The Monthly Hormone Monster All Busy Women Face
We are all a little of the mercy of our monthly hormonal cycle and how it makes us feel. When we lose control, eat far too much and generally a bit of a lose cannon.
So this is really about optimising your cycle to make life great and still tone up. I speak to ALOT of women as StrongHer grows and grows who really struggle through their monthly cycle and suffer with PMS, at certain times of the month they become snappy mood hoovers or duvet lovers who won’t budge.
Your hormonal cycle has a huge affect on your life, how you feel, appetite, you energy and your positivity. So don’t think it’s YOU as such. Understanding your cycle will really help you know YOU a little more. This is all about OPTIMISING that monthly cycle for toning and training. Working with it so you feel AWESOME.
It’s a little misunderstood.
We don’t all go mad and turn into screaming ranters. If you do have extremes through a month there might be a problem with one of your body processes … thyroid (controls metabolism), liver (cleansing) or gut health (food metabolism). So you’d need to look a little more widely.
PLUS what you eat has a HUGE affect on your hormonal cycle, especially extremes of carbs. And stress can throw your whole cycle out. Look at your lifestyle as a whole not just diet and if PMS is really an issue and you become a raving hater … it’s your lifestyle that needs to be looked at.
Track it and know, no more guesswork
So you can really understand your own cycle we’d recommend EVERYONE tracking their cycle for 2-3 months. Just in a nice simple way. The first day of your period and then through the month each week track: How you feel, your energy, appetite, strength levels and cravings, how you sleep and your body temperature. The benefits: From tracking your cycle you can really start to optimise your training and lifestyle for a happier you.
Sound good, here’s some of the key ones:
#1: Adjust training to fit with how you feel Allow for heavier training when feeling strong and full of energy. When at the phase in the cycle that means you want to nest and stay at home, use it a deload week. Still train but don’t go all out …. in summary listen to your body and use the RPE scale we use with all Strongher Athletes.
#2: Be mindful of food, manage those cravings When you hit certain points in the month, you’ll be more hungry and have stronger cravings. You can learn to plan round these and also not kick your own arse so much. It isn’t YOU, it’s your body and hormones.
#3: Even use it to plan your life! Having a date night with your partner, then check with your cycle to see when you will be feeling best. It’s a sure fire way of getting your sexy back. Planning your social life around when you feel best might sound extreme but if it makes for a happier you then it’s all good … try it.
#4: Understand “bad” weeks Limit that arse kicking. If you know your own cycle you know when you might not be as strong in the gym and feel a little low. So there’s no need to kick your arse and be hard on yourself.
You are special: Yes I say that to all my lovely ladies and mean it but I mean unique and special biochemically. We all work in slightly different ways … different cycle patterns, hormone levels varying and different monthly symptoms. That’s why we suggest you track your monthly cycle to know how YOU work and YOUR reactions. The TRUE you. (God I love getting my geek on)
How to be AWESOME ALL month
#1st Phase comes under the Follicular Phase (menstruation occurs from approx day 1 – 7)
• Cramps and pain can be common. Emotions and energy can be really up and down.
• Might be in need of more sleep and cravings for carbs, chocolate and wine … comfort eating. Use it as a time to get some more energy stores back in your muscles.
• Training may feel a little tougher in this week so relax and do what you can.
• Important events such as interviews or BIG social events you might want to rearrange.
#2nd comes under the Follicular Phase still mid-cycle (c.day 7 – 15) You move into your mid-cycle until you reach the point of ovulation again. This is your ‘Feel Good’ phase!
• Huge increases in mood is often reported here. Mini breaks and SEXY nights out, are good here.
• Motivation and “competitiveness” increases and the tendency to feel stronger. So training and diet you should be able to more consistent.
• Get out and about more, you’ll be feeling confident and GOOOOOODDDDDD.
#3rd Phase Ovulation (c.day 15 – 22) Here the body is saying “get ready to make a baby” think attraction, evolution – body wants to mate.
• Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge. This is your SEXY time so get on it. • Mood and the feel good factor is still high here. Go out and enjoy yourself.
• However towards the later days you will start to notice the physical symptoms of the pre-pms phase start to appear.
• At the end of this phase bloating and water retention might increase, so the scales MIGHT creep up a little.
#4th and Final Phase Luteal Phase (c.day 22 – 28) • This is the main onset of PMS symptoms, most commonly including bloating, breast tenderness, water retention, pain, high/low and unstable emotions, as well as the onset of the fatigue and the cravings start again.
• Again maybe when you start to feel fat, clothes not fitting and feeling really self conscious.
• Your desire to “nest” returns and your mood and go into hibernation mode. Confidence might drop too.
• Outlook on life can become more negative so just be nice to yourself. Relax and focus on mindfulness and meditation.
• Might not feel so strong so do what you can in training. No one rep maxes here.
A little extra help: Consider Epsom salt baths, greens drinks and magnesium to help you manage through the month.
Track it and know it: Start with tracking it and keeping a log of how you feel. Then see if it follows in the next month, use it to see how you really are.
Acknowledgement: Heather Wynn, BTN Nutritionist … thank you for helping me share this 🙂
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