By Lisa White ISSA & AFPA CPT | Yahoo! Contributor Network – Mon, May 14, 2012 3:11 PM EDT
Obviously men have no worries about a monthly menstrual cycle, but as a female bodybuilding athlete, a menstrual cycle means more than reproducing children. Menstrual cycles bring on the woes of cramps and backaches, but also changes a female athlete's body image if holding extra water weight.
Although bodybuilding events have set dates, work around your menstrual cycle so that you do not have your menses during the same week as the bodybuilding event.
Are you on a 28 day cycle?
Menstrual cycle irregularity is not uncommon in women, let alone athletes, but learning your menstrual cycle's timing is helpful. Are you on a 28 day cycle? Or is your menstrual cycle not the standard28 days? Do you even have a clue when your menstrual cycle begins?
If you don't know when your cycle begins or ends, monitor it before you pick a bodybuilding event. For instance, if the bodybuilding show is in October monitor your cycle earlier in the year. This lessens the chances of having a bodybuilding event and your menstrual cycle in the same week.
Do you crave sugary foods?
Bodybuilding physiques are based on training and dieting, with much more emphasis on diet than training. Craving sugary foods is common among women; with chocolate being the favorite go-to food. However, giving in to cravings and eating sugary foods throws off hard work. Although many competitors try to avoid "cheating", caving in happens sometimes. If you do give in to your cravings do not be surprised by the jump in your weight the next day.
How much water do you gain?
Some women gain water weight, or have bloat, before or during their menstrual cycles. However, as an athlete, you may gain even more water due to the change in diet if you ate foods you haven't been eating. The amount of water weight depends on the person, and may take a few days to dissipate. It's important to keep track of the additional weight also; especially if you suddenly realize you chose a bodybuilding show that falls within the same week as your menstrual cycle.
Choose a date before or after your menstrual cycle
If you know the timing of your menses, or have monitored it, you'll know when it begins and usually ends so choose a show that does not fall within that same week. Even if you don't have excessive water weight you don't want the discomfort of backaches or cramps on the bodybuilding event day.
Eric Di Lauro
Mr. Canada Pro Trainer
Team Cutler Mr Olympia