The power of the period

As a surfer, it took a while for me to realise the importance of a backup sport or hobby to indulge in while the surf was unfavourable. I learnt over time, that to 100% obsess over surfing only caused frustration when nature wasn’t playing along. That’s where strength training came in. Oh and an incredibly inspirational boyfriend. The thing was, every time it got to that time of the month, I felt I had to sit out for almost a week because I was taught through yoga to be gentle with my body around moon cycle. It wasn’t until I looked into research that the week of strawberry fields was one of the most powerful weeks, in terms of strength goals in the gym. This might be a time for males to tune out… 

When you get your period, sometimes all you want to do is pass out on the couch in and around coping with your already busy lifestyle. Some women get hit harder than others, lower back pain, bloating and heavy bleeding, being the joyous symptoms that come around all too soon every month. No matter how many inspirational workout clips you watch on your Instagram feed, it really isn’t enough to motivate you to get your butt off the couch and to the gym. But that’s all about to change. 

Being on your period is the only time you’re not concerned with getting pregnant 

Bold statement yes. But biologically and evolutionarily it’s true. Testosterone levels are atsmall bikini their highest when you’re menstruating, given there is more biologically active testosterone available during exercise. So pretty much during this period (no pun intended) you are closer to being a man than ever before!

I think that in itself is pretty amazing, given guys go about buying testosterone supplements, yet as women we have free flowing hormones given to us naturally every month! I see this as a huge advantage for females! That’s right, bleeding can be a gift! 

Muscular strength increases 

I found a study out of Sweden that showed that by training within the first half of your menstrual cycle, had the biggest effect in terms of muscular strength, power and muscle mass. This is so important if you’re into heavy lifting and can be a time when you break previous records in how much weight you push or pull! This adds an extra level of confidence for your next session. 

Personally, when I discovered those studies, it was enough motivation just to hold that thought in my head to drag myself into the gym on my period! The placebo effect alone truly plays wonders on the mind. Throughout a heavy weighted set, I’d be telling myself “oh wow I really do have more strength!”

So it’s time to let go of the thought that you cannot train on your period, or that your period is some kind of curse! Take your power back. Training large muscle groups, such as quads, buttocks and hamstrings requires at least one heavy training session a week to truly see results. So now you have every reason not to sit out one of those important sessions every month! 

 

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Why I’ve switched to vegan protein

When I switched to brown rice/pea protein I nearly vomited at the taste. And to think that some vegan advocates can describe such a taste as earthy, as if to make it sound somewhat inviting. While it takes preparation time to make my new pre-gym vegan shake, I’ve found it all to be worth it and I’m sticking to it. So why did I even bother with the switch? Trust me, it’s not because I’ve turned into a ranting vegan.

I do kind of miss the convenience of my dairy protein (WPI). Before I used to head to the gym, I simply measured out a spoonful into a protein shaker, added some water, threw in the ball whisk and away I went. These days it takes only a few more minutes to prepare my shake, but that’s a lot for a busy girl itching to get into the gym!

So it all began when I was researching for a client’s health article on hormonal issues cacaorecently. I stumbled across a pretty disturbing study. I get the whole thing about how humans are the only ones drinking milk from another species, and how it’s a pretty crappy life to be continually milked, and to have your offspring continually snatched from you. However, with my other non-meat eating habits, I feel not too bad about continuing to consume dairy. Until I found that study.

Dairy and milk products contain 70% of animal estrogen.  That is the figure that made me stop in my tracks and think, do I really want that high level of weird hormones floating around in my system? Some other concerns from that same study include:

  • Increasing body of evidence indicating possible effect of dairy food’s estrogens in tumour provoking or initiation and such evidence being a great concern
  • Intensive veterinary drugs, especially growth promoting hormones utilized in veterinary medicine results in an increase of the residues in milk and other dairy foods.

Basically, steroid hormones are incredibly potent in dairy and leaves profound biological effects in humans, even at low doses. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my cheese and dairy products. Mostly my cheese though. But over the last month I’ve found myself veering away from most dairy products simply for health reasons, which drives my decision to pick up a dairy-free option instead.

Hormones affect so many processes in your body

You’ve probably heard of mood as being most closely linked to hormones, especially withswitch to vegan protein all the jokes about “oh she’s just being hormonal” around a women’s time of the month. But did you know that your hormones also affect multiple other processes in the body including:

  • Metabolism
  • Fertility
  • Development of brain tissue
  • Immunity
  • Body temperate
  • Digestion

Therefore, any interruption in your levels of hormones at even subtle levels, may have profound effects on how any of the above processes are carried out. Hormones are after all, our chemical messengers, so I wonder what they would be sending out when animal estrogens are thrown into the mix?

To me it’s no surprise that hormonal issues are becoming increasingly common in both men and women. I can think of a handful of friends that are battling with infertility or thyroid complications.

Dairy industry giants

You might wonder why you don’t hear about these kind of studies too often? Unless you’re working directly in a role where you’re exposed to medical research, you probably will never hear word of the negative implications of dairy. That’s because the global net worth of the dairy industry was recorded at 335.8 billion USD in 2014.

Why I chose brown rice/pea combo protein

In avoiding my use of a WPI protein, I wanted to make sure I was going to find a non-dairy substitute that was fairly fast absorbing, and also provided a strong nutritional content and amino acid profile. After reading an article on Bodybuilding.com here I was convinced to give brown rice/pea protein a go.

In reading the article, you’ll note that while one of the proteins on its own might lack in a particular amino acid, the other protein will have its back and make up for that shortfall. While it’s not digested as fast as WPI, the author points out that it falls between the absorption levels of WPI (fast absorbing) and casein (super slow absorbing) and I’m pretty happy with that.

Getting past that earthy taste

You’ll never find me describing the rice/pea combo protein as earthy. It is simply revolting and you’ll likely struggle to down a glass, unless you have some major issues with your taste buds! I experimented with a few different recipes and found this one to be pretty damn delicious.

Recipe

  • One 30g scoop of pure rice/pea protein (24g protein)
  • Half banana
  • One TBS natural peanut butter
  • 1 heaped tsp of raw cacao
  • One squirt of honey
  • Half cup of coconut milk or other nut milk
  • Half cup of water

Blend together in a blender until combined.

Last of all, make sure you’re purchasing a 100% pure protein. Your body doesn’t need all that synthetic crap in it, and there’s simply no need for artificial sweeteners when you’re making a tasty recipe out of the protein powder anyway.