Ok ladies and gentlemen, this blog post’s discussion is something that is not the most comfortable to talk about, but pretty important. Ah, good ol’ periods, the most pleasant time of the month as graced by mother earth. The glorious cramps, unconditional crying for no reason, cravings that make no sense, and of course, all the bloating that makes you look just swell. But the real question is, what kind of exercises should I do when I am on my period? Or should I do them at all? Should I lift? Can I just sit in fetal position and ask why this happens every month? This all from my personal experience, and by no means should be taken as a professional medical opinion. If you have severe cramps and or other issues when on your period, you should see a doctor.
I get my period about every 6 weeks, which I know isn’t “normal” but it’s pretty regular. And the most annoying part is that its different every six weeks. Some weeks I can tell its coming because I get these weird ass cravings, the week before I eat anything and everything in my path, I cry for no reason, and my lifts feel a little weaker. Some weeks it’s just like, Surprise! Sometimes, when I haven’t been sleeping enough, my period gets delayed, which sounds nice—it is not. For the most part, I can lift the same I normally do but it feels more strenuous and my cardio sessions are slower, I get winded quicker, and I just feel over all heavier as if everything is made of lead. The more consistent you make working out, the easier your periods will be over time. You will notice a less intensity of cramps, a naturally lifted mood throughout the period, and a better control of the food you want to eat.
I think exercise is one of the BEST possible cures for cramps and just overall lousiness. I have noticed that even on the first two days of my period when it is the heaviest, if I don’t do some sort of exercise, the whole period ordeal is so much more uncomfortable. My back pain is worse, I am so much more bloated, I don’t sleep, and I am significantly more irritable (lol just ask my sister). I do my regular lifts throughout the week, but I do them at about 65% of my max, I do less aesthetic work, and I stretch for a longer period before and after my lift. Unless you are an experienced and consistent lifter, I really would not recommend working out this intensely.
I tell all of my clients to at least walk on the treadmill, get on the elliptical, light stairs, or something while they are on their period. Movement is the best way to ease cramps because its gets your muscles going and blood flowing. However, your period is not the time to push yourself too much. On top of losing a lot of blood, you are losing nutrients and iron which is why you feel so fatigued. It is important to rest and let your body nurture itself. I sleep on average two hours extra every day I am on my period. Days that I cannot sleep that much I do a light 20 minute HIIT workout and that’s it.
Regarding food, it is OKAY to give in to some of your cravings. AGAIN, it is OKAY. Gurl, treat yo self. But that doesn’t mean you finish that whole tub of ice cream. Before you go for high salt, sugar, and fat based foods, I highly recommend eating more protein than usual. Again, since you are losing so much blood, your protein intake is really important and needs to go up. I also make sure to eat foods with full fat. Why? Because fat is an important part of your diet just like carbs are. You need fat and carbs to support your muscles and body. But on your period, you need more than usual because you are burning through more energy, ergo you need more to sustain that same level of original energy. So there you have it, some period tips! Please feel free to comment about some of your tips or any questions you may have!