Every month I get hit with some variations of annoying PMS symptoms. Usually it is headache, minor bouts of insomnia (which inevitably leads to fatigue throughout the day) and mood swings. During the symptomatic days leading up to my menstrual break, I temporarily stop my favorite HIIT classes and turn to workouts that are a little gentler on my mind and body, and recently there have been Pilates-focused streams of certified yoga and pilates instructor Melissa Wood Tepperberg.
After regularly approaching Melissa Wood Health for the last five or so of my cycles, I can safely say that the instructor’s streams are some of my favorite exercises that are always done when my period throws me for a loop. Here are a few reasons why:
The training is poor
Melissa Wood Health mat-based exercise programs are all focused on strengthening and stretching the body through small movements with little effect, which is much more appealing to me than multiple sets of burpees when I am physically exhausted and emotionally drained. In most of the class, you lie either on your back or side, or you sit in a tabletop position.
The small movements feel far less demanding on the body than burpees or weighted squats. I am not drenched in sweat at the end, but I still always feel the burning seconds in every set of movements.
I also appreciate that Wood changes the movement or reverses the movement after approx. 10 repetitions, always counting down and actually doing all the movements with you. My motivation is usually quite low during PMS, so all of these thighs help keep me moving and engaged in training.
The training starts with breathing
Instead of jumping right into a series of difficult moves, Wood-Tepperberg starts many of his classes with a quick breathing exercise to help you reset your intentions, release some of your stressors, and approach your workout in a more alert, relaxed manner. way. I find that I am more willing to push through the last few reps of leg circles once I have grounded myself.
There are plenty of quick, short workout programs
I rarely have the energy (or desire) to commit to a 45 minute workout when I have particularly intense PMS. Even 30 minutes can feel like a lifetime. Another thing I love about Melissa Wood Health is that there are lots of super short workout videos on offer within the platform. You can find weapon segments that only take eight minutes to complete, whole body currents that clock about 15-17 minutes in total and even five minutes of meditation.
Stretching is worked in the training
Melissa Wood works on stretching into class total time instead of just suggesting stretching when the clock hits zero when you finish your last rep. For example, about the last two or three minutes of e.g. A 17-minute Pilates stream to cool the body with gentle movements and stretches. This is especially helpful for me, someone who has a terrible habit of skipping stretches after exercise, even though I know that stretching can be helpful for certain PMS symptoms.
You do not need props or weights
Sure, there are classes where Wood recommends using a pound of ankle weights or a resistance band in certain movements, but she also makes it very clear in each class that your body weight is more than enough to get into a solid workout. I never feel pressured to push my body further than it will go when I am tired.