Welcome to You Got This, news.com.au’s weekly fitness series featuring stories and ideas from real women who’ve experienced it all.
There is no one of all vices when it comes to exercise and fitness, but those who are menstruating are often on the back foot.
Jess Neill who through Time PT * On social media, she helps people reach their fitness goals by educating them on how different times of the menstrual cycle affect them.
Jess took an interest in hormonal changes and the impact on weight loss after having her first child.
“I was only 19 when my daughter was. I was one of those girls who was always naturally thin,” she told news.com.au.
“I was never worried about what I ate or exercised, but once I got pregnant, and my hormones changed, I put on 30kg with that pregnancy, and then I lost a lot of weight.”
By the time Jess had her second child at 24, she was better educated about her body and found the whole pregnancy easier.
She became a personal trainer in 2014 – working mainly with women – and began to experiment with workouts.
“I just started playing around with exercise cycles and exploiting their routines like we were doing with the highest volume,” he said.
“I found that allowing a week before the season and time to take a little step back from training, when their bodies weren’t feeling great, gave them time to recover a lot better.”
He said this has resulted in his clients progressing faster.
Jess said the three main hormones that impact energy, muscle growth and recovery are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
He said that in the first half of the menstrual cycle, estrogen and testosterone are on the rise, helping to build muscle, but when it drops and progesterone rises, to prepare the embryo, the body is encouraged to wait.
Jess said that the high intensity workouts in the first part of the month should be changed to pilates and yoga later in the month. This helps the body adapt while still achieving its goals.
Roxy Lehmann, who founded Dress for the night; is one of Jess’ clients, and said the pair connected at the right time.
Roxy wanted to build muscle, and at first she thought a male trainer would be her best help.
“But I was really bad in the weeks leading up to having a period. I’d go to the gym and it was like, ‘Oh I’m not feeling it?'” he told news.com.au.
“And the male trainer would say: ‘Last week you lifted 10 times, this week we need to lift more. What else shall we do? Then I’ll leave that session feeling really bad about what I did.”
Roxy said it wasn’t until she worked like crazy for her business, having a miscarriage and having a doctor show her hormones were “all over the place” that she wanted to work with a female boss.
That’s when Jess found out – and she said, despite having a knee injury, she feels healthier than she’s ever felt in her life.
Roxy, 36, said people need to learn how their bodies work to help them live fulfilling lives.
“It’s not surprising if women learned about hormones in school… So we didn’t have to wait for our bodies to go through something that we couldn’t go through before we learned (hormone-related),” she said.
But, Jess reveals that her business – which she runs through an app, face-to-face or online – is not just for cisgender women.
On her TikTok, she uses inclusive language such as “people with periods” to include transgender people and non-binary people.
However, she is receiving a lot of negative comments from people on social media about her choice of words.
“Most people are in full support of me using more inclusive language,” he said. “And, you know, I hope we get to a place where inclusive language isn’t something that people tend to be upset about.”