A lot it seems. I know this is irrelevant for my male readers, but I actually think you could all benefit from reading it, just to understand us females just a little bit better. After all, all men have to deal with hormonal monsters from time to time in their lives, usually about once a month (except those lucky gay men who have a hormonal stabile partner and only need to worry about their sister from time to time) and it might be a good idea to try and learn a little more about why all females suddenly change their personality for a few days (or a few weeks?!). Here’s a few things females have to deal with on a monthly basis; acne, swollen/tender breasts, tiredness, trouble sleeping, upset stomach, headache, backache, appetite changes, food cravings, joint pain, muscle pain, trouble with concentration, memory loss, tension, irritability, mood swings, random crying, anxiety or light depression. Or all of the above. And of course, some women only have a few of these problems as a part of their menstrual cycle.
But my question was; what does your menstrual cycle do to your strength? And the reason I’m asking is my extremely poor effort in doing pushups this morning. Seriously. I did about the same on Friday and I was flying through them, but this morning I pretty much died. Oh, the pain. I am not talking physical pain, I am talking emotional pain of not being able to do the same as I did Friday. The shame, the misery. What happened? Did my muscles just shrink over the weekend? Did I not eat the right food? Should I just go back to bed and cry myself to sleep?? No, let’s rather do some research and get some facts on the table. Could this have anything to do with the growing back and stomach pain I’ve had this weekend? Here are my findings;
I am not crazy, it does in fact seem like our cycle can highly affect not just our strength, but also our cardiovascular fitness. In the mid to late luteal part of the cycle (sort of the week where you are usually grumpy, irrational and crying all the time) research shows that women have less muscular endurance (I tried to do over 60 pushups – fail)! During this time we should only focus on non-weight bearing exercise, such as low to moderate cardio (such as walking, jogging, dancing, badminton, swimming). And you should be doing this moderate activity for a prolonged time (I am pretty sure that means you should do it for a while, not just 15 minutes). Research also claim women have longer reaction time during this stage and will be worse at precision than any other time during her cycle. So, I think that means you should probably not go hunting this week or try to compete in anything that requires fast reaction and long muscular endurance, like, uhm, boxing?
OK, so it’s actually normal to loose a little strength during PMS or feel a little less fit than you did just a few days ago. But don’t freak out, very soon you will be back where you were or maybe even a little stronger, as it seems you have a peek in your strength and power when you are ovulating! I guess that’s the time to go powerlifting!
But hey, this is of course not a potential excuse for you not to go to the gym (or wherever you like to perform your physical activity) at this time of the month. You just need to listen to your body (like any other time) and maybe change up your exercise a little or just resign to the fact that you feel a little weaker at this stage. It’s also a known fact that physical activity helps relieve symptoms of PMS, so get moving! And to all your male PTs out there, you should probably learn a little about hormones and the menstrual cycle. It will only benefit yourself (and of course your lovely female clients). So, yes I was a little weaker this morning, I still pushed through and did as many pushups as I could and I am hoping to have a much stronger comeback shortly!
Have you planned your workouts for the week? It is Monday today after all, so get organised!