Article written by Alanna Casey
It feels like someone is clawing at you from the inside, you have zero energy, a headache, and you’re achy in general; time to hit the gym, right!? Yes. Absolutely time to hit the gym. Many women wonder how their monthly cycle will impact their training. I’m here to tell you how it affects mine.
First off, I usually know I’m going to get my period for many reasons. One of them being I want to eat ALLLL the food 1-2 days prior. Another reason being, I feel super strong about 2-3 days before I get my period. Then, when I actually get my period I feel like poo. I have low energy and the last thing I want to do is go train. But, this is when you need to dig deep and find a way to get your butt to the gym! You may not feel as strong as usual but, that’s okay. Just go to the gym anyway and do what you can. Usually you can force your body to do the training you have planned to do.
Plus, physical activity is one of the best things you can do to relieve period cramps. One of the reasons women have cramps is because their uterus muscle is tight and contracted. When you exercise, you are forcing the use of other muscles of the body. Your blood, and therefore oxygen supply, is delivered to the muscles you’re using most. This means, your body is essentially less focused on your uterus and the uterus muscle ends up relaxing. After you train I recommend a warm bath/shower to keep your lady muscles in a relaxed state. I almost always take Aleve (naproxen) as well. Though, my training partner swears by Midol when she’s on her period.
Bottom line, when you’re on your period, you should still workout!
No period: Is it normal to NOT get your period during intense training or diet?
Yes. It is normal to skip your period when you are physically pushing your body to the limits. This includes intense physical training, and intense dieting. The way I think about it is, when I’m training and watching my diet, my body doesn’t have the time or energy to put into bleeding every damn month! Nobody got time for dat! This is one of the perks of heavy weight training; fewer periods. That said, not every woman who weight trains will have less frequent periods. Some women will still have their period regularly.
Spotting: Is it normal to spot during intense training?
Yes. It is absolutely normal for your body to spot during intense training. When I first started training in Strongwoman, I involuntarily made myself spot every time I event trained. It was super annoying. However, as my body has become more accustomed to such a heavy workload I would spot less and less. I suggest always traveling with period supplies when you train so that you are prepared for any situation!
I hope this article sheds some light on “that time of the month” as it relates to women athletes. Remember that everyone’s body is different. So how your body (and cycle) reacts to heavy training may not be the same as someone else’s; and that’s okay. You are you, and you is different!
By LBEB Athlete Alanna Casey
Bachelors of Science in Health Behavior Science
World’s Most Powerful Woman 75kg