Since being diagnosed with PCOS and saying goodbye to my dreams of competing, I have been searching for some new fitness-related goals. There are a number of reasons a woman can develop PCOS, but having done the research I believe mine was caused by excessive stress in the form of over-exercising and under-eating a few years ago. Although I cut back on the exercise a couple of years ago, I had a highly stressful job that could have been making my condition worse.
While regular exercise is important to the treatment of PCOS, overdoing it can worsen your condition. Alongside diet, stress management is an important part of treating my symptoms naturally.
Over the past few weeks, I have been making a conscious effort to destress. I stretch and practice some deep breathing for five minutes as soon as I wake up, which starts my day on a positive note. I have been doing yoga three to four times a week – I use free podcasts so I don’t even have to leave the comfort of my own home.
I have also been trying to read every night before bed, while drinking a cup of spearmint tea (which apparently lowers testosterone levels).
I have also (finally!) started dancing again. I’ve been doing a hip hop dance class once a week and I am LOVING it. It feels so good to be doing something I love again. My teacher occasionally films the class too, so you guys might see some special footage of me soon! I have committed to once a week, and may even try for two classes.
I have had some of the habits above listed as goals for a while, but it’s funny how a health shake-up can make you reassess your priorities. Stretching and reading are no longer options – I know I have to do them to keep my mind healthy.
Lifting-wise, I don’t have any concrete goals now that I do not plan to compete in a figure show. A few people have suggested competing in powerlifting but, to be honest, I’m scared of jumping on the train to snap city 😉
I love these guys, but this is their only video I disagree with. It’s still hilarious:
I finished my final round of 5/3/1 last week. My most notable PR was a 90kg (200lbs) deadlift, which I’m quite proud of. My final set called for 80kg, which I did with ease. I was feeling good and wanted to push it so I threw on 90kg. It wasn’t the prettiest rep in the world, but I locked it out.
I’m going to continue programming my deadlift and overhead press in a 5/3/1 style, but I’m going to take some time to work on my bench and squat form at a higher rep range. I will stick to four days a week of lifting but I will switch to an upper/lower body split.
My main goal will be increasing strength but also improving my form. Medium-term goals are a 100kg deadlift and a 35kg overhead press. Definitely no aesthetic goals for the time being while I figure out what diet is best for me.
What is your favourite way to destress? What goals are you working towards?