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.
Here’s a few points I think we should all know. Thanks to the work of Alissa Vitti, we can lean into our hormones to better understand how to train as a FEMALE.
My routine is a mix of all my favourite approaches different training methods.
mid split up your cycle into two parts:
First half being your follicular + ovulation phase.
Second half being your luteal + menstrual phase.
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. Think steady state cardio, animal flow, yoga.
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. I love my total body workouts here. If your a fan of Pelaton or sprinting, this is your time to shine. I love me some kettlebell work, ViPR or total body movements playing on various directions.
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. Movement suggestions during part 1 – focus on body split workouts:
– Lower body day
– Upper body day
– Core day.
*Lather. Rinse. Repeat*
No total body movements so you won’t stress out the cardiovascular system and elevate the already, heightened cortisol.
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.
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 🙏🏼