How to Make Your Menstrual Cycle Work For You Not Against You

It's the one thing we can count on to throw us off every month - our hormones.

As a woman, our hormones can effect our fitness goals, our nutrition choices, and definitely our mindset. 

Have you ever just started crying for no reason at all?

Or maybe you get a craving for mac and cheese and ice cream, out of nowhere?

How about feeling like you are crushing life and a couple weeks later, you are feeling a little more self conscious or like everything around you is annoying you?

I know exactly what that feels like. I started paying attention more and more to my menstrual cycle, researching, learning, and then everything started to make sense. This little kids roller coaster that I am on from month to month, isn't because I'm crazy, it's because of my hormones. 

We all have different sensitivity levels, so some of you might be thinking, I don't have that issue, or I don't have that issue, but I do have that issue, etc. 

Like have you ever felt like you are wanting to be super social, talk to everyone, get together, try new things, and then a couple weeks later, you just want to stay at home and "netflix and chill"?

What about you just crushed all of your workouts for the week, but then suddenly the next day shit got tougher, and you barely could make it through?

Now, I'm not sharing all of this to justify our behaviors, or give ourselves a way "out" when we want ice cream, and we don't want to leave the house, and we were too lazy to go to the gym. I'm sharing because the more aware we can become of our cycles, and the ups and down of our hormones, the more we can be mindful of our thoughts and feelings, and in turn make better choices for ourselves that are "reasonable" instead of in the moment, based on feelings caused by hormones. 

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We can be empowered rather than self-sabotage!

How to Make Week 1 Work For You!

- Lift Weights - This is when estrogen is starting to rise, which means you are able to build muscle more easily, which in turn will boost your metabolism more!

- Eat Clean - You might notice that you aren't as hungry, and you are craving lighter foods, take advantage of it, and eat all the veggies you can.

- Get going on that to do list girl! Near the end of week 1 you are high energy, and motivated as f*ck. So, go get your shit done.

- Explore. Try new things! You are feeling adventurous.

-  Plan presentations or races, or high pressure events near the end of week 1. Because you are on point! 

How to Make Week 2 Work For You!

- You are a BOSS during this week. Take advantage of it! Plan races, presentations, competitions, your wedding day, etc. during this week. 

- Lift Weights - Estrogen and Testosterone are rising together, so you want to build that muscle and boost that metabolism. 

- Eat Clean - you aren't that hungry, and you are wanting all the greens in sight!

- Ask that new love prospect out this week, or go on an adventurous date with your honey that takes you back to the bedroom because your sex drive is high and your confidence is soaring!

- Run all the errands you can this week, because shit is about to hit the fan next. So, this week is all about getting ahead and getting it done!

- Socialize - catch up with friends. You are loving talking and socializing!

How to Make Week 3 Work For You!

- Have healthy snacks near by, especially salty ones! Progesterone starts to rise, and estrogen and testosterone start to nose dive. Progesterone increases your appetite, so get ready to be a bit hungrier than usual.

- Low intensity exercise - prioritize your cardio this week, as you are burning 30% more fat during week 3. Low intensity cardio or low intensity exercise like yoga, pilates, or endurance cardio keeping your heart rate low, are great ways to maximize fat burning.

- Focus on details - your concentration is the best during week 3. So get those tedious tasks done.

- Catch up on sleep - this is the best time to get your deepest sleep.

- Enjoy some alone time or quiet time. You may feel a bit more "sedated" due to rising progesterone.

- You may be feeling bloated, as progesterone can make us retain more water, so to help decrease bloat eat more fiber.

How to Make Week 4 Work For You!

- You may feel a bit more mentally stuck in your ways. By being more aware of this, be mindful when this resistance pops up and be open to new ideas. You may find that it was the best thing you did all week!

- Low intensity exercise - you are feeling a bit run down with both estrogen and progesterone nose diving, so prepare for a few extra "rest days", and maybe prioritize recovery type workouts, or lower impact type workouts. You also burn 30% more fat during Week 4. 

- Sleep starts to suck. So, just be mindful that you aren't going to be getting the greatest sleep. Maybe plan for a nap or two some time during this week.

- The carb cravings are on! So, plan for healthier carbs like yams and sweet potatoes. But, also plan for a night to indulge in your favorite carb :) No guilt allowed!

- Channel those emotions girl, because they are high! Use them to write, draw, paint, sing, etc. 

- Take care of YOU! Get that monthly massage, or mani/pedi, take a bath, or simply just "netflix and chill". This is your week to prioritize relaxing and taking care of yourself. 

Want to learn even more?!

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*References - Roar by Stacy T. Sims and MyHormonology.com

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