Working out on your period (it’s 2015, we can talk about this now, right?)
Starting weight: 71.6kg
Weight Week 3: 70.1kg
It’s taken me a good few hours of pondering to figure out how to sum up this week without getting too up, close and personal. Because I’ve been on my period. And no one wants to read about periods, period.
Weight loss challenges and #fitspo tends not to include this kind of stuff. They are all glossy end results, instagrammed by some crossfit-honed goddess with a perma-white smile and crazy-eyes, glistening with sweat, like an otter on MDMA.
But I highly doubt I am the only chick in the world whose mental state and gym habits gets affected by the monthly flow.
In terms of the physical effects I am quite lucky, my period is virtually painless, but I bloat like a balloon. It also massively screws up my hormone levels, to the point where I have had to take myself off the pill and on a copper IUD (best decision of my life, by the way – 5 years no-baby guarantee!) because my monthly emotional roller-coaster would knock me for six.
As you can understand, this has a huge knock-on effect on my training motivation.
My new bedroom has a big closet with mirrors for doors and as I was standing in front of it this week, the first thing that sprung to mind was NOT any kind of honed anything, but rather; “Great, I look like Flubber. I’m going back to bed.”
And once I get myself to the gym - through sheer stubbornness and a Beyonce playlist - I ping-pong back and forth between the squat-rack and the bathroom to check my knickers. I can only speak for myself and my body, but physical exercise makes the ‘Flo’ part of Aunty-week about as reliable as a Tinder date. It’s been more than once that I have had to just throw a pair of perfectly lovely undies in a bin.
Working out on your period is, just like me during it, a bit of a bitch. This is how I got through it, and stayed on my wagon (sort of):
- Experience has taught me that sticking to my low-carb-high-fat guns during my period, and steering clear of sugar, really helps me keep my mood swings in check. Doesn’t mean I don’t get the noms in though - my daily chocolate needs are easily tempered with protein mousse(whip double cream and chocolate protein powder, watch TeenWolf, let the hormones flow) and quest bars (chocolate chip cookie dough for ever and for always).
- Cardio in the morning makes me a genuinely nice person. I don’t run like a madperson, it’s powerwalk and sometimes low-intensity crosstrainer, but it gives me space to think through my crazy and sort my mind ahead of my working day.
- Playlists: I am known for having a ‘terrible taste in music’, and period week is no different. Britney, Little Mix, Fifth Harmony, Pentatonix, Destiny’s Child and a lot of Swedish female rappers singing songs about kicking the shit out of the patriarchy and being boss bitches.
- Heavy, HEAVY lifting. I pick these weeks to add on a few kilos at the rack or go up a kettlebell size and instead do shorter sessions. I tend not to have the energy to keep going as long as I normally do when I’m on my period (and I can’t stress enough how much a Hella helps get me get to the gym in the first place) so I do heavier weights and less reps instead.
- Boxing. Punching bags. Damn it feels good. I simply project the f***face that happens to have pissed me off that day and then I jab away. I’ve never got any kind of inner ‘zen’ from yoga – this, however…
So, despite days of bloat, cravings, hormonal roller coasters, I’m back on track with the weight loss – yey!
- Follow my journey back to fit on my Instagram @saradmalm and keep your eyes peeled for my weekly updates here on the BodyFire blog.
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