We’ve all been there. Day one of your period hits, and the LAST thing you want to do is exercise. Your uterus is aching, you’re tired, grouchy, feel squishy and uncomfortable.
So what’s a girl to do?
First, you get to give yourself some grace. Sometimes moving your body and getting in some kind of fitness does a body good.
But sometimes, staying on the couch with a heating pad and a good book is just what you need (especially if life has already challenged you and you’re running on low!).
If you DO want to get in some training, here are 5 things you can do to manage how you’re feeling and get in a good workout, despite the cramps and bloating!
Tip #1 – Be Mindful of the Foods You’re Eating
When your uterine lining begins to shed, prostaglandins are produced as part of the inflammation response. Prostaglandins are hormone like substances that participate in uterine contractions. They’re also partly responsible for why you might have less than ideal bowel movements during this time of month.
To manage your digestive issues, avoid high fat and spicy foods.
Try eating a blander diet that’s gentle on your digestive system, such as white rice, bananas, chicken, and easy to digest veggies. Typically the “period poos” only last for the heaviest part of your bleeding (1-3 days).
Eating a blander diet and managing how your digestion also helps you absorb more nutrients (diarrhea is water loss AND nutrient loss).
Tip #2 – Plan Your Sleep and Naps
Many women communicate poor sleep on the first few nights of their period (and often times a few nights before it starts).
If this is you, plan ahead to make sure you’re getting more than enough time in bed (if you normally need 8 hours, give yourself 8 1/2 to 9) and pencil in a nap or even just 20 minutes down time during the day.
This way the fatigue that often comes with the start of your period can at the very least be LESSENED by more time in bed AND will be less likely to impact how you feel about fitness!
Tip #3- Make Sure You’re Hydrated WITH Electrolytes
Bleeding = fluid loss. Fluid loss, especially if combined with sodium loss WILL make you tired, grouchy, and impact coordination.
Pop a Nuun Tablet or Lmnt in 12-16oz of water, and track to make sure you’re getting enough throughout the day (urine should be lemonade colored).
When in doubt, have some water!
This is also not the time to worry about “too much salt” – if you’re craving it, listen to those cravings and throw some salt on your dinner or *gasp* enjoy some potato chips!
Tip #4 – Check Out Supplements That Help With Inflammation
One of our personal favorites is Boswellia. It has some solid science behind it for managing inflammation, with none of the nasty side effects of over the counter pain medications.
Other supplements include:
- Holy Basil
Do your research to see if any of these supplements may be a fit for you!
Tip #5 – When You Do Train, Go In With Zero Expecations
Be stoked you made it to the gym. This is the day you might even cherry pick what’s programmed, and do the things that make you feel good.
If coordination is off, you’re feeling less than powerful, or it hurts during the warm-up jog, skip the double unders, box jumps, and Oly and focus on the low intensity conditioning, hypertrophy training, or even just do your own thing!
One day of changing things up won’t derail you long term, and it will make you feel good that you came in and did SOMETHING. Plus the endorphins will help with the menstrual cramps, at least for a little while.
Remember, at the end of the day you need to do what’s right for you and YOUR body.
Sometimes the periods are so heavy that leaving the house doesn’t even feel like an option. Sometimes a nap is going to serve you more than being at the gym.
But if you DO want to train, following these tips will help you have a productive training session AND hopefully help you feel as good as possible!