Go with the flow

The Scientific Bit

In the first part of the menstrual cycle, the follicular stage, training should be focused on high intensity and heavy lifting. In this phase oestrogen is the dominant hormone meaning a higher pain threshold and increased insulin sensitivity leading to better muscle building capacity and reduced fat storage ability (2).

In the second phase, the luteal stage, progesterone takes over the role of dominant hormone, thereby reversing everything mentioned above. Strength training is still beneficial but you may find that you aren’t able to perform or lift what you usually do or can during the follicular stage. Focus on relaxing and restorative exercises including foam rolling and stretching during this part of the menstrual cycle. Also shift the focus from short intense sessions to longer, endurance based, fat burning sessions (2).

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Image from Clue Blog (1)

If you are using a form of hormone contraceptive, your cycle will look different to this and therefore you might not experience the same effects on your training and body as mentioned above (1).

The Reality Bit

Basically every woman is different and you are all training for different reasons, at different intensity levels, all while dealing with varying levels of stress. Plus every one of you will experience your own personal menstrual cycle and individual symptoms, as Heather Watson knows all too well, putting her poor performance on the tennis court down to “girl problems”(3).

It’s important to know your own body. Use the above section as a guideline but listen to your body and trust your instincts. If you feel like lifting some heavy weights, brilliant, but if you feel more like a chilled out yoga based stretching session at home in your comfy pants, do it! Don’t get too bogged down with what part of your cycle you are in and don’t beat yourself up.

I use a really good period tracking app called Clue. It lets me add in additional information so I can keep a log of what my body is doing, how I feel and what training I’ve done. Start using it and see if you can see a pattern developing.

This also seems like an appropriate place to mention about reusable sanitary protection products. They are great so i’m on a mission to make sure everyone knows about them! There are loads to pick from, from cloth pads and panty liners to menstrual cups. I use a Mooncup but there is lots of different versions available now. Not only are they a healthier option for you and your vajaja, you also save money and the planet – boom! I have exercised and ran with my Mooncup in and never had any bad experiences. It can take a bit of getting used to at first so I would recommend using a pad as well the first few times you try it.

The Take Home Bit

Just keep moving and exercising whatever stage or time of the month you are in. Find something that you enjoy doing and just keep doing it. Listen to your body, love it lots and go with the flow!

References

(1) http://blog.helloclue.com/post/155486134861/cycle-science-hormonal-contraception-and-your

(2) https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/03/planning-your-exercise-around-your-menstruation-cycle/

(3) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/how-the-menstrual-cycle-influences-athletic-performance/article22989539/

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Why you should trust me with your fitness!

This is a question that I very rarely get asked, but one I wish people would ask me more!

What enables you, Aimee Rogers of Revitalize Fitness, to get me fit?

Now I’m not usually one to brag (but I’m going to now!) however I was looking through my certificates and I thought why am I hiding this away?! No one knows about any of this and I have spent thousands of pounds on my fitness qualifications and career so here I am shouting it from the rooftops and telling you all about it!!

Below are my fitness qualifications.

2003-2006 Sheffield Hallam University
Bsc (hons) Sport and Exercise Science Degree. My dissertation looked at the effectiveness of pedometers in increasing physical activity in a work place setting

July 2015: Ante and Postnatal Exercise, Level 3, Fitness Industry Education

May 2007: Phase IV Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercise Instructor, British Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation (Currently up to date on re-validation)

Mar 2007: Exercise and Mental Health, YMCAfit

Jan 2007: Exercise to Music, Level 2, Central YMCA  

Sept 2006: Circuit Training, Level 2, Central YMCA 

Aug 2006: Exercise Referral for Clients with Specific Controlled Conditions, Level 3, Central YMCA 

Apr 2006: Health Walk Leaders Award, Walking the Way to Health and British Heart Foundation

Feb 2006: Nutrition and Weight Management, Level 3, Central YMCA

Feb 2006: Advanced Fitness Instructor, Level 3, Central YMCA   

Oct 2005: Fitness Instructor, Level 2, Central YMCA

Please note, this list does not include the countless hours spent informally learning through researching, mentoring, shadowing, volunteering, planning, discussing, lecturing, reading, teaching and attending workshops and webinars. The list above is also missing the numerous courses that I have taken to support and develop my fitness career, namely my NVQ level 4 in management and my Babywearing Peer Support Training.

While gaining these qualifications I have been employed in a health and fitness role of some kind. Gaining experience, gaining knowledge, gaining skills and confidence.

Revitalize Fitness was born in 2010, but prior to that, I have always worked in fitness and physical activity. I have worked as a gym instructor helping people to overcome sticking points in their training or needing to lose weight before their doctor can refer them for IVF treatment. I have delivered circuit training classes to men and women all recovering from cardiac conditions and subsequent operations. I managed a team of exercise referral instructors who, via exercise and physical activity, improved the health of Sheffield residents with medical conditions. I have worked with people wanting to improve, get stronger and be fitter.

Fitness is my career, its what I do and what I’ve always done. I bloody love helping people to become more active and seeing them enjoying the benefits of exercise.

So I hope that answers the question posed in the title of this blog post! If not please get in touch and ask me any other questions. I am always happy to chat!

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On a very serious note, start asking your fitness instructor about their qualifications or experience. All instructors leading an exercise session should be able (and proud, they’ve worked hard for it, let them show off!!!) to provide you with formal certificates and be appropriately insured. If someone cannot provide evidence of fitness qualifications or insurance I would strongly advise that you look for an alternative session.