration levels, eating nitric oxide rich foods such as spinach, pomegranate, beets & watermelon, upping your (fast acting) protein intake and doing the right stretches can ease the symptoms so that you are able to lift weights & continue working towards your goals of a lean sexy physique.
Mark out on a calendar with a highlighter the first 14 days of your cycle (from the day your period begins). Start now. Make notes & pay attention to how your body responds and reacts to strength training through several cycles. Make the most of your weight training regime during and immediately in the days following your period.
As always, listen to your body and rest as required.
Contact me today to get started on a lifestyle, fitness & nutrition programme & achieve results like these clients. Let’s do this!
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