How to beat your monthly melt down

How to beat your monthly melt down.


How to beat your monthly melt down

If your period usually has you slumped over on the sofa with a hot water bottle, staying active can help you through that time of the month.

So girls…..we have moods (just ask my husband about this) cramps, bloating and pains at the best of times and if your in the midst of training, they can be a major inconvenience. After all your motivation to get you moving, this isn’t going to be easy when your sofa is calling you.

For some women, problems can start 2 weeks before their period begins, with premenstrual symptoms effecting our performance and motivation. During this time, even up to the day before, it’s common to feel tired, irritable, emotional and lethargic…oh, and don’t even get me started on the chocolate cravings about 3 days before, this is very common.

Once our period arrive, most women feel brighter and more energetic. If your periods are heavier or painful, it can impact on your ability to exercise. Also a lot of blood loss can sap your iron stores and your energy.

If you suffer with PMS (I do) …exercise will certainly help to control the mood swings, emotions that you may experience. Exercise releases endorphins so hence why this can help.

After your sluggishness of the premenstrual stage, your performance tends to pick up once your period starts. As you know, being a Personal Trainer, I even struggle about 3 days prior to my period starts. I suffer from PMS that I am on medication for this, but on day 2, I’m back on form and feeling good again. Listen to your body….if you have heavy periods, your losing iron, energy levels are low, over exercising at this time can deplete your iron stores even more and not to mention putting your body under more strain. For most women, this will only take about a day or 2 out from training. So maybe swap the gym for a brisk walk instead.

Research has shown that the first half of your cycle, your body is is geared up for high interval training and cardio workouts. Understanding your cycle will help you get the best out of your body. In contrast, in the run up to your period, your performance may suffer, but your endurance may improve, so focus on in proving stamina rather than speed.

Whilst your periods can be a pain, there’s no need for them to disrupt your training. They will only effect you if you allow this. You maybe slower, but sometimes, not always, its mind over matter!

There are lots of medication you can buy from your local pharmacy to cope with the pain or further still, seek advice from your Doctor.

Sarah Pennicott
Personal Trainer & Pilates Teacher



All about Muscle Fibers

All about Muscle Fibers

Our body is made up of lots of different groups of muscles, and each person has a unique composition of muscle tissue in their body. Different types of athletes usually have one predominant type of muscle fiber, which suits their sport the best.

The Three Different Types Of Muscle Fibers Are:

Type I fibers
Type IIa fibers
Type IIb fibers

Each one has it’s own characteristics and is suited to a particular type of movement. Another way to classify these fiber types is by dividing them into slow and fast twitch fibers.

Type I: Slow Twitch Fibers.

The first type of fiber is the type I, or slow twitch fibers. These fibers are slow to contract which is why they are called slow twitch, and can sustain muscular contractions for an extended period of time. This makes them ideal for endurance type of events where you are exercising for long durations. They also contain large and numerous mitochondria which aid in their oxidative metabolism (the use of oxygen). These types of fibers are fatigue resistant but are only able produce a relatively low level of force output.

These fibers are red in appearance, due to their iron containing cytochromes, have a small fibers diameter and have many capillaries throughout their structure. For the average sedentary child or adult, slow twitch fibers comprise approximately 50% of their muscular tissues. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, cross-country skiers and distance cyclists often possess up to 90% slow twitch fibers. On the other hand, athletes that rely on short bursts of energy possess the lowest levels of slow twitch fibers, often around only 25%.

Type IIa: Fast Twitch Fibers.

The next category is fast twitch fibers. these are divided into type IIa and type IIb. Fast twitch fibers are known for their ability to rapidly transmit action potentials and generate a high crossbridge turnover rate (responsible for quick muscle contractions).
These fibers also possess a high activity level of myosin ATPase and show a rapid rate of calcium release. Due to these properties, these fibers generate an explosive burst of power for a short period of time. This makes them most suitable to stop and go activities such as basketball, soccer, and hockey, as well as max output activities such as weightlifting, and many track and field events.

These fibers rely heavy on the glycolytic energy system (using the method of anaerobic glycolosis to produce ATP). Type IIa fibers are in the middle of the muscle fiber spectrum, as they are less fatigue resistance, produce more muscular force, and contract at a faster speed than slow twitch fibers.

Type IIb: Fast Twitch Fibers.

Type IIb fibers are the most fatigable out of all the fibers but also generate the most power and force, and therefore are the fastest twitch muscles fibers. These types of fibers are recruited in activities that require an all out burst of power and only act for an extremely short period of time, such as seconds.

These are the last to be recruited. For example, upon normal activities, slow twitch fibers are recruited first, followed by type IIa when the type I can no longer suffice, and then finally the type IIb, which are recruited to produce maximal strength.

Type IIa are pink in color, have an intermediate diameter, capillary level and mitochondria volume. The type IIb fibers are white in color, have the largest diameter and have a low capillary and mitochondrial volume. Most strength athletes possess a higher % of fast twitch fibers, as do those in short duration, quick moving activities.

Although each muscle fiber type has certain characteristics that make it more suited for certain activities, this does not mean that an athlete with a predominance of one type of muscle fiber can only participate in those activities that call for that type.

With proper training, they still can learn many of the skills and techniques used in different sports and can achieve success across a wide variety of activities.

It is common however, that athletes with a predominance in one type of fiber do naturally tend to be drawn to the types of activities more suited to their body as they tend to naturally be better at those actions and therefore often enjoy participating more.

At the elite level of competition, you may find that those athletes who do possess the certain characteristics in their muscle fiber that are required by the sport do tend to be able to push themselves slightly further, as their body may react better to training methods and will show faster improvement.

Sarah Pennicott – MasterFitness


Sarah Pennicott -photo shoot


5 steps to a fimer TUMMY

5 steps to a fimer TUMMY.