As women we tend to fall into a trap…and it’s a trap we seriously believe to be true. I’m talking about this: We believe that we need to push ourselves all month long — we believe we need to constantly push ourselves to work out at high-intensity levels to achieve the results we want.

And I’m here to tell you, ladies, that IS the trap. Our bodies, as women, are not made to perform intense workouts all the time. We have fluctuating hormones that have a serious impact on our daily lives — whether we like it or not.

I know, I know. I’m sure you’ve heard about hormones before, and I’ll admit, this concept is being thrown around these days without much mention of what hormones really are and why they're important.

So, I’m here to tell you that hormones play a vital role in our…

  • Energy.
  • Muscular strength.
  • Moods.
  • Social life.
  • Health.
  • Weight.
  • Skin.

And the list goes on and on. It’s crucial to keep our hormones balanced and we do this by allowing ourselves to slow down halfway through the month.

If you just had a cringe of fear, repulsion, and thoughts like, “Ohhhhh no, no, no…I can’t do that — I’ll get fat!” — I totally feel you, I felt the same exact way. After all, it’s counter-intuitive to what we’ve been taught.

But we weren't taught to live in a women's world where we adhere to women's hormones. So, let’s shift the paradigm, shall we ladies?

Our body isn't primed for grueling workouts all the time

Have you ever noticed that one week you’re feeling on top of the world, conquering all your workouts like a champion? You feel great, you look great. And chances are, you were at that time of the month when your body was able to work out like a “champion”.

But, the next week comes along, and just thinking about working out irritates you. In fact, when you begin that same workout, everything feels wrong. You feel tired and exhausted. The weights feel heavier and your muscles feel weak. You criticize yourself and think, how can this be?! I just killed this workout a week ago.

First things first, I know exactly how that feels because I’ve been there so many times. One week I felt so great about the intense workouts I’d done — only to struggle immensely the next week.

But there’s nothing wrong with us. We are not weak. We are not lazy. And, believe it or not, we won’t gain anything by forcing ourselves to do intense workouts. I’ll explain what's going on within our bodies at this time and how it’s actually beneficial to ditch the intense workouts such as HIIT training and weight lifting — and instead, go for slow and intentional workouts that actually feel good.

It’s best to track your menstrual cycle to know for sure, but most likely, what's happening is you’re entering the second half of the month where different hormones are both dramatically decreasing and increasing within days of each other. This is Mother Nature and it’s completely normal.

But, because the aftermath of this hormonal fluctuation is very easily seen and felt — if we aren't aware this is happening for a reason, we can feel like victims to our own bodies.

I encourage you to slow down…yes, I said it…slow down, my friend

In the second half of the month when certain hormones such as estrogen (the happy hormone linked to dopamine) start to decrease dramatically, our bodies begin to experience:

  • A loss of energy
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

At the same time, the hormone progesterone starts to dramatically increase which amplifies the above symptoms — plus, adds in symptoms such as body tenderness and cramps.

I don’t even need to say it, but in this phase with everything that’s occurring and causing us to feel a multitude of different ways — we do not want to work out.

Yet, even though our bodies and minds are screaming at us to stop and slow down — we don’t. We keep pushing and making ourselves do those intense fitness classes because we think we need to. We think our bodies are inconvenient and we ignore them.

However, by not heading to our bodies' need for slowness in the second half of the month, we can cause serious damage such as:

  • Unwanted weight gain.
  • Acne and breakouts.
  • Cravings.
  • Depression.
  • Serious health issues.

…And that’s just to name a few. The reason these unwanted consequences happen is that, at this time, our body is not primed for these workouts. And by forcing our bodies to do them, it causes the body to release cortisol (the stress hormone) into our bloodstream which triggers our body to store fat and waste muscle — plus, a myriad of other unbeneficial side effects.

Even though it went against my very being to slow down, I feel happier, slimmer, and more relaxed when I let myself slow down in this phase.

Let’s face it, it feels horrible to force yourself to do a workout you don’t want to do. It feels like torture to push yourself when you don’t have the energy or mental motivation to do so.

So...I say don’t. Don’t push yourself and instead, listen to your body. I have never felt better than I do now after listening to my body and living according to my hormones.

Do slow, intentional workouts and take rest days as needed

I’m not saying don’t work out and lay in bed all day during this phase. However, some days, that might be just what you need — give yourself rest when you need it. But it can be extremely beneficial to encourage your body to move at a pace that feels good.

Keyword: Feels good.

During the second half of the month, I love to do slow and intentional workouts such as:

  • Mat pilates.
  • Walking.
  • Yoga.
  • Yogalates.
  • Reformer.
  • Stretching.
  • Lymphatic drainage.

All these movements or workouts are slow and intentional. I encourage you to limit weights or go weightless depending on your body and fitness level. Because these slow workouts encourage intentional movement and connection with your body, they don’t raise cortisol levels, and as a result, they help balance out your hormones.

By giving yourself this second half of the month to slow down and recoup, you won’t dread your workouts. You’ll look forward to them and the benefits that follow. Some of the results I experience from slow and intentional workouts are:

  • Peace.
  • Happiness.
  • Strength.
  • Glowy skin.
  • Easy weight loss.

Working with my body has provided me with countless benefits. The best part? Living and working out in this way is easy and actually feels good. It accelerated my health and weight loss.

I believe it’s important to acknowledge what's going on within our bodies as women. To accept and feel empowered by the daily changes we feel.

And…I hope this has given anyone who’s looking for it…. permission to slow down.