Working Out During a Visit from Aunt Flo

At one point or another, we’ve probably all had that unwelcome house guest. You know, that person that comes for just “just a few days” and end up stays for what seems like forever. At first, we don’t mind so much, and then it just starts to get inconvenient. Uncomfortable. Maybe even a tad awkward. And for half the world’s population, that unwelcome guest comes every.single.month.

Hello, Aunt Flo. How nice it is to see you again. *cough*

Workouts + a Visit from Aunt Flo

Let’s be honest, for those first few days of Aunt Flo’s visit, the last thing we want to do is workout. We’re tired, we’re achy, we’re bloated. And as my one of besties says, we’re “bleeding like a stuck pig.”

Yuck.

But we’re women. We suck it up and power on anyways. We’re strong and aren’t going to let a little extra discomfort/mess/awkwardness stop us. Yet, it’s not exactly easy to workout while Shark Week is going on below. However, there are some things we can do to at least make it a little more comfortable.

WORKING OUT ACTUALLY HELPS SYMPTOMS
This one actually blew my brains a little bit. Turns out, increased movement and activity during periods helps relieve cramping, aches, and can even reduce heavy flows. Sweating causes you to shed water, which can help with bloating. And let’s not forget those mood-enhancing endorphins; always a plus when we feel like biting everyone’s head off.

FIND THE “TOOLS” THAT ARE RIGHT FOR YOU
Personally, those extra-duty tampons work well for me and I barely notice them, especially when using the special active style. However, some of my friends are more sensitive and have to use pads. If you do go with pads, spring for the wider style that can handle the increased movement. No matter what you use, tampon, pads, menstrual cup, just make sure it’s fresh and ready to go.

SWITCH UP FOR A DIFFERENT WORKOUT OR TRY MODIFIED
Without fail, I have to to skip or modify the first day. I feel like doing absolutely nothing and can barely walk two steps without having to *ahem* visit the ladies room. Instead of a full workout of burpees and beast mode, I practice PiYo’s modified yoga poses or do some simple walking/stroller gliding. If you can manage the more intense workouts, great! But if you need to switch to low-impact, fine. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and if you can only manage 1/2 a workout because it is begging for rest, do it. Just stay on track. Meanwhile, for the rest of the week, switch out from P90X to PiYo or at least try to the modified and see if that’s more comfortable for you.

DRINK EXTRA WATER
During their period, women lose extra fluids which can lead to feel listless and light-headed. Increase your water consumption by at least 10-20% and be careful when moving or standing up quickly.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT GEAR
This may be Aunt Flo 101, but choose your clothing wisely. Dark, loose fitting pants and shorts tend to be best as they hid any “leaks” and boycuts and high-cuts are better choices then the lacies when it comes to panties.

REALIZE THAT PERIOD = POWER
As irony would have it, during the period week of period your levels of the estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest, which means increased sense of power, lower core body temperature, higher pain tolerance, and faster recovery. If you can combat the icky, low energy feeling, the you can actually experience better results from your workouts.

Shark Week, a visit from Aunt Flo, “that time of the month” – regardless of what you call it, with just a few smart changes you can keep up with your workouts, make progress, and deserve that extra bit of chocolate that’s pretty much mandatory.

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My Fitness Journey (on a roller coaster)

Fitness Journey on a Roller Coaster

Once I hit puberty, I became what’s known as chubby. I just couldn’t lose my baby fat from childhood. Even as I developed curves, I stayed chunky and just never felt very good about myself. Following a breakup (my first and only) when I was 18, I decided to concentrate on myself and get into shape. I was young and without commitments, so I worked out for an hour before work, 30 minutes during lunch break, and for up to two hours after work too. I counted calories, watched what I ate, and barely splurged at all. For three months I was the epitome of self-discipline. And it worked. I went from a size 14/16 to a teeny tiny size 5 and dropped nearly 30lbs. And more than the number on the scale, I felt great about myself.

Fast forward a few years and I was engaged to the most wonderful guy (yes, the one I had broken up with before. It was our we-need-to-get-serious-with-God phase), trying on wedding dress, and planning for a life together. On our wedding day, I had never felt more beautiful.

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After seven years of marriage and two kids, I found myself far from the size-six, toned bride I once was. Life had gotten busy, habits had gotten lazy, and the pounds started adding themselves to my waistline.

Gradually, at first, so that I barely noticed the weight gain. After all, it was to be expected that I’d keep some of that baby weight, but as I kept having to buy new jeans and found myself getting winded after climbing just a short flight of stairs, I knew that things were getting to a dangerous point.

So I tried half-hearted diets, fruitless hours spent at the gym and on the elliptical machine, but nothing really seemed to make any difference. My metabolism had changed after 10 years and I no longer could drop weight just like that *snaps fingers*

When I finally exchanged my pants for a size 16, I broke down. All the excuses and platitudes I had told myself were proven to be just that- excuses. In reality, I wasn’t “doing fine” and while, yes, I could be heavier, I was not healthy and things needed to change.

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A good/awesome/amazing friend of mine told me about this company called BeachBody and suggest that I give one of their programs a try. Now, I am a skeptic by nature I said no for the longest time, still trying to go about things on my own. But her success, and those of our mutual friends, kept coming back to me. Surely, if they could do it, I could too. Still, a $120 was a lot of money to us, especially with my husband having been recently laid off, but this was something that I needed to do for me. And for once, I needed to put myself first.

December 1, 2014- I started my first day of PiYo. And life hasn’t been the same since.

This past year has been an amazing, transformative journey. And yes, still a bit of a roller coaster. My 80/20 looked more like 10/90 at times. I went down nearly two sizes and 10 lbs only to go back up to nearly my starting weight. But I still count this year as a success. Not because of inches lost but because of confidence gained. Because I can now hike a mountain with my family without getting winded while carrying our daughter in her hike pack. I can run without feeling like I’m about pass out. My knees, which I fondly referred to as those of an eighty-year-old grandma, no longer ached after each workout.

Fitness and Goodness- Mid Year Progress

Even though I still have a long way to go, I feel good about my body for the first time time in seven years. I’ve learned to love my curves and hold my head up high because I am DOING, not just wishing. Each new goal reached makes me want to do a happy dance because I am setting an example for my children- to not except the way things are just because it’s the way things are, but pursue the best that life has to offer. And I am stronger and better for it.

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