Mother nature can be a serious bitch when she wants to be. You’re finally seeing results, your food has been the best it’s been in ages and a colleague at work even complimented you on your new found curves. Two hours later and you’re experiencing more cravings than the cookie monster, you want to devour every carb ever invented and swap tonights gym session for some duvet action and Love Actually on repeat. “Hello, Period!”.
This weeks period has been one of the mega ones, I feel like every three months I get a super-period. Three or four days prior I’m like a human trash-can, I’m never full and always craving, then that evening comes the mother of all cramps, just in time for a restless nights sleep. Throughout my period which usually lasts four to five days I know that my exercise motivation will drop, I’ll experience a drop in strength, cardio will feel so much harder, not to mention sweatier, my moods will go from one extreme to the other, I’m hot, snappy and bloated. I’m a walking thunder-cloud.
Cravings, I want to eat everything in copious amounts and nothing ever really satisfies me so I prepare! I prepare to over snack and overeat. The week of my period I will stock up on extra snacks, making sure I always have some carrots, hummus, olives, popcorn or protein balls with me at all times and most certainly allow myself a chocolate bar each day. The chocolate thing is a real issue for a lot of us so why punish yourself? Instead of binging on a family sized bar each night, do yourself a favour and buy a snack/normal sized one. This way you get to enjoy it without the guilt (not that there should be any guilt involved).
Tracking; I’ve used the Period Tracker App ever since I’ve had an iPhone, as someone who was never very regular I wanted to try and gage when I might want to swap my sexy pants for my not so sexy pants. Having my period tracked means I can prepare for my upcoming change of mood, cravings and that motivation drop. It also means I can plan my workouts and meals to help me through the slump instead of falling face first and crashing.
Exercise, during my period I know that my motivation levels drop so I switch it up. Instead of working out alone at the gym I change up my routine and opt for a dance class, running club, bouldering, CrossFit class, or my favourite; a Boxing session! If you’re aware that your fitness levels, or just mood in general to workout, drop before, during or after your period then try something new. Those happy endorphins moving through your body will make a huge difference to your day!
Weight Gain, some months I can fluctuate between as much as 7lbs before, during and after my period due to water retention, change in diet, lack of sleep, stress and of course my cycle, which is why I never recommend weighing yourself during this time. However, if you are someone that loves to jump on the scales, then do yourself a favour and weigh yourself twice a week for 3 months, try to stay impartial about the number and instead use it as an indicator to know how much your body fluctuates and notice when it peaks and drops. If you’d like to know more about hormones and body fat I cannot recommend this Facebook video by Personal Trainer James Smith. He goes into more detail about female fat loss and I am sure it will make you think twice about being quite so mean about your body fat! Have you found what works for you during your period? I’d love to hear your thoughts, top tips and tricks for working with mother nature in the comments below!