Although we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, more businesses & gyms are discussing soft reopenings. But until that happens, and even after that happens, we’re obviously going to feel the stress + anxiety this crisis has put upon up WHILE we still manage to workout. In this post, I want to talk about syncing your workouts up with your period but also understanding why it’s more important now then ever to listen to your body and SLOW DOWN. HIGHLY stressed out people do not need to be doing HIGH INTENSITY WORKOUTS. Make sense? If you’re predisposed to anxiety, you deal with a lot of stress outside of the gym, or you train too intensely, too often, the physiological effects of HIIT can sometimes cause lasting anxiety and the side effects that come with it. You may notice changes in appetite, trouble sleeping, fatigue, inflammation, and an inability to relax. This is especially true if you log high-intensity workouts within a few hours of bedtime.
When you’re physically, emotionally, or psychologically stressed, your sympathetic nervous system is activated. That floods your body with cortisol. Exercise is considered good stress, because it can be beneficial to the body but the minute you start pushing at a high intensity without adequate rest, that stress becomes dysfunctional + damaging. If you love high-intensity interval training like me- it can cause or worsen anxiety. As a result, your heart rate may increase, you could start sweating, and you might have racing thoughts.
Here are three steps you can take to minimize HIIT-related anxiety—without sacrificing your fitness.
✨ Find your HIIT balance.If you do one or two high-intensity workouts per week, make your other three or four routines light- or moderate-intensity. You’ll recruit different muscle fibers and energy production systems.
✨Reframe your perspective on rest days. This is when your body and mind are getting stronger. To activate your parasympathetic nervous system, take yoga, practice diaphragmatic breathing, play with your dog—do anything that calms you. We often have this all or nothing perspective, but your program needs to balance ❤️
✨ Take stock of your situation.
Look at other sources of stress in your work, family, and social lives (HIIT is rarely the single or main driver of anxiety.) Better distribute responsibilities, sleep more, or eat better. You could consider speaking with a therapist- theres even apps for that. If you already work with a professional, let them know if your symptoms escalate.
SYNC YOUR TRAINING UP WITH YOUR PERIOD:
Funny story… Women are the biggest consumers of wellness-industry products and protocols. Yet most of the research behind these strategies is conducted on men because our periods make us to unpredictable. Women have biochemical needs that go unaddressed by exercise plans built around male-centered research. That leaves women to try different exercise plans, be disappointed, and then try some more. It’s a cycle that causes untold stress, energy, money, heartache, and sanity!
The fitness industry has good intentions. (Many people don’t talk about the gender bias in wellness research. I’m here to change that!) But when different exercise strategies are sold to the public as great for everyone, it can leave women feeling like it’s their fault if they don’t get the results they want. We can start to feel like we must not have done it right or tried hard enough or that we lack willpower.
Lack of willpower is not the problem.
The problem is that women, all too often, are following exercise protocols that benefit men more than women — or, in some cases, protocols that actively work against a woman’s hormones and sabotage her health and fitness goals. One example includes intense training during your period. Just ask a guy friend or even your male trainer: have you ever donated blood then go all out for a workout right after? It ain’t recommended. And so many women do that on the daily.
Im sure you can agree we’re biochemically different than men. When we adopt approaches that are designed to work FOR US—stop biohacking with the boys—we will start to see results.
The key to biohacking your female biochemistry is to understand your 28-day cycle and to match your food and exercise to your natural hormonal shifts. When you sync your self care with your cycle, you’ll experience easier periods, less PMS, reduced bloating, clearer skin, and improvements in weight and body composition. By acknowledging your hormonal reality, you’ll finally be able to look and feel your best #periodlab
Here’s a few points I think we should all know:
1- Follicular phase: Here, a woman’s resting metabolic rate (our basal metabolic rate) decreases during the follicular phase, hitting its lowest point one week before ovulation. So doing high intensity workouts during this phase serves as a counterbalance to a slower metabolism.
2- Ovulation phase: Right now you need less insulin to keep blood sugar stable and keep your body supplied with energy… and that makes it the ideal time to high intensity workouts like strength training and HIIT workouts.
3- Luteal phase : ( this has two parts) estrogen and testosterone drop here, your energy for doing high intensity workouts will wane, too. SO.. you’ll eat more in the last half of your cycle, but you will burn more, too. As your energy slows, allow your workouts to slow down, too.
4-Menstrual phase: energy is zapped. The best kind of workout is napping at this point. No joke.
Makes sense to match your energy levels and workouts right? (and you won’t be fighting your hormones, which is counterproductive & unhealthy) but you will get better results, too. If you experience estrogen dominance (and almost every woman with period problems does), exercising hard all the time can backfire. Aka- your health and/or weight doesn’t improve with all that work your putting in.
TAKEAWAY: woman can’t exercise the same way every day and expect to see results. When you sync your exercise with your menstrual cycle, you can finally look AND FEEL your best🙌🏼 If your interested in a period tracking app- @floliving has a super helpful one that also provides a ton of information 🙏🏼