The one where I exercised my period away [Back on Track update #3]12:00 AM
Quite a turn of events since my last Back On Track update.
To make a long story short, I'm not going through early menopause like I initially thought; after 2 rounds of blood work and both results showing normal hormone levels, it seems that I'm experiencing something called amenorrhea aka when you exercise your period away.
I began to suspect something like this was happening when, in December, my workouts weren't as frequent due to the gym shutting down for the holidays, I started my Groupon yoga membership so I was trying to take advantage of those classes instead of going to muay thai and holiday eating put 5lbs on me.
Then my period came on time and it was normal; the first normal period since spring 2016 and the reason why: less intense workouts and that extra 5lbs was enough to balance out my hormones and give me my period back.
At my age, long term amenorrhea leads to (early onset of) osteoporosis due to lowered levels of estrogen and I have no time for broken bones...so what does this mean for me, health/fitness-wise?
1) keep my weight at 130lbs. In the last 2 years, I've discovered that I have two weights: my healthy weight and my athletic weight.
My healthy weight is 130lbs. I'm still fit but I have slightly more body fat when I'm hovering around 130lbs. You can still see muscle definition but it's not as pronounced. My clothing sizes don't change between these weights, it's just the amount of muscle definition you can see.
My athletic weight is 125/126lbs; this is where I'm most lean, I have low body fat and in terms of muscle definition, you can see muscle striations. Obviously, I like this weight better because ahole bros love seeing muscle striations. That said, maintaining this weight range isn't the easiest thing to do - I have to do an incredible amount of exercise (6 days a week) and eat super strict in order to do this and because I had been doing that for about 2 years, it's probably why I'm going through this. Not that I hated it or I find this a chore; in fact, it's the complete opposite - I love my workouts and my lifestyle so much that it's likely why I never saw this coming.
I read that sometimes just a simple 5lbs increase will really help with hormone balance if it's out of wack. Everyone needs a certain amount of body fat to keep your cycle in check and I think (hope) making this small adjustment will help.
2) eat clean but not super strict. Prior to the 2016 holidays, I didn't let myself indulge in anything above what I ate on a regular basis so I could maintain my body fat % and 125/126lbs weight. Since I've decided to keep my body weight at 130lbs, that means I have to loosen the reigns on the eating just a tad so I can keep my weight at 130lbs. Not mad about this point, that's for sure!
3) reduce workout intensity and frequency. This is what I'm having the hardest time with the most. While people often struggle with working out more, I'm finding it hard to exercise less. After finally finding something I LOVE (muay thai), I have to reduce the frequency and intensity of my workouts to normalize my hormone levels.....at least temporarily (?) while my body figures this shit out.
With the groupon I bought, I've been doing more yoga to balance out the days that I do train muay thai so hopefully, I'll be able to find some middle ground with my workouts.
For now, my workout schedule looks like this:
Mon: rest day
Tues: muay thai
Wed: strength/functional training (or yoga)
Thurs: muay thai
Fri: muay thai or strength/functional training (or yoga)
Sat: muay thai
Although I'm still active 6 days of the week, it's really only 3 or 4 days that I'm killing it; the rest I consider "light workouts" because lifting and yoga aren't cardio intense and seriously, I can't not workout. I'll do this until my yoga membership expires (March) and reevaluate my cycle at that time.