For Women Only–and the trainers who train them…

excuses dont runAs women, most of us realize we possess strength beyond our male counterparts.  However, it is different.  We are the only ones that can carry and bear children.  We have a higher pain tolerance (probably why we have the children), and we are better multi-taskers.  While men have their attributes; we have ours.  They also have their weaknesses (no one has to tell us this) and yes ladies, we have ours.

One process which is uniquely female is menses.  Few of us are willing to admit that some days, in many ways, it slows us down.  Most of us continue our daily routines without much thought throughout these 5-7 days.  Yet while we are busy being that superior multi-tasker, how does this once a month, physiological process figure in?  Specifically when we exercise, and its effect on our hydration requirements?

Unfortunately, I haven’t found much on this topic.  Therefore, I will give you my take on this.

It is true our bodies prepare each month for this natural phenomenon.  The body expects a certain amount of fluid loss.  However, let’s factor in a few variables.  Starting with exercise, we realize this is a demand on the body.  Let’s throw in a little high humidity, as well as elevated summer temperatures.  Now add in your “monthly gift.”  If you are exercising in extreme heat, especially running in heat, rethinking your hydration is key.

Why? Your body is starting at point of fluid deficit.  While it is expecting this, it doesn’t expect (or really desire) the further dehydration which occurs through sweating (aka insensible fluid loss), as well as the added pressure of moderate to intense workouts.  You may have never experienced the light headedness, nausea or cramping, many know during their cycle.  You may be among those whose menses never affects their exercise routine.  Chances are in one way or another, it has.


Some of you have your own ideas, formulas, as well as rationale for how you hydrate.  I know I have mine.  If you would like standard guidelines, as well as my hydration regimen see “Not Enough..Too much,” posted June 7th under Nutrition.

My experience has taught me hydration, as well as nutrition, is not a “one size fits all” undertaking.  However, if you continue a strenuous routine during your cycle, consider what you are losing–before you begin.  It is primarily blood and H20.  How much, how little, is highly individual.  You may find you are craving a little more protein, possibly reaching for electrolyte replacement, when plain H20 is your customary drink of choice.  Last but not least, consider the presence (or lack of) Iron rich foods in your diet.  Adequate Iron can make or break the fatigue factor.  Take a look at “Iron Rich Foods.”

The key here, as with workouts, is to pay attention to what your body is telling you–and be prepared.   You need not be warrior princess every single moment either.  Taking a day off, substituting a lighter alternate routine keeps overused muscles fresh, while making demands and developing ones to “support your habit.”

If you are an avid runner, try a 30 minute ballet inspired routine.  It will help elongate your muscles, as well as stretch tired hamstrings.  Yoga is also a great alternative.  Though hot yoga is my favorite, I realize this may not be for everyone.  However, 25 to 45 minutes of yoga can assist in alleviating cramps (I know this one from experience).

If are working on sculpting a body builder physique, this might be an opportune time to take a day off.  Strength training, as well as intense cardio can increase flow.  Once again, a good stretch through yoga or Pilates can release tightened muscles.

As stated earlier, I have not found much written on this subject.  Personal experience though, has taught me to be a little more considerate of my body.  While my mind may say “charge!” my body is still the one that actually has to charge.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Have your own experiences with this?  Found something you want to share?  Would love to hear it.  Contact me at

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