What haven’t we used the menstrual cycle as an excuse for?
Uncontrollable chocolate cravings to shoplifting.
Its even been used by lawyers to seek lesser penalties!
The major shifts a woman experiences throughout her cycle can have a major impact on memory, sex-drive, hunger, energy levels and mood.
If it can have such an affect on everyday life then it makes sense that it will have some impact on your training.
I for one feel grumpy and lifeless when it gets to the time of the month and I especially don’t like to train.
Sweats always dripping off me, I feel weaker (even though women are said to be stronger during that week), I feel bloated and hate to look at myself even more than normal.
Can only imagine my house when my girls grow up haha
The luteal phase (after ovulation/before the period starts) is the reason for experiencing these symptoms. Especially mid to late luteal, we will experience mood swings, increase in appetite and lack of motivation for training.
During this phase there is a rapid change in the hormones, progesterone and estradiol, which causes the hunger and mood swings. It is also the reason why we have a rise in temperature of the core and an increase in calories burned.
Cravings can become overwhelming and could result in binge eating. If you suffer from depression or PMS you should be aware that your cravings might actually be more intense.
If that is the case then adding in a small meal or snack to those days may help to avoid excess calorie intake.
Fruit and magnesium could both play a role in keeping hunger at bay.
Eating one or two pieces of fruit can help maintain blood sugar levels.
This can help to control binge eating on high calorie sweets and chocolate.
Magnesium is the second most common defiency so there is definitely a chance that you might need a little more in your diet and it can also help with controlling your chocolate cravings.
You will find magnesium in foods such as green leafy veg (spinach) and nuts. Oh and dark chocolate!
Vitamin D also helps to boost your mood and motivation.
We always recommend getting as much vitamins from your food and drink as possible but taking a daily multivitamin that includes magnesium, iron and vitamin D ensures your meeting your requirements.
Also, you can burn between 90-280 extra calories during this phase so be mindful of keeping your body efficiently fuelled.
Carefully planning out your meals during this time can help to alleviate some of the affects that we experience.
It will ensure that your body has what it needs to function at its best.
Keeping track of your cycle and getting to know how your body reacts will help you to make the plan.
I have been tracking for a year now, and I have better grasp of how to control my mood and my eating habits.
It can be daunting and boring at first but when you start to notice changes and feel differences in your body then you will be thankful.
That’s it. Period.