Nutrition for the Female Cycle and Training

Nutrition for the Female Cycle and Training

So when it comes to the female cycle it is really common to see women struggling around the
luteal phase of her cycle (see image 1.0), things like fatigue, cravings, insomnia, change in bowel
movements, and bloating just to name a few.. This is common but I’m here to tell you IT IS NOT
NORMAL. Even minor symptoms are not necessary.

I see many posts on social media & recommendations from practitioners & coaches sharing tips on how to navigate training & nutrition around your cycle. I know this message has a place however, I also know: It’s limiting women of what they are truly capable of. In other words, suffering around your cycle is common but it is optional, and I truly mean that, a well nourished woman, a hormonally balanced woman should not experience suffering, pain, cramps, fatigue during her cycle. And it really is rather easy to correct. I get it though, lots of women feel like crap around their luteal phase (aka the weeks leading up to their period) & some even during ovulation.

What I am going to share with you today is the best tips possible that you can action right now to support you body is becoming more balanced all cycle round, and yes that means vibrant energy leading up to & during your period. These tips are what I’ve gathered after working with all the
women I have.

Over the past 5 years I have worked with 100s even into the 1000s of women when it comes to hormones & I will never get sick of the countless messages I get from these women sharing with me, how great they feel.

During this time I have learned that the negative symptoms women experience around their cycles are a sign of hormonal imbalances… Everyone knows that when they experience chronic PMS, heavy periods, Moodiness, etc it is their hormones, but the missing piece is knowing & accepting that it isn’t normal nor is it healthy & that you can change it.

So when I say it’s a sign of hormonal imbalances, I really mean it, your hormones are out of balance and they don’t need to be.

Unbalanced hormones come down to energy deficiency, and lack of nutrients to provide the body with what it needs to do its job. You don’t need a special seed cycling protocol or a greens powder, nor the PILL or HRT, what you need is a lifestyle change and this is why it’s so common for women to experience these negative symptoms, because most are led to believe they have to eat less, cut out carbs, quit sugar & drink green smoothies.

I’ve made it my mission to change this & to show women how they can make small little changes in their daily lives which will have a huge impact on their hormones & ultimately a positive experience both in the gym & in their well-being.

Over time you can see amazing changes to your PMS symptoms, inclusive of being able to train as heavy & intense as you like around the times of your cycle where there are natural ebbs & flows to your hormones. All symptom-free.

Now, I’m not suggesting that women who currently experience symptoms like fatigue, cramps, heavy bleeding, etc go out and ignore that, please don’t do that. That’s irresponsible. What I’m saying is, meet your body where she is right now & if that means you must rest during these times, or take it easy then please do so. However, please know you can work towards a better experience with the most vibrant health. Just like I do & the 100s of women I am currently working with. This is what I do for fun. I educate women on how to do this. Address what’s at the root & then you get to benefit from the healing & how it affects your entire life.

1. Eat Breakfast, I know this seems so simple, but trust me with what I’m about to tell you. So many women don’t eat a well-balanced breakfast or they do it wrong, for instance, waking at 5 am & not eating until 8 am is NOT eating Breakfast. So let’s re-name Breakfast to meal 1, having your meal 1 within an hour, and 30 mins is even better waking is absolutely life-changing for women when it comes to hormones. When we wake in the morning, cortisol is high & energy stores are low, so your body is looking for fuel & if we don’t give it what it needs it’ll make it from our own tissue. 2 things here you need to know, chronically raised cortisol interferes with the production of our anti-inflammatory hormone progesterone and this is VITAL. Number 2 when the body makes its own energy because it is all out, it makes it by breaking down its own bodily tissue, starting with your glands and digestive tract tissue, why do you think so many women have immune & digestive issues?????? So please have a balanced breakfast of protein, fats & carbs daily & most importantly before any morning training or walking.

2. . This flows on from point 1, throughout the day if you’re not eating regular balanced meals, your body will go looking & creating that energy that it’s not getting. Balancing blood sugar is done by eating before you get too hangry. Being hangry is not something to be proud of, it’s a sign of your body being stressed. Again, high cortisol = imbalanced hormones. So aiming for minimum 20gms of protein at each meal & aiming for double that of carbs at each meal. (See image 2. for examples of what 20gm of protein may look like). Anywhere from 3-6 meals a day is optimal, some like 4 meals and that’s ok to. It’s about finding what feels best for you & supports your body by NOT getting hangry. Hangry = stress hormones and when balancing hormones you don’t want too much stress hormones. This also supports your thyroid function which is essential for hormones production.

3. . Retinol is bio-available vitamin A and you can only get this from animal based products. Vitamin A is essential for the production of many hormones, including progesterone (See Image 3.), and in my experience most women aren’t getting enough of that, coupled with a down-regulated Thyroid, causing many of the hormonal issues we see today.
You can supplement with something like desiccated liver capsules to get in more retinol, this is ideal for someone who doesn’t like to eat many retinol containing foods, I recommend Satire’s A+ Beef liver capsules, check them out here.

4. We all know the importance of protein, and this is why I suggest getting in a minimum at each meal, it’ll help you over all get more in. When it comes to eating more of it, the benefits are endless for muscle protein synthesis, retaining muscle, enzymatic production, and satiation. However if you get your protein predominately from animal sources, you are going to get much more bang for you buck with all the at nutrients which come with it
that support over all health, but importantly here hormones. Standard is 1.8 – 2.2 grams of protein per Kg of body weight and I like to aim for the higher end, and even higher for women with hormonal issues and or in their 4th decade of life and beyond. Yes all of this information here today, stands true for Peri Menopausal & Menopausal women. Their physiology may be slightly different with the stage of life they’re in, however the need for progesterone & protein is the same. If you want more info on Menopause, just reach out.

5. This one is a topic I’ll go head to head with anyone over. The fact we are still seeing people bash sugar boggles my mind. Sugar is essential for the optimal function of the liver, the thyroid, and every cell in our body. Yes I am talking about actual bloody sugar, but if consuming a piece of fruit feels better, then yes that is what I mean also. I have seen women
sleep through the night for the first time in 40 years just by adding in sugar. I’ve seen women experience the first pain free period after suffering 20 years of endometriosis pain just by adding in more sugar. So yes, I am saying here add sugar back into your diet. Now if you come from a background of under nourishment, then you will want to ensure you are eating a well rounded diet with all the nutrients, because sugar is highly metabolic & you need nutrients to metabolise it. So if you struggle with sugar, perhaps you need some support with nourishing your body first or taking it super slow as you re-introduce sugar back into your life.

6. Ensure you are going poos poos daily. If you’re not, address this ASAP. This is how your body rids excess estrogen & other toxins. A blocked-up system = a sluggish liver, digestive issues & a cascade of other issues that WILL affect your hormones. I will do a whole blog post on the importance of Pooping daily, for now, it’s important to know that if you struggle with constipation, you have a metabolic issue.

Now if you’re thinking, Nyssa I reckon I do all of these things already, why am I still experiencing symptoms in my cycle that aren’t pleasant? Why do I experience fatigue & can’t train during the Luteal Phase of my cycle or during my period?? Well it is possible that what you think is “Healthy” may be slightly incorrect, maybe you have been living a particular way for a long time & need to give things a little more time. Or maybe you just
need a little more in-depth support & guidance on this. Well if you do, you can come book a session with me down here at Unbound Athletic and I can do a comprehensive review of all that you are doing & provide you with a plan moving forward that will get you the results you are after.

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