Hey ladies! This one is especially for you and me! Let’s talk about workout and diet during and after our period. Raise your hand if you have been into these feeling when your period is on its way. Sluggish, crappy, and LAZY that all you want to do is just eat all those sweets and chips, sleep, and just be a couch potato. YES! We all have this moment, every single month! Like it’s a cycle.
I feel you! If you tend to ditch workout or the gym during that time of the month, here’s something to think about: Your body is in its best condition to kill those workout and lift heavy! Doesn’t fell like it? Well, motivation aside, Studies suggest that estrogen levels are highest during the first 2 weeks of your cycle and women can access carbohydrate/glycogen easily during period as our estrogen and progesterone levels drop. 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.
Here’s the two phases of the menstrual cycle for us to have a better understanding on it (no matter how complicated we can get! haha!)
FOLLICULAR PHASE DAY 1-6 – WHAT WORKOUT SHOULD I DO?
Surprise surprise! The best time to go hard is during the 1st day of our period up to right before we ovulate. This is actually the time we are at our STRONGEST, best time to make gains! Our body’s pain tolerance is increasing and our muscles recover quicker during this phase. This is the best time to take your workout to the next level to a much higher intensity! Yes, ladies, you read it right! It is the best time to go beast mode! (granting you are not experiencing cramps and other serious condition during your period) Lift those heavy weights as your body is in its performance peak so take advantage of it! I make it a point not to leg day during this phase!
If you have period cramps however (I know a lot of ladies with this problem during period), take it easy. Even though we are supposed to be at our strongest, sometimes the pain can take the best of us, so take it easy – do gentle exercises like yoga, or go for a brisk walk to reduce the cramps.
WHAT DO I EAT?
Good news ladies! If you are the carb person type (like me), you can increase your carb intake during these times especially after your workout sessions to avoid the body from burning out. We are talking about good carbs (yes, rice included 😀 )
After our period, progesterone is relatively low after the menstruation period. Estrogen helps muscle recovery and builds muscle faster. Take advantage of this period and lift heavy – focus on total body strength training. Pay attention to your pre workout warm up and post workout warm up because we are at higher risk of getting injuries during this time. Do not forget to eat a balanced diet (protein and carbs) after workout!
Luteal Phase – Day 14-Day 28
Feeling crappy? losing motivation to workout? That’s your estrogen at its high level inhibiting carbohydrate access, you can’t hit your high intensity the previous week! Good news is, your body is now using FAT as fuel. Your body is now burning FAT instead of carbs or glycogen. Focus on CARDIO (Trail run, road run, swim, jump ropes, dance, etc). This is the time where the muscle breakdown increases so recovery is slower. You can go a bit easy.
ALERT! This is where the crazy PMS symptoms starts to kick in! Ugh! All the cravings for sweets, salty,
fatty food, and bigger appetite! BLOATED as the body retains more water during this phase, we also experience having the trouble sleeping! That is just demotivating, right? I feel you! Motivation in this time is usually low so be prepared to fight it off! That’s when where this saying should come into play, “Fitness is a mental game” Be tough mentally and power through your workout! What I usually do to fight it off is I put on my workout clothes while I am working so it gives me the reason to move whether I go out to hit the gym, go for a quick run, or do some home workout. Either way, I move and burn calories. It’s just a matter of really committing to show up regardless of how we feel.
Ladies, it is so important to track our cycles to master our bodies! We can’t control the cards that we’re given (tough to be a lady), we just have to know how to play it! We got this ladies! Don’t stop moving! It’s just your mind messing with you. Remember that your body is stronger than you think it is, so power on!