Female Climber Series: Managing Water Retention, During Your Cycle
Personally, I (coach Madeleine Cope) don’t suffer too greatly from PMS, but something I do suffer from is water retention. This is really common and weight can vary within the menstrual cycle by up to 2 kg. Although the weight fluctuation doesn’t sound like much, when I was wanting to access my max strength I noticed the difference!
Here are some things that I have found helpful, when suffering from water retention during this phase of my cycle;
Track Symptoms Such As Water Retention
Understanding the changes throughout my cycle has helped me look at the fluctuations objectively. Understanding that things are always changing and that when I do feel bloated this is not permanent weight gain has been extremely positive for me. The easiest way to understand changes throughout your cycle, is to track your symptoms – use an app such as FitR Women, Clue or Flo.
Adapt your Training
When I am suffering from water retention the accompanying change in weight is a relatively large proportion of my max hang load that I use during fingerboard training. Through tracking and being aware of this change I have learnt to simply drop the load during this phase. This has helped me not over-work my fingers, which in the past have felt tweaky after pushing too hard in sessions trying to match my previous session.
Adapt Some More, and Give Yourself a Break!
Sometimes I make choices about what climbing I do during this time. I know that some climbers like the “I can do anything, on any day” approach, which is great if that works for them. Personally, I find making educated choices about what climbing I do during this phase has had a positive impact on my mentality and motivation. For example, I may choose lower angle climbing, quick red points, or to focus on less fingery holds. If I want to get on a project, I simply make sure I am aware of it, and choose to work on making easier sections efficient if I don’t feel as good on the harder sections.
In the long run I have found making decisions like this, and being ok with them (not feeling like I am being “lazy” or feeling like I “should” try something harder) has meant that I have more positive experiences and am more motivated when I go back to my projects after a little break.
Despite ‘Weight Gain’ – Keep Fuelling Your Climbing
I know that despite feeling slightly heavier, this is not a sign of mis-match between my intake and expenditure, so I make sure I keep fuelling my climbing!