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Old 01-05-2009, 06:21 PM   #1
Josh Elmore
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Training and the Menstrual Cycle

I was hoping to gain some incite on this subject. Several of my female clients consistently complain about training...one week a month. How should workouts be scaled during this time if at all? Is high intensity still a major prescription? My hunch is the suggestion is "go as hard as you can." But any specifics are appreciated.
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:55 PM   #2
Sara Fleming
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Re: Training and the Menstrual Cycle



Don't push the ladies over the edge when they are most likely to kill you!

Seriously though, every woman is different and our hormones and cycles affect us all differently.

That being said, the monthly cycle can hit us hard during our period and sometimes during ovulation as well. Being fit does help regulate this somewhat, but sometimes it can just totally blindside us.

The bad things it does is make us more sensitive to pain, easier to fatigue, have less energy, and less motivation (depression). Painful cramps are not fun to work out through, but pushing hard through a workout can make them feel better. Not to gross you out, but if heavy flow is a problem, no one is going to want to be jumping around a lot.

My advice is to try not to let them use it as an excuse, but don't hold them to their usual benchmarks. They really may be pushing themselves to their limits and falling way short of their usual performance. If its bad enough, the only thing I can compare it to is going to work out with a massive hangover or a bad stomach virus. Performance is going to suffer and there's not much you can do about it.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:34 PM   #3
Camille Lore
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Re: Training and the Menstrual Cycle

If I were the trainee, I would ask for a strength and gymnastics day versus a grinding metcon. Also, I've found that fish oil and/or CF in general has REALLY helped with my cramps to the point I don't really get them anymore and I used to have really bad ones.
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:00 AM   #4
Erin Davidson
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Re: Training and the Menstrual Cycle

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Originally Posted by Camille Lore View Post
If I were the trainee, I would ask for a strength and gymnastics day versus a grinding metcon. Also, I've found that fish oil and/or CF in general has REALLY helped with my cramps to the point I don't really get them anymore and I used to have really bad ones.
Ditto - and I'd honestly make it up to the woman. Give her two options. I've done this with my female clients and it works very well. There's always so much to work on that it's worth it. Some women prefer to sweat a lot during their cycles, others prefer to not get too sweaty. Either way I think that's a time when I know most women are low on energy so giving them things they are capable of doing with confidence is important - aka if someone absolutely hates burpees that MAY not be the day to prescribe them.

Then again, Camille's right. Doesn't effect me anywhere NEAR as much as it used to and I know this is true of many Crossfit women.
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Old 01-08-2009, 05:20 AM   #5
Josh Elmore
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Re: Training and the Menstrual Cycle

Thanks for the responses ladies! Your input is much appreciated I'm sure my female clients will be thanking you more
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:13 PM   #6
Leah Turner
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Re: Training and the Menstrual Cycle

Some of your clients may find that working out takes away any slight cramps. But others, like myself, will find that any metcon just makes cramps at least twice as bad. So for me, I would go w/ more strength ME work on such days. However, I would say most all females will feel "weaker" during this time so they shouldn't expect PR's.

I usually skip 3 days around this time. But, I do find that at leisurely doing the CF WU on such days is beneficial.
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:29 PM   #7
Veronica Carpenter
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Re: Training and the Menstrual Cycle

I dunno, I've never altered a training session because of my cycle unless I've got bad cramps (which is rare) then I might have to ease up, but nope don't really think I've ever had to. Usually an super absorbent tampon takes care the messy issues.

The best thing is to "know your limits and listen to your body" adjust as necessary.
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:20 AM   #8
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Training and the Menstrual Cycle

Hmm, thanks gals. Things that should be helpful especially when coaching the olders gals in the gym. Could really explain why some of the girls get super-emo sometimes.
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Old 01-10-2009, 04:16 AM   #9
Gittit Shwartz
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Re: Training and the Menstrual Cycle

I personally try to plan a back-off week for the week of my cycle. I usually feel weak, unmotivated and have to sleep a lot, partly because of blood loss which takes my body a few days to compensate for.
I feel strongest and have higher work capacity right after ovulation so that's when I work in more volume/intensity.
That may depend on the individual though, because for some women the bad time is between ovulation and menstruation (PMS) and the start of a new cycle comes as a relief. So it might be a good idea to discuss it with them.
If they are having problems with mood swings and cramps, this might be a good point to bring up the Paleo diet or at least cutting back on sugar... these things make a big difference.
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