Are you having trouble with insulin resistance that makes it so you can’t process carbs as well as others, and you hold onto weight more than your friends? Does this make you embarrassed or scared to go to the gym? I get it, girl! It’s not easy. Here are my tips for finding ways to find joy and wellness through physical activity with PCOS.
Find a PCOS Workout You Love
Maybe the gym isn’t for you – that’s OK. Not everyone loves going from machine to machine at the gym (though if that’s your thing, then go for it!). Instead, a lot of folks will find more fulfillment with things like hiking, biking, kickboxing, martial arts, rock climbing, rowing, swimming, dancing, yoga, pilates, running or aerial circus arts. I’ve never been a gym rat myself, and instead, I do a combination of yoga, running, aerial and dance, and that keeps me motivated. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you won’t be motivated to continue.
Haven’t done much exercise in the past year during quarantine? No Biggie! Start small – that can mean taking a walk around your block once or twice a day, doing some resistance band exercises or conditioning in your home or trying out some gentle yoga videos a few days a week. Just like any lifestyle change, adding in exercise has to start one step at a time. If you try to make huge leaps, you’re more likely to give up.
Find a Fitness Buddy
Find a friend or even a fellow cyster to workout with. This can be lifting weights in your garage, going on walks or runs together, doing hikes together or taking a fitness class together. Find someone with similar interests or join a group like a local running or hiking group to keep you on track.
Do a Combination of Cardio & Strength Training for PCOS
Once you’ve established a routine, it’s important to get both cardio and strength training. Cardio keeps your heart healthy, blood sugar low and burns calories, all great for PCOS. However, you also need strength training for long-term mobility and quality of life, increased metabolism and weight management for PCOS. This can mean doing both yoga and running, pilates and biking, weight lifting and swimming or any combination you love.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up When You Miss a Workout
One mistake I see a lot is that people get really down when they’ve missed a few workouts, because life got busy or they were traveling. Instead of feeling disappointed the best thing to do is allow yourself the grace to take some time to rest and then get back on the horse! If you have to start small again, start small!
Plan Ahead & Make Your Workouts Easy
Whether you put it in your calendar the week ahead or sign up for a series of classes, having a set schedule ahead of time will help working out to be the default. Also, make doing your workout easy, whether that’s choosing a nearby gym or one on the way to work, having equipment all set out at home or building them into your daily commute. Walking or biking to work can easily take care of your cardio workouts each week and then all you need to do is a little strength training.
Fuel Up for Your Workouts
Sometimes folks with PCOS think they should work out on an empty stomach because of their insulin resistance. This isn’t true! It’s important to properly fuel for workouts, which means both protein and carbs in order to get the most out of them! If you can’t tolerate a full meal, a balanced snack will do.
Pair up Your Workout with Fun Rewards
Even though you should love your workout on its own, if you pair it up with something fun like socializing (at a yoga class or run club), getting your favorite coffee (when you run to the shop) or stopping by your favorite shop (that you rode your bike to), you add an extra bonus for motivation.