PMS – is it Really Inevitable?

Do you struggle with painful PMS symptoms such as cramps, mood swings, acne, and tender breasts every month? Have you ever gone to the gym and felt like you dominated a workout one week, only to find that the same workout is significantly harder a few weeks later?

What if I told you that even though PMS is common, it is not inevitable? You have the power to tackle painful PMS symptoms head-on, through correct movement, nutrition, and supplementation.

 

All too often, women eat and train the same way day after day. We hop onto all the new fitness trends and diet fads in the hopes of shedding some weight and getting strong, overlooking the fact that they often don’t take our unique female biochemistry into account.

 

Men and women operate on a 24-hour biological clock (also known as the circadian rhythm). However, women also have a second biological clock - say hello to your 28-day infradian rhythm. This 28-day cycle is your monthly menstrual cycle, consisting of four distinct phases: the menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal phase. Let’s take a look at each, and how we can support our hormones to get rid of PMS through correct exercise and nutrition.

 

Menstrual Phase

 

The day you bleed marks day one of your cycle, and this phase can last anything between three and seven days. All our hormones are at their lowest at this time, which is why high-intensity exercise may feel more challenging. The best type of exercise includes walking, gentle yoga, and any other low-intensity movement that you enjoy. In terms of nutrition, opt for foods high in omega 3s, iron, vitamin C, complex carbohydrates, and B12.

 

Follicular Phase

 

This phase lasts around seven to ten days after your bleed, when your hormones begin to rise. It’s a great time to wake up the body with some cardio. Think running, skipping, and low weights. In terms of nutrition, try eating foods that are high in fibre, protein, and antioxidants, as well as fermented foods.

 

Ovulatory Phase

 

This phase only lasts between three and four days, when your hormones are at their highest - giving you increased energy levels. You can crush those high-intensity workouts and hit some personal records. This is also a great time to challenge yourself at the gym. Foods that are beneficial during this phase include those rich in zinc, fibre, magnesium, and lean proteins.

 

Luteal Phase

 

This is the last phase of your cycle, and is also the longest - lasting roughly ten to 14 days. It’s usually the time when PMS rears its ugly head, so taking the correct precautions is crucial here. Opt for strength-based training as well as Pilates and power yoga. Include foods rich in vitamin B and D, omega 3s, magnesium, and calcium.

 

Let’s start honouring our bodies and living in a way that works with – rather than against – our hormones.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Daniella Corder is a qualified personal trainer and certified menstrual cycle health and fitness coach. She is also the creator of Flowgram - the first ever training guide that takes your unique menstrual cycle into account. For a more in-depth guide on how to eat and train according to your cycle, visit www.coachcords.com.

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