Pow! Right in the kisser with it. No beating around the bush here. Friends, we are going to talk about our periods. We can talk about this, right? Right.Wait! Gentlemen – don’t go! I’d like to encourage male trainers to read this in hopes of further understanding what some of their female clients may go through so that you can adjust their program accordingly if and when need be.
First, the disclaimer: Yes, I took my nursing pre-reqs in college, however, contrary to what 2009’s Halloween costume may have led you to believe, I am not a medical professional. What I will be discussing here is based off of my own experience, research, and deduction from my doctor(s). Please seek your own medical advice before trying anything I mention, including taking supplements or medication, as I will not be held responsible. Additionally, if your PMS is completely out of control, it’s probably best that you discuss it with your doctor, as it could mean something more serious is going on.
PMS can be a hell of a problem to deal with. I have gotten quite a few emails from women that have numerous concerns about how their period is affecting their training and nutrition each month. Those emails, combined with some of my online clients issues and my own monthly woes, has prompted me to write about this taboo subject because I knowthat there are other women who are dealing with these same problems.
Instead of blathering on lets get right down to it in a crispy clean ‘problem and solution’ format with the most common complaints that I hear about…
The problem: Bloating
My absolute least favorite part, bar none. Nothing like getting up in the morning and pulling on your favorite Citizen skinnies only to realize that they won’t button up, no matter what kind of crazy squat maneuver or erratic dance-like move you do. (You know this jean shimmy, ladies. Don’t act like you don’t!)
Solution: Increase your water intake a bit, avoid excess sodium, and consider taking some dandelion root, which is a natural diuretic. So that huge tower of extra-salty nachos that you are thinking of gobbling down? Probably best to save that for another day unless you really want to wear sweatpants for the next 4 days.
The problem: Constipation
This is really quite a sexy post, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for many women to experience constipation and digestive problems.
Solution: Supplement daily with a tablespoon Pysllium Husk powder in conjunction with drinking plenty of water. If you neglect to drink plenty of extra H2O while supplementing with fiber it could make the problem worse. Consider yourself warned.
The problem: Fatigue
Your period has you feeling wiped out but you are supposed to go train. What do you do?
Solution: You take the day off from training. Yep, I said it. Rather than attempting to be a hero and drag ourselves through a session in which we’re only able to give 50% effort, take a nice long walk or do some yoga instead. Some activity is proven to help with PMS symptoms, but if you’re simply too tired don’t feel bad about leaving the intense weight smashing for another day. If your period really kicks your butt, you may think about taking a small deload each month during that time. In addition, some extra vitamin B12 may help with energy levels.
The problem: Cravings!
Oh sweet hell, the cravings. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have eaten some a lot of stuff (more specifically, troughs of dark chocolate covered raisins) due to PMS cravings and then have been positively riddled with guilt. It throws my digestive system into a tailspin and I end up spending the next few days doing damage control. It’s simply not worth it. What we eat, regardless of what day of the month it is, still counts, and if we are working towards physique goals we need to be mindful of this.
Solution: When we must indulge, lets prepare a healthier treat. Something that will satisfy our craving but nothing that is crazy enough to derail our progress. Of course, we must keep in mind that this isn’t a free pass to eat until we explode. It should be just enough to take the edge off and kill our urge for an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
Need healthy & easy recipe ideas? Check out my Recipe Index! I highly recommend the Grain-free Chewy Choco Chip Cookies or the Grain-free Banana Bread.
The problem: The Fuck-Its
Never does a case of the F*ck-Its hit us as hard as it does during our period. In not-breaking news: It’s not uncommon to become extremely emotional (and slightly irrational) during this time. So when our measurements and the scale creep up a bit right before and during our period, it could lead us to believe that everything we’ve been doing with our diet and exercise is a total waste.
Emotional + measurements going up = cataclysmic meltdown.
Before you know it, we say, “F*ck it, I feel fat anyways!”, bag our entire nutrition program, and dive headfirst into a cheesecake.
Solution: Stay away from the scale and refrain from taking measurements, whether it be girth measurements or skinfolds, during this time. The results will not be accurate and will likely just piss you off.
The problem: Sleep problems
We’re exhausted, pissed, and hungry, and to top it all off we can’t sleep, which leaves us more tired and even hungrier for tasty chocolatey morsels.
The solution: Magnesium. A little magnesium before bed will help you sleep, ease your PMS symptoms, and help you recover from your training. Triple whammy!
Other things that may help you:
– ease up on the caffeine
– Supplement with Evening Primrose Oil and/or Chasteberry
PMS can be an absolute bear for some women – I feel you sister, and can relate 100%! Doing some of the things I listed above should bring you a little bit of relief, both physically and mentally.