On the blob.
A visit from Aunt Flo.
Whatever your preferred euphanism, I’m sure we can all agree that what ensues is a whirlwind of raging hormones, right?
I mean, when are men gunna realise that ALL they have to do, for an easy life, is launch a bar of Dairy Milk in our general direction, retreat slowly and come back in about 3 days, when all is well in the world, again.
Now, if our menstrual cycle wasn’t a bummer enough, check this out..
The majority of health and fitness related research that is applied to us today, as women, was actually carried out in the 70s… on men.
With no consideration for us as females and our hormonal makeup which has a huge impact on performance and the results that we’re striving for.
I mean we’d only just burnt our frikkin bras back then, Hun, so are you really surprised that we didn’t get a look in?
Compete in sporting events?
What a laarrrfff.
Well, we could but it was limited AF. I mean, it wasn’t until 1991 that a historic decision was made by the IOC: Any new sport seeking to be included on the Olympic programme had to include women’s events.
Anywayyy.. is it really any surprise that the health industry treats women as though they’re just little men * eye roll * and with that in mind, I’m sure you can appreciate why a lot of the bro-science is flawed when it comes to female focussed training and nutrition.
Stuck, struggling, not getting anywhere?
Ever thought your insatiable hunger, cravings, the fact that you’re bloody knackered and have zero energy at certain times of the month, might be contributing?
Especially as most women I speak to are fighting against their bodies in one way or another.
Maybe time to stop beating yourself up and looking further that your lack of “will power” and the fact that despite your ‘well meaning’ PT who’s told you to go KETO and eradicate all carbs from your diet (yeh ’cause that’s the problem * eye roll *) without identifying the fact that some of these things are a normal part of your menstrual cycle and CAN (woohoo) be dealt with, with the right considerations.
First off, in a nutshell, we naturally store more body fat than men and it IS harder for women to lose fat, whether that’s what you’re trying to achieve or not. Think about it this way, we play a key role in the survival of the entire human frikkin race, evolution doesn’t want us to lose body fat…
I mean just look at the effects of our menstrual cycle..
Increased mental and physical stress.
(What my family call ‘mum’s being crazy again’)
Is it as simple as calories in-calories out? In theory, yeah.
It’s that simple. But it’s not that easy.
For pre menopausal, healthy, women how you feel will vary due to hormone release of both oestrogen and progesterone throughout your cycle..
And here are a few of the considerations I work on with my clients that I’ll give you below, also how you can make your cycle work FOR you and not AGAINST you by knowing your sh*t when it comes to your cycle…
Day 1-14 (Follecular Phase)
This is the time to dig in and focus on progress. Due to elevated oestrogen levels you’ll likely notice that you’re more tolerant to pain with better endurance and power out put.
There’s also evidence to support that your insulin sensitivity is at it’s highest, which means your body may utilise glycogen (carbs, for arguments sake) more usefully therefore you might find it useful keeping your carbs slightly higher around this time.
Day 14 Ovulation
Here you’ll likely be at your strongest physically- which is great woohoo! This is also where your hunger and cravings kick in, both of which will be higher due to the slight increase in metabolic rate.
It may be a good idea to make sure you’re eating enough protein at this stage to ensure satiety and increase your carbs to compensate for your cravings. Seriously, it might sound a bit woo woo but listen to your body and what she wants.
Day 15- 28 Luteal phase
If you’re anything like me, you’ll KNOW when you’ve hit this phase..
Often extreme sugar cravings.
Mental and physical stress.
Bursting in to tears because you can’t find your keys?
Ready to bury the boyf in the back garden for breathing in your general direction?
Falling face first in to a box of Krispy Kremes?
I hear ya, Hunny. I hear ya.
It’s also important to know that THIS is where you’ll experience the most water retention so maybe a good idea to step away from the scales and don’t confuse bloating with fat gain.
With some of my more advanced clients we also manage this phase with lighter yet higher volume training to work with the phase, rather than against it.
So there you have it, as a female focussed personal trainer, this is exactly why we need to stop treating women like little men when our hormonal makeup is so different. Are we getting better as an industry? Meh, a little bit but there’s a lot for coaches to learn and ALOT to take in to consideration (and context).
Obviously it’s important to be aware that from one woman to the next there will be distinct variability. Some women will notice these fluctuations more than others.
With my own clients I’m not a huge fan of tracking everything down to nth degree.. I mean don’t we have enough going on? Is it necessary? I’d argue not.. and then where does it end?
Track your food. Track your training. Track your heart rate. Track your steps. Track your menstrual cycle.
Even remembering to track all those damn things is stressful in itself without Arsenal playin’ at home, if ya know what I’m sayin’.
However, you can use this info as a guide to reference your Red Badge Of Honour, whilst learning and listening to your own body.
Lottie ‘Making Shark Week Tolerable’ Too Hottie