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How your menstrual cycle can affect your fitness goals


How your menstrual cycle can affect your fitness goals

This morning I woke up with the worst cramps, feeling exhausted and nauseous. All I really wanted to do was lie in bed all day and eat a big fat piece of chocolate cake. That’s all I could think about doing. But instead, I dragged myself to the gym and started to workout. I definitely didn’t have as much energy as I normally would have on a regular day. I couldn’t lift as heavy as I normally would’ve been able to. So I decided to jump on the stairclimber and sweat it out. Ten minutes in, I had a good sweat going and I felt more energetic. My cramps had instantly disappeared. 
I coach many different types of women who all have different fitness goals, but there is one thing in common which I hear from a lot of them; they didn’t make it to the gym because their cramps were too painful that they couldn’t leave the house. I always push them to get to the gym and sweat it out. Ten times out of ten, they tell me they feel so much better afterwards. 
So you ask why? Why does this happen? Why do we as women, feel this way? The science behind these feelings are caused by increased levels of estrogen which means rising dopamine (the hormone responsible for motivation). When we get a hit of dopamine in the brain, we become more motivated and driven to achieve a goal. Dopamine is also the hormone responsible for driving addictions. Hence why we feel more motivated to consume chocolate, or other foods that are bad for us during our menstrual cycle. Elevated estrogen is the catalyst for rising dopamine, it's a vicious cycle that can have many women binging and cheating on their diet. The best way to avoid this cycle is to have another outlet or 'release' for this rise in dopamine during that time of the month, so that you're not as susceptible to deviating from your diet. Dopamine is ALSO responsible for helping us achieve goals, therefore you can either use this time of the month to improve your life and move closer to your goals or be derailed off track and sabotage your goals.

Lifestyle | November 05, 2017

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