Are Your Workouts Not as Good on Your Period? Here’s Why

Is it just me, or does it seem like being on your period sucks the life out of you sometimes? I mean, some months aren’t so bad. But some months…whew. I am WIPED.

So why does this happen? And is there anything we can do about it? Because you know, dealing with cramps and mood swings and cravings is ENOUGH. And should we work out on our period if we feel totally drained?

I did a little research to find out!

What’s going on in there?

Well, a lot! When you start a new menstrual cycle (AKA your period), your hormones go a little haywire. Actually, they start going a little out of whack the week before you start your period, causing your good ‘ol friend: PMS.

So the two big hormones are progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone dominates after you ovulate all the way up to your period, which makes you feel tired. Then if you’re not pregnant, progesterone drops, and both estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest.

Serotonin, our “feel good hormone” crashes around this time too. Not only does that make us feel drained, but it gives the added bonus of feeling emotional! If you’re like me, feeling tired also makes you a liiiiiittttle grouchy and super snacky too!

But here’s the good news. Those hormones start to bounce back to normal as the week goes on! So by the end of your period, you should have some of your energy back.

red mug sitting on desk with plant and journal

Can we prevent fatigue during our period?

We’ve got things to do!

Good news! Yes! You can try a few things leading up to your period to help keep your energy levels up. Kinda like anything else, it all comes back to diet, exercise, sleep and stress.

    • Get your Zzz’s! You know the drill. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon/evening, stop screen time before bedtime, and get your 8 hours.
    • Focus on fuel – Try to resist that craving for chocolate, sugar or alcohol. These foods cause big time blood sugar fluctuations, which usually end with an energy crash
    • Relax – Stress will seriously drain you. Try meditating, yoga, reading, or anything to help you chill.
    • Hydrate – Water, water water! If you’re dehydrated, you’ll feel more tired and you might even notice your cramps are worse and you crave more junk. So drink up!

To workout, or not to workout?

If you’re thinking about using your period as an excuse to skip your workout, think again.

It’s totally fine to workout while you’re on your period. And you know what? It might actually make you feel better. YUP.

Let me convince ya:

  • Working out increases energy.
  • Working out improves your mood thanks to a little thing called endorphins.
  • Working out might help with mild cramping, again thanks to endorphins!

Of course, you don’t have to do super intense workouts. If you’re doing HIIT or heavy lifting on the reg, this might be the perfect time to back off a little and keep it light or modify if that feels better for you. Low-intensity exercises like walking, yoga, pilates, and light weight training are all super beneficial and they feel GOOD.

If you have killer cramps or other issues, talk to your doctor and maybe consider sitting it out until you feel better. But if you’re just skipping because you feel like a slug, peel yourself off the couch because I’m thinking a little activity is just what you need!

Figure out what makes you feel BEST!

Most importantly, do what feels good for you. If your body truly needs rest, then give it some rest. And like I said before, if fatigue or cramping or your moods are extra intense and seem to be getting in the way of your life, talking to your doctor might help!

It might seem like our period kinda takes over and control everything we do when it shows up. But that doesn’t have to be the case! Hopefully, we can use these tips to feel as normal and energized as possible when that time of the month strikes.

44 thoughts on “Are Your Workouts Not as Good on Your Period? Here’s Why”

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  1. April says:

    The first couple days I can do workouts. The rest of the week I’m too dizzy and nauseated to do anything. Recently I’ve developed insomnia whenever my period starts.

  2. N says:

    So many things here! Many of us know about the circadian rhythm, but few of us have heard about the infradian rhythm, which is the regulation of the menstrual cycle. The concept is that women are governed by our infradian (and I believe circadian) rhythms (whereas men are governed by circadian rhythms only). Alisa Vitti’s work looks into biohacking your body based on your rhythms (ie best type of exercise/ foods/ type of work to do depending on where you’re at in your cycle etc).
    For me personally, looking into my infradian rhythm helped me discover that I have premenstrual dysphoric disorder…when I was off of birth control I was having pms symptoms that lasted of upwards of two weeks, with intense depression (and other pms symptoms).

  3. jacqueline.lorenz says:

    I feel every time I am on my cycle my whole being wants to give up on my weight loss journey! I eat everything, I don’t want to workout, and I’m sad about little things that I’m not usually sad about. It SUCKS!!! Thank you for writing this post though!! 🥰

  4. ruthless says:

    Sometimes my cramps intensify during the workout and then let up afterward. It’s so weird! I’ll go into my workout thinking, “I’m doing this no matter what,” and it sucks. I may even shed a few tears, but then after the workout I feel a little lighter.

    And then some days I stay on the couch because it’s all I can do 🤣

  5. sophie says:

    I actually just got started with the 7 day abs, and my period at the same time, what should I do? i don’t know!

  6. Yasmina says:

    It may sound crazy but swimming actually helps a great deal with cramps! I read it on a health blog somewhere and tried it out and it made me feel so much better. It’s my go-to cure for cramps now!

  7. Olivia says:

    wow Cassey you you do read my mind!!! I was thinking about a way to ask you about this last couple of days. I always wondered why I always crave junk food during this time…thank you Cassey

  8. Lorraine Charisma says:

    exactly what l thought, thanks you ,um gonna keep working out

  9. Lorraine Charisma says:

    exactly what l thought, thank you

  10. AdinaCohen says:

    My doctor said hiit on the first couple days of your period can actually make cramps worse.

    1. Adina Cohen says:

      I’ve personally experienced it.

    2. Jess B. says:

      That’s interesting, I’ve experienced this, too. Yoga usually makes me feel better, but it does push my PITT ahead a few days.

  11. Bee says:

    So glad I found this article right now. I’m on my period and these past two days and been a struggle to workout!

  12. ewagzz says:

    uggghhh I hate periods so much. I’d get a hysterectomy if I could.

  13. Taniesha says:

    I do workouts during my period but not a heavy or high intensity workouts and I agree with Cassey that it actually helps with my mood and feels more energized!

  14. Jaime says:

    Walking at an easy pace for 20-30 min actually REDUCES the pain from period cramps! I have started a walk on my period thinking “Oh man, I can barely move, uncomfortable and cranky how am I going to do this?” To finishing a 30min walk, whilst listening to feel good tunes, and feeling a lot better. My pain before the walk might have been at a level 8, post walk level 5. Give it a try!

  15. Melanie Ong says:

    As a #Cyster (PCOS fighter here), I can totally relate to this topic, Cassey. Been trying to be more careful in what I eat, yet my hormotional rollercoaster just won’t cooperate with me pre- and post-scarlet flag days, and that makes me stressed, thus eating more sugary + carby stuff (especially fast foods! haha I know I’m guilty lol), sometimes my cravings range from the very common to the very weird.

  16. Abbie says:

    This article is very insightful. I’ve realized that the glow is heavier when i work out during my periods. I’ll ease up on the regular workouts and go walking instead to see if it helps ease or maintain the flow. Thank you for sharing, very helpful.

  17. Danielle says:

    I feel terrible when I skip my workouts on my periods by sometimes I really just have too. It’s not really about the cramps, it’s about the headaches. Some months I just need to lay down in a dark room with no sound. Yesterday I had the same one from morning to night, even with medication. But the truth is that since I started working out I feel a lot better about my period cramps and and overall period mood. Thanks Cassey for always keeping us motivated!

    1. Kate says:

      I have the same thing Danielle! Last period I had the same headache for 3 days. I managed to go in to work but the rest of my time was spent in a dark room with little stimulation. When I don’t have a headache, I find walking or yoga feels great during my period.

  18. Archana says:

    Even I feel like not skipping workouts while I’m in my periods, as my periods take control over my emotions , I feel like taking rest for 3 days atleast. But as soon as I enter to 3rd day, I just drag myself n start doing workouts. Then I feel better after doing workouts

  19. Lucy says:

    “If you’re thinking about using your period as an excuse to skip your workout, think again.” YESSS CASSEY!!! I’m so sick of this viewpoint that women are such delicate little flowers we can’t move or do sport during our periods. Periods shouldn’t be affecting you to the extent that you can’t do any exercise. If they’re really that debilitating, you should honestly think about seeing a doctor and finding out what they can do to help you.

    1. kbiaggi says:

      Unfortunately though, periods really ARE this debilitating for a lot of women and girls!

      1. PrincessMumu says:

        ^yes it’s really bad for my friends and I that it hurts to sit, it hurts to stand and it hurts to walk. So I definitely cannot do workouts or sports on my first few days. Though there’s that one friend who just does not feel cramps and her period lasts for less than a week so I believe it really just depends on the person.

  20. Hannah says:

    Wow super helpful! It’s currently my time of month and I get very drained and emotional. Thank you so much Cassey!

  21. Ala says:

    My period started 2 days ago and yesterday was HARD for me to do the calendar workouts. I did them with the little strength I had in me, but I was shaking at the end and just went to bed. It was a big mistake because I was fasting even though I wasn’t supposed to! 🤦🏻‍♀️ It can be tricky to have a balanced diet during Ramadan especially since I don’t like eating much at a time, so it’s hard for me to eat all the needed nutritions in the dedicated hours (from the sunset till the next sunrise) and I don’t sleep very late either 😂 Today, of course, I ate in the morning and I’m gaining my energy back 😄

  22. Pi says:

    Yes, please! 🙂 …would love a period friendly workout

  23. Diksha says:

    I’ve been following ur workouts for months now and I’m also doing this month challenge but the the problem is that because of this quarantine there’s always an urge to eat and because of that I’m not seeing the results.Will you plsss give some solution 🥺🙏

  24. Martina says:

    In my case, working out actually really helps with cramps. If I stay active during my period, I have no cramps at all, but if I stop or am for some reason in a very passive stage, they come back and hit me big time. Hello endorphins, or what. 😀

  25. J says:

    This was a good read! Can you do a couple different period friendly workouts for us?

  26. Haha I’ve been feeling so drained and this ever happened to me before, my period its coming soon and yesterday during my workout I just couldn’t keep the rhythm. Today I’m feeling kind of the same and this post talks to me… So good!

    Thanks, Cassey.

  27. Amp says:

    Ya. Please upload some period friendly exercise

  28. M says:

    Hey Cassey, this post came in perfect timing for me. I was going to ask you, how do you deal with pms cravings? I find myself struggling every single month. It’s like my stomach doesn’t have a bottom. I can eat and eat and even though I know I’m full I’m still thinking about food. It’s already hard to restrain myself on a daily basis but it’s absolutely impossible when I’m pms-ing. I feel like all the work a put into my body during the month gets wasted in this one week…

  29. JC says:

    Would you have a period-friendly workout routine? ☺️

    1. That would be great!

    2. That would be great!!

    3. Cupcakes says:

      That would be amazing!

    4. Shay says:

      Yes I totally agree. Please do a period-friendly workout & stretches 😏

  30. I’ve actually heard that on your. You actually feel more energized than before so it’s the perfect time to workout on your. Have you heard of this to?

    1. Alicia says:

      Yeah I’ve heard this too.

    2. Lessy says:

      It varies person to person, much like how some diets will work for some people but be utterly useless for others, lots of genetic factors involved; some people are more energised, some become lethargic or depressed – no one rule for everyone. For me it fluctuates each day, one day i’ll be mega boosted, and then the next have no energy, next will do something light, day after that i’ll be down in the dumps and not want to do anything. I just roll with it and do what my body is telling me, not just because I have a medical condition, but because the rest of the time when my hormones aren’t going mental, I make up for my epic cheat-food day and the few days I do nothing at all.

  31. dogzilla says:

    I love how you’re regularly posting recently! I’m always excited to read them. Thank you for all the good content 🙂

  32. Inga says:

    Thank you for your sensitive text. Exercising with less intensity than usual is the best approach, at least for me. Also caffeine helps to pick me up and feel less sluggish and crav-y, although that is possibly psychological, but whatever works 😉

    1. Caffeine works for me too. It is quite effective as an energizer during my periods. Although the my intensity of workouts doesn’t differ a lot. It is usually the same as regular days.