WAIT…Gents, before you run away. You may benefit greatly from knowing how our partners, spouses, mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and clients feel during their menstrual cycle and how they can plan their exercise more intelligently. So read on.
It’s that time of the month again and you’re feeling bloated, irritable, tired, grumpy and psychologically devastated. The symptoms vary by individual and can affect you physically and mentally but it can also affect your performance… in a good way, if you pay attention to your cycle.
Your cycle influences your metabolic rate. The week or so before your period is due to begin (luteal phase) your insulin sensitivity levels lower while at the same time giving you an increase in metabolism. You will actually burn calories faster than any other time of the month. Studies show an increase of total energy expenditure of up to 11% greater. Bonus right.
So fight the urge of reaching for the panadol and slouching on the couch during your next cycle and try remaining consistent with your exercise routine as the benefits are quite surprising.
Benefits of sticking to your exercise routine:
Decrease micthe pain of cramps by releasing endorphins (the body's natural painkillers)
Increases blood flow by loosening muscles in your lower abdomen, back, and thighs.
May help achieve a lighter and shorter menstrual flow over time.
Rid your body of excess water so you aren’t bloated.
Improve and stabilize your mood, making you less anxious, angry, or depressed.
If you are having a heavy flow day or experiencing heavy cramping but don’t want that to stop you from getting your workout fix, go with the flow (pardon the pun) and focus on non-pelvic body parts, like your biceps and triceps and upper body exercises.
However, you may also need to keep in mind that with your menstrual cycle also comes an increase in appetite and potential cravings which may lead to consuming additional calories. This is a sign from your body in order to have additional energy for metabolizing. During this time, carbs release serotonin and food cravings occur. To help you stay on track, try not to give in to the cravings that don’t serve your goals and aim for foods that will nourish your body and restore your energy needs.
These tips will help ensure you are nourishing your body during your cycle and help with that dreaded bloat:
Exercise around your period will improve oxygen circulation throughout the body.
Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
Choose low GI carbohydrates
Avoid lots of salt (but use spices, especially spicy ones, liberally, oregano is a great herb to include too).
Avoid refined sugars and fried foods.
Avoid caffeine—it can make cramps worse.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Sip on herbal tea
Get plenty of sleep.
Use heat to relieve cramps so you can get to the gym and stick to your workouts.
So Power to your Period!!! There is no need to let your period hinder your lifestyle, mentality or performance any longer.