Let’s face it, our periods can make us feel pretty crappy sometimes. From bloating to sore boobs, PMS symptoms are deffo a bit of a downer.

However it’s super important not to let your flow get in the way of you living your best life. Gone are the days of Mother Nature leaving you bed-ridden for a week. Girl, you are just as powerful, period or not.

So if you want to hit the gym, go for a run or even to the pool during your monthly, you do you. There’s nothing stopping you from taking on the world, one netball match at a time…

Gah. Why do I get PMS?

Almost 85% of us experience some form of PMS during their cycle. Bleugh. And while your deffo not alone, try to remember that PMS affects everyone differently. Some people really suffer during their cycle, with bloating, tiredness, irritability, increased hunger, cramps and sore boobs, while others get off scot-free. Hey, we never said the world was fair.

These symptoms are caused by changes in our hormone levels and can start up to ten days to two weeks before your period. It might start with you feeling more tired or emotional than usual and could lead to more physical discomfort. Taking painkillers, relaxing with a hot water bottle and, most importantly, EXERCISE can help soothe this.

So how can exercise help?

Exercise releases endorphins and these magical hormones help to lift your mood. If there was ever a way to take your mind off the slightly more gruelling symptoms that come with being a woman, turns out it’s burpees. Again, the world is not fair.

Getting your heart-rate going produces these wonder hormones, but studies also show that getting a bit sweaty will help reduce that annoying bloat too.

On top of this, maintaining a healthy active lifestyle – especially on your period – will make you far less likely to suffer from cramps. It’s a no brainer really.

What if I just can’t?

Don’t sweat it. Sometimes it all gets a bit too much and you simply can’t even fathom getting dressed, let alone engaging in anything vaguely physical. It’s totally fine to medicate with tea, chocolate and a bubble bath every once in awhile. Just make sure your period isn’t getting in the way of you enjoying a healthy lifestyle. If you do think your symptoms are really severe and are getting in the way of you functioning normally, perhaps you should talk to your GP as this could indicate something more serious.


Tbh, it’s totally your call. If you fancy doing some light exercise on your period, it’s deffo a good idea. But if you simply can’t face it and would rather stay in bed binge watching Riverdale until your PMS passes, that’s OK too. Remember nobody knows your body as well as you do.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

There are few things in life that will cheer you up more than dancing.

Sure, a huge pile of American-style pancakes, an unlimited shopping budget to blow on snazzy stationery or a flirty little smile from your crush might come close. Maybe. But we’d bet that dancing around like a loon is actually way better.

Why is that? Well, because science says so. Let’s look at the evidence:

1) You have an excuse to be really silly. The world is too serious. We need more silly. 2) You’re getting your body moving. So it’s essentially exercise plus fun. Two birds, one stone. 3) Music makes you happier. FACT. And 4) sure, you can have a pretty darn enjoyable solo dance party, but grabbing your mates and dancing with them until you all fall over makes it even better.

See? We’ve proved it. We should just all constantly be dancing.

There’s nothing to stop you putting on some music and having a dance party right now. But to get you in the mood, we recommend feasting your eyes on one of these rather epic, dance-related films. You can learn some moves, listen to some tunes and then you’ll have no excuse to not get up and dance right after.

1. Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect is about a girl who joins The Bellas, an all-female singing group (the best kind) that decide to take on their male rivals in a showdown.

Sure, it’s mainly about singing. But you know what usually happens when you start singing? Especially when you start singing an awesome mix of songs, from Like a Virgin to Price Tag? You start dancing too, that’s what.

pitchperfect

2. Footloose

A rebellious teen moves to a place where two of the best possible things ever are banned: dancing and music. OUCH. So you can probably guess what happens next. A dance revolution. A hip-swaying, sashaying army of teens descend on the town and get everyone moving. If this dance classic doesn’t start a party in the living room by the time it’s over, then nothing will.

footloose

3. Dirty Dancing

Here’s another classic all about dancing. In fact, as far as dancing films go, this is probably one of the most iconic. The most memorable. The most likely to send you into a frenzy of foot-tapping and arm-swinging and everything in-between. Although if you have a soft spot for romance, get the tissues at the ready, too.

dirtydancing

4. Step Up

Heart throb rebel Tyler vandalises a performing arts school. As punishment he has to become the caretaker of the school, which is where he meets Nora. They then become a hot, dancing sensation. Think: A modern take on Dirty Dancing. With lots of hip gyrating. Ooo-err.

step up

5. Save The Last Dance

Another love story filled with some great tunes and lots of dancing. A talented ballet dancer meets Derek, who teaches her some brand new hip-hop moves. But does she have what it takes?! Oh come on, of course she does!

save the last dance

6. Les Miserables

Whack on a good musical and you’re always guaranteed the rhythm will, at some point, get you. One of our favourites is Les Miserables. Sure it’ll tug at your heart strings as well as your vocal chords, but if you’re after a good sing AND a good cry, it can’t be beat.

les mis

7. Grease

Are you after some dancing? Some singing? Some cheesy American high school drama? Then you need to watch Grease and you need to watch it fast. Every single track is as sing-a-long-able as it is dance-a-long-able. And the best bit is you can use it as an excuse for a bit of fancy dress too. Just decide whether you’ll be sickly sweet Sandy or super saucy Sandy.

Grease Gif

8. Fame

Have you ever dreamed of being magically transported out of your current school and into a super exciting school dedicated to acting and singing and dancing and (the fun kind of) DRAMA? Well, you can live through the four main characters of Fame. This film documents their time at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts; fame-hungry, and paying in sweat.

fame

9. Flashdance

Meet Alex. She’s a steelworker by day (yes, the actual metal). But then she’s an exotic dancer by night. She has big dreams of dancing for a living, but doesn’t have the classical training a lot of others do. Of course, she doesn’t let that stop her. This is a movie about dancing, about courage and about one badass female lead. And if you can’t swing a 15 age certificate, just watch the film’s iconic dance audition scene on YouTube for now.

flashdance

10. Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia is the story of bride-to-be Sophie who is on a mission to find her real father. Which all sounds very sweet, but what makes it really awesome is it’s all told using classic songs from ABBA. You might be able to resist trying Meryl’s famous splits-leap, but you definitely won’t be able to stop yourself from singing along. Well, you could try. But you’d fail.

mammamia

In the words of ABBA: thank you for the music (and the moves).

@BeccaCaddy

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

We’ve all been there. The good intentions, the 12 minutes of exercise and then… the sweat.

Whether it’s the telltale drip-drip-drip down the small of your back that you know is about to go full touch-and-reveal on your new t-shirt, or whether it’s just getting up from some equipment in the gym and seeing your own butt imprint left in sweat, the wet stuff can really be a buzzkill.

Whether you’re trying to exercise, dancing like a maniac at the weekend or simply… enjoying a sunny day, sweat can feel like a sneaky shaming pal, dobbing you in just when you thought you were going to have a good time. Except it isn’t a false friend. It’s actually clever, useful and kind of amazing – it’s just that we have convinced ourselves it’s the stuff of evil.

Ok, so no one wants to be wandering around looking like they’ve just been hosed down by a fireman, and no one wants to stink all afternoon just because they took their bike to the shops, but to know sweat is – if not to love it – then at least to fear it a little bit less.

So what’s the (g)lowdown on sweat?

Basically, sweating is our body’s way of regulating temperature. We each have 2-5 million sweat glands dotted around our bodies, and they release the damp mixture of proteins, salt and water onto our skin. The process of this liquid evaporating is what cools us down – as you’ll know if you’ve ever got off a crowded bus and felt your top clinging to you like an ice sheath as you hit the cold outdoors.

Despite what we think, there aren’t more sweat glands in, um, ‘moist’ places like our armpits or our groin – it’s just that those areas are harder to get air circulating around to evaporate the liquid. And not all sweat glands are the same, either. Most are ‘eccrine’ sweat glands, which are kicked into action by excess heat, but some are ‘apocrine’ ones, which are stimulated by emotional responses like stress or excitement. Weirdly, that sweat actually smells a little different from the stuff prompted by eccrine glands.

But the weirdest fact is that sweat itself doesn’t actually smell at all. Ok maybe if you had 10 garlic cloves in your dinner you might smell a bit like a French bistro in the morning, but the smell we associate with sweat is actually the bacteria on our skin breaking down the acids in our sweat. Its medical term is bromhidrosis and it’s totally normal. But if you want to get rid of the sweaty pong, the simplest way is to get in the shower: if you’ve got the post-sport sweat off your skin within an hour or so of exercising, that bromhidrosis isn’t going to be wafting around after you all day. If you wait till bedtime to get clean, it just might.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

What else can we do to master this soggy mistress? Well, not that much, but perhaps that is because we need sweat.

And we really do. Why else do we feel so great after a good run, a dance-off in our bedroom or even a chance to sit in the sauna at the gym? Because sweating flushes out loads of the crud on our skin’s surface, cools us down so we don’t pass out at the gym or on the bus, as well as letting us know if something serious is up in terms of illness.

So while we needn’t commit to a lifetime of honking up every small room we enter, we shouldn’t be ashamed of the odd bit of sweat either. After all, look at how many advertising images have artfully sprayed ‘sexy’ sweat onto both men and women, how proud athletes look at their sweat as they finish an event – or even how nice it feels to know that our body, without even being asked, is doing exactly what it needs to.

Now if only we could do the same for our feelings, we’d be sorted.

@Hemmo

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Ladies, you can do anything you want. Want to be an astronaut? You got this. Want to be a DJ? Sure thing. Want to breed puppies so that you have a constant stream of puppies to cuddle? THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD.

Want to go for a swim when you’re on your period? Dive right on in.

Seriously?

Seriously. If you feel comfortable going for a dip when you’re on your period, there’s no reason why you can’t.

It’s actually an awesome idea, because exercise releases endorphins, which can help reduce the fatigue and cramps that sometimes come as an unwanted side order to your monthly visit from the uterus unicorn.

What if I TURN THE WHOLE POOL RED?

Ok, this is where tampons come in handy. Lots of people try them for the first time in order to go swimming, because they’re really the easiest way to prevent leaks. Just swap it for a new, dry one in once you’re out of the water. Bombs away!  

TLDR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • You can abso-freakin-loutely go swimming when you’re on your period. You might actually find that it helps reduce aches, pains and argghs.
  • Your best bet is to use a tampon while swimming, to keep leaks at bay.
  • If tampons are a no-go, try a menstrual cup – but pads aren’t your pal at the pool. Sorry!

But if you’re strictly a pad person, things can be a bit tricker. Pads are designed to absorb fluids, so wearing one in the water means it’ll become soggy pretty quickly, and won’t be able to do its job properly – or stay stuck to your bikini bottoms either.

So it’s tampons or nothing?

Keep your cossie on for the moment, because there are some other options.

If you don’t fancy tampons you could try a menstrual cup, which is inserted in the vagina and captures the blood rather than absorbing it. You just empty it out in the loo every few hours, and pop it back up.  

Or if your period is light and you’re happy to go with the flow, you could try wearing a dark coloured swimming costume to hide any small leaks or stains. Don’t believe people who tell you your period stops in water – that’s a big ol’ myth – but it’s true that many people find they can have a quick dip with no disasters.

BUT WHAT ABOUT SHARKS?

Nope, total lie. They can’t smell your period, we promise. (And especially not in a leisure centre in the Midlands).

So in conclusion: just because you’re riding the crimson wave, doesn’t mean you can’t play in the actual waves too. Pool party, anyone?

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

You know when you wait ages for a bus and then three come along all at once? Well, that’s how becoming a teen felt for me.

I had found primary school easy. I had lots of friends, exams were a breeze and I never really thought about how I looked. But then lots of things came along all at once.

My parents had never got on well, but suddenly they were fighting so much more. I had my first crush, but he didn’t like me back. I started my period, but had a lot of painful cramps. My friends were arguing and taking time off school to go to the park. And to top it all off, I was finding it really difficult that everyone else in my class — not to mention everyone else on the planet — seemed to have big boobs and mine felt tiny in comparison.

So much had happened in one go that I didn’t know how to deal with it. It’s easy to pick up one or two Maltesers when they’ve fallen out of the packet, isn’t it? But what about when the whole packet falls on the floor? Well, you either start picking them up… or you don’t pick them up at all.

That’s what I did. Instead of coping with one thing at a time, I felt really overwhelmed. It was like a big, sad cloud was following me around and raining on me all of the time. I tried to hide it and pretend my parents breaking up wasn’t a big deal really or I didn’t even want to have boobs and look like the girls in the magazines. But deep down I was overwhelmed. And the worst part was that I thought other people could tell. This meant I did less and less. I didn’t want to socialise with my friends or get dressed up because I thought I was just a quiet, sad girl to them.

I didn’t really know where these feelings were coming from, either. I thought everyone else was dealing with things a lot better than me — and that I should be happy. After all, I got good grades, I had friends, I had a mum who was just absolutely ace. All I really needed at the time was someone to tell me that it’s ok to feel sad and confused sometimes when you hit your teens. Worrying about your body when it’s going through puberty and changing so much is really natural. Getting sad about your parents arguing would probably even make Beyoncé want a good cry. And feeling unsettled when friends were falling out and crushes wouldn’t text back? Well, that was something everyone was going through too.

But it felt like just me.

One day I remember feeling so trapped and sad that I just ran outside to get away from everything. As simple as that. I ran and I kept running. And suddenly my heart was beating faster, I could feel the wind against my face, I was breathing normally, I was holding my head up high, I wasn’t caring about how my body looked. I felt free.

More importantly, I felt happy.

Happy that I could make a decision to get outside when it felt like life was too much, that I could make my body work for me, that I could feel a surge of happy exercise endorphins in my blood and that I could breathe free and easy rather than feeling panicky and nervous.

I’d always loved to exercise when I was growing up. But PE lessons had sucked all of the fun out of running and climbing and dancing around — all of the things I loved when I was young. Team sports felt so boring and fake to me. But discovering running for myself felt like I had opened up a brand new world.

From then on, anytime a sad or nervous or “I’m rubbish!” feeling came along, I’d decide not to let it take over. Instead, I put on my trainers and went outside. Taking some time out of each day to do something for me, how I wanted to do it, in the way I wanted to do it felt really good. It didn’t stop the sad feelings, it didn’t make my parents get back together or magically grow me a huge pair of boobs to make all of the other girls in my class jealous. But it made things feel easier, happier and somehow just a little bit lighter. Because I was proving to myself that I was stronger than my sad thoughts.

It doesn’t always work, though. Sometimes I don’t go running. Sometimes I still sit inside and forget how nice it feels. Sometimes lots of sad feelings still come along. But that’s a natural part of being me.

And years later, I still run and it’s still the best medicine for when I’m feeling sad and when things get too overwhelming. I’ve not trained for a marathon, I don’t spend a lot of my money on fancy running clothes or run a lot of races for charity. But I do feel like I have a secret weapon for whenever life gets a bit too much.

@BeccaCaddy

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Manjit Thapp

It’s 9.30am, Saturday morning, and I am standing bare-legged in a muddy field: hard, cold rain pelting my t-shirted shoulders, icy wind blowing a gale up my skirt.

In one hand, I carry a long stick with a net on the end, while the other is in the grim clasp of the opponent I’ve been instructed to shake hands with. “Hi! I’m Clare,” I introduce myself, brightly. “I’m pretty rubbish at this; in fact, the chances are strongly in your favour.” She looks at me warily, like this is some kind of distraction technique – but by the end of the game, I’ll have managed to convince her. Though I loved playing, turned up to practice religiously and enter into every game with gusto, I was – and still am, I suspect – genuinely bad at lacrosse.

I can’t run very fast – being by nature more of a long distance girl – and the art of running, holding a ball in my stick and cradling it (a strange motion in which you wiggle the stick from side to side) at the same time eluded me. I could almost catch the ball – but when it comes to ball games, almost-catching doesn’t get many goals.

Fortunately for the school, I was in the B team – which in some schools would be an esteemed position but at St Helen’s meant losing most games and winning, by total fluke, just a handful. On one memorable occasion we lost three games at a tournament just because we forgot which pitch we were on.

We were, in short, a shambles – but man, did we have fun with it. Pressure off (if we turned up, we’d exceeded the school’s expectations) we were free to enjoy the game for what it was: a means of meeting mates, getting some fresh air and exercising with a common goal loosely in mind. If the goal was reached, it was a bonus: if not, we’d still worked out, mucked in and had a laugh in the process.

Free of the pre-match nerves, we enjoyed both the coach journey there, with its banter and colourful energy bars; and the ride back, where our ‘post match analysis’ consisted of raucous re-enactments punctuated with laughter. We enjoyed ourselves: a feeling which those who are good at team sports can often miss out on because the pressure’s on and if they mess up, their team mates point the finger, shout angrily, or talk about them behind their back.

Taylor ball

These are the joys to be found in a team sport when you stop worrying about how well you’re playing, and start asking why you’re playing. Yes, you’re playing to win – but unless there are lives or great prizes at stake, aren’t you playing for something more?

Of course, it is not just ‘the taking part that counts’, as with all things you get out what you put in, and there’s honour as well as more exercise in trying hard. But stop (not on the pitch, obvs) and look at the game as a whole and you will reap rewards so much more more satisfying than cups, trophy shields and goals.

You’ll be stronger: not just physically (though being able to stand up to your brother’s pretty great) but mentally too. Exercise and fresh air works wonders for the brain as much as for the bod, releasing chemicals which make you feel good (endorphins) and improving memory and performance. Besides, it is character building, persisting in something you find challenging – even if (in fact, especially if) you are used to being top of the class in everything else.

Most people give up activities they aren’t very good at. But the funny thing is, it’s often in doing the stuff you’re not good at that you find other strengths. One B-team mate’s insistence on hitting the ball round the field rather than carrying it in the stick brought her to hockey; my flat inability to reach any speed higher than steady jog is what lead me to cross-country running; and of course, there is always the possibility that you might get better at the sport itself. Many of our B team ended up in the As.

I didn’t. Even now ball games elude me. But the memories of our floundering on the pitch, and the fits of giggles afterwards – they’re still strong. Honed by hilarious defeats, our team’s sense of humour equipped us with one of the most invaluable life skills: the ability to laugh at ourselves.

@finney_clare

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Getty

Cartwheels, leotards, THE SPLITS – gymnastics might sound like the most terrifying activity you could ever attempt on your period, but for those of us who love it and don’t want our bodies to hold us back (like, evereverever) you can totally still participate in gym. Yep, even if you’re bleeding.

How, you shriek? What if my pad looks massive and slides out of place, how the heck do I even attach it because I can’t use wings, or what if my tampon string hangs out in the middle of a backbend? The period terror is real.

Well don’t fret, back-flipping dreamers. One of team betty actually used to be a fancy pants gymnast and has a few helpful tips for you…

Double up

If you’re a bit of a pro, you’re probably used to whipping off all your underwear before you slip into your leotard – after all, knickers on show underneath your super glitzy competition outfit is not the one. But if you’re on your period, an extra layer between your vagina and your costume could be the difference between a flawless floor routine and one that’s accessorised with blood. Just try high-cut knickers if you’re worried about flashing and go for a pair that’s the same colour as your leotard.

Prep your pants

If you think you might-maybe-possibly-a-tiny-bit be about to come on your period, prep those knickers! Use those high-cut undies to the max and make sure you stick in a panty liner – even if the chances of you coming on are literally 1%. You can’t be too careful, especially if your feet are going behind your head at any point.

Try tampons

Never tried using tampons before? Well, this might be the perfect time to give them a go. Ask your mum to pick some up from the supermarket or pop to the shops after school then block out some bathroom time to perfect your technique. Chances are you probably won’t nail it the first time, the second, probably even the third time, but if you stay super relaxed you might be able to slide it in just fine. All you need to think about come competition time is tucking in your string and smiling!

You do you

No matter how much you want to compete or take part in your fave weekend club, if you’re not feeling up to it just stay at home! There’s absolutely no shame in looking after yourself and giving your body what it needs to get through your time of the month, whether you’re suffering from cramps, headaches or you’re just tired out. Period.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

“You don’t want to get too big, though, and start to look masculine”, was one of the completely unwelcome responses I received around three years ago when I was discussing having recently started lifting weights.

It’s odd how people take ownership of your body, isn’t it? How strangers hold very defined expectations and assume you’ll stick to them so that you remain acceptable in their eyes.

As women and girls, we are the recipients of a barrage of expectations and I often felt heavy with it. I was tired of feeling ‘less than’ or ‘not good enough’ and something needed to change. So I joined a gym and I got a personal trainer and I started lifting weights.

Girl power

For the first time in my life, I began to feel powerful. I started light and before long, weights that seemed impossible to lift in those first few weeks began to feel easy. My posture improved and I stood up tall for the first time in my life. I even started to stride into the men-centric weights room without a second thought.

With every extra kilogram I could lift, I gained an extra level of appreciation for what my body could do. It wasn’t just there for hanging clothes on or looking nice, it could shift big hunks of metal off the floor. That in turn meant I could lug my suitcase onto luggage racks without any help, carry the heaviest bags of shopping and, essentially, handle my own business. No assistance needed, thanks, me and my muscles have got this covered.

So if gaining strength did all that and more for me, why do people still insist it’s so terribly unladylike? Unfortunately it’s all to do with gender stereotypes. The ones society is supposedly leaving in its wake.

While I’d love to tell you that everyone thinks that girls and women can be whatever they want to be, some people don’t. Those people think all women should be dainty and delicate. They believe in outdated forms of masculinity and femininity and, in their eyes, strength and muscles are inherently masculine. Pfft.

I have a few things to say to those people and I’m not alone. For every misinformed, shouty, sexist internet person shouting about how muscles are for men, you’ll find a totally cool woman who knows that strength, health and fitness are for everyone, actually.

Girl gains

Enter: GirlGains. GirlGains started life as a hashtag, launched by three inspiring women; Zanna Van Dijk, Tally Rye and Victoria Spence. But it soon blossomed into something bigger as girls identified with the message of strength, capability and confidence that came with it. The GirlGains hashtag quickly passed the 50,000 post mark and transformed into a community backed up by monthly events.

The success of the movement is testament to just how many women and girls are feeling the benefit of strength training, not just physically but mentally and socially too. I asked the GirlGains founders about why it’s just so great:

“One of our favourite forms of exercise is lifting weights. Not only does it have a multitude of health benefits, including increasing bone density (especially important for us ladies), but it makes us feel empowered. There is nothing better than lifting a challenging weight and pushing your body to become stronger than ever before!”

It’s not about getting that perfect body or punishing yourself with hours on the treadmill, it’s about challenging yourself, testing your limits and finding a new found sense of positivity and determination.

If I’m ever feeling down, I know I can go to the gym and remind myself exactly how strong I am. I might turn up feeling stressed, useless or a bit lost but I’ll leave feeling accomplished and powerful.

And as for those ‘manly’ muscles? Well, I’m no Arnold Schwarzenegger but I do have a sly flex in the mirror every so often and I love that my biceps look defined and that my shoulders look strong. There’s no shame in building muscle; your body is yours to make exactly what you want of it.

Feeling inspired to start lifting weights? Follow these tips…

Start light

As tempting as it is, don’t try and lift the equivalent of your own body weight over your head on the first try! It can be frustrating when the person next to you is throwing 100kg around like it’s nothing but take your time and build up sensibly.

Get advice

It’s all too easy to injure yourself if you don’t practice proper form, so make sure you get some advice before you start. Luckily, this doesn’t have to mean shelling out for a personal trainer. Take advantage of free taster sessions, get a few pointers from a professional who works at your gym, ask a PE teacher or check out some YouTube videos and practice with no weight first.

Use a mirror

Seriously. Mirrors aren’t just for bros to check out their biceps in or for post-workout selfies, they’re there so you can make sure you’re using the correct technique. Find a spot in front of a mirror and watch out for anything you need to improve.

Don’t overdo it

Muscles need rest as much as they need training. Don’t go overboard and start lifting weights seven days a week. Make sure your schedule includes enough rest days, too.

Ready to go? Here’s to girls with muscles!

@SophieBenson

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Bring It On

Being sporty is hard, man. Unless you’re one of those girls whose ponytail does the perfect swish while running a 5k without breaking a single bead of sweat. Stomach cramps, sweaty fringes, big boobs and chafing thighs do not work in our favour. But even the world’s biggest female champions face the same hardships.

If you ever feel blue about having to go to PE while you’re on your period, or you constantly battle with a bloated tum while working out – take a look at these awesome sporty girls and prepare to be inspired.

1. Fu Yuanhui’s period-power statement

Fu Yuanhui might just be the coolest girl in sports RN. The 21-year-old Chinese swimmer was interviewed on live television after coming fourth in the 4x100m relay at Rio 2016.

Fu told the interviewer: ‘I don’t think I performed very well today. I feel I let my teammates down…It’s because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired – but this isn’t an excuse, I still didn’t swim well enough.’

She instantly became the star of Rio, breaking the taboo of openly talking about menstrual cycles to an international audience. Because – shocker! – top athletes have periods too.

And why on earth shouldn’t Fu vocalise her experience? One can only imagine the tears of pain and frustration a boy would cry if he had to race with menstrual cramps.

Oh, and Fu went on to win a bronze medal in Rio *high five*

2. Paula Radcliffe’s roadside poo

Ever found yourself half way through a cross-country run at school and felt a sudden urge to use the loo? We’ve all been there – the panic, discomfort and embarrassment are all too real. But the chances are that you probably make it to the ground-floor bathroom just in time to do your business.

But not three-time London Marathon champion Paula Radcliffe MBE. The English long-distance running hero is testament to the saying ‘when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go’.

With just five miles left to run in the London Marathon, Paula had stomach cramps and knew there was only one way to relieve them. She crouched down at the side of the road and did what she had to do. Paula ran on to win the marathon then endure some very awkward interviews.

We salute her for feeling the fear and doing it anyway, all in the name of ensuring a triple-champion title.

3. Serena Williams’s bare-naked bump

Must read article. Link in bio

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Serena Williams has been ranked ‘world’s number one tennis player’ eight times by the Women’s Tennis Association. EIGHT TIMES – and there’s me struggling to finish a lap limping around my local park on a Saturday morning.

She’s also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and heads up the Serena Williams Fund, which creates equality through education and assists victims of violence.

So Serena Williams is basically Wonder Woman but with a racket instead of a lasso and shield, OK?

And here she is heavily pregnant, butt-naked on the front cover of Vanity Fair earlier this year, absolutely slaying it. This shot screams ‘LOOK HOW AWESOME ME AND MY BUMP ARE’. The whole shoot is beautiful and celebrates her fearlessness as a sports star, tenderness as a mum-to-be and pride in being a woman.

4. Sarah Attar runs for Saudi Arabia

Sarah Attar was one of the first two women to represent Saudi Arabia in the 2012 Olympics. Up until then, the Saudi Arabia Olympics Committee did not let women take part and represent their state in the world’s most famous sports competition.

Sarah was only 16 at the time and wasn’t asked to take part until the International Olympics Committee insisted on female participation at short notice.

Despite coming last in her heat (it’s not like she had a proper chance to train!), she went on to run the marathon in the Rio 2016 Olympics. Sarah made a huge step for female sports in Saudi Arabia and her story makes us feel a teeny bit guilty about using a tummy ache as an excuse not to go for a jog.

She also has a really arty travelling Instagram, which is worth checking out.

5. Jessica Ennis-Hill’s post-pregnancy comeback

Jessica Ennis-Hill is the British three-time world champion heptathlon hero who took gold in the London Olympics 2012 and became a national treasure.

Just to clarify what a heptathlon involves, it is a series of seven events that take place over two or three days. These events include high jump, javelin and various short running distances. Basically, you have to be a pretty well-rounded, incredible athlete to do it.

After London, Jess took some time out for the birth of her baby, Reggie. She returned to the Rio Olympics 2016 with a lot of expectations to defend her gold status, but walked away with silver.

Pregnancy does a lot of crazy but wonderful things to a woman’s body, and anyone who even attempts a heptathlon just over a year after giving birth and juggling motherhood with training, is a gold winner in our eyes. The whole nation probably agrees with that.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Getty/Katie Edmunds

 

Sure, some people LOVE exercising at school. Whether it’s team games, athletics, gymnastics, absolutely bossing the bleep test – a little sporting activity during the school day can be a lot of fun.

But, whether it’s because you don’t get on with other people in your class (but now have to shower with them, hello), you’re made to do really long cross country runs in the dead of winter like something out of an Enid Blyton book, or you get all hot and sweaty before maths class when you have that crush sat right behind you… sometimes PE can suck.

Really suck.

The thing is, moving about is (breaking news!) really good for you. Working out gets your heart pumping, can improve your skin and does wonders for your mood. This means it’s important for your health – inside and out – to exercise, but not that it has to be boring or happen in school hours to make a difference.

Here are seven ways to work out that are about eleventy times more fun than anything that happens in PE lessons.

(NB: must also pay attention in maths)

Rihanna work work gif

1. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk

We know, it sounds obvious. It sounds boring. It sounds like something you do every day anyway, doesn’t it? But adding just a few more steps here and there can actually make you feel a lot better – and there’s nothing nicer than getting fresh air after double physics. Luckily what last year we called ‘walking’, this year we call ‘playing Pokemon Go’. Have you caught them all yet?

Liz Lemon dancing gif

2. Dancing queeeeen

Whether you’re at a party with a big group of friends or just rocking out in front of your mirror, dancing is scientifically-proven to be the most fun form of exercise, ever. (Well, if science is based on us asking all of our friends and them agreeing with us.) The best thing about dancing is: the more you do it and the more of your body you move, the better it is for you.

3. Walk, sprint, jog (then do it all over again)

Walking can be boring. Sprinting can be tiring. What’s the answer? Do a bit of everything! Mixing some walking with a bit of sprinting, then switching back to walking again, then finishing off with jogging gets your body really moving. It adds variety to your workout and it’s a tried-and-tested way to keep very fit. You can make it even more fun by taking a friend with you – or get good pet karma and take your dog.

Foxes on trampoline

4. Trampolining, bouncy castle-ing and general jumping

Trampolining is so much fun, because it makes you feel like a little kid again. Bounce around, do some tricks and make sure you do lots of laughing when anyone falls over – it’s kinda the rules. NB: this tip also works just as well on a bouncy castle.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse ice skating

5. It’s time to get your skates on

Roller skating is a great way to have fun with your friends, move about a lot and keep your body working – it actually takes a lot of muscle strength to keep your body balanced. Feeling frosty? Try ice skating instead.

Swimming baby underwater

6. Splash around

If you love to swim and doing length after length doesn’t bore you, go for it you athlete! But for most of us, it’s much more fun to dunk each other’s heads in the water and see if we can totally nail a handstand on the bottom of the pool. If you’re feeling ambitious, get your mates together and dream up your very own synchronised swimming routine. With a little bit of practice you’ll have everyone around you super impressed by your seamless moves – or it’ll just be a great thing to have a giggle about on the way home.

Dog on a bike

7. Get on your bike

That’s right, it’s time to dig your old bike out from your shed and take it for a spin. As long as you have a helmet you can explore your local area on two wheels rather than just two feet. It might be easier than walking (and it’s definitely easier than running), but it gives your legs a good workout.

Or if you’re feeling really adventurous, try a unicycle. You’ll find growing numbers of acrobatic skills classes in most areas – so if the thought of double hockey in the rain really gets too much, you can always run off and join the circus.

@BeccaCaddy

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Hailey Hamilton

1. I wonder if these will be the trousers that change my life forever.

2. Why is it always so hot in here? Is it just the body heat generated by changing in and out of clothes, or have I accidentally signed up for, like… Bikram shopping?

3. These are probably not the trousers that will change my life forever.

4. I’ll stand on tiptoes though, just to be sure.

5. Nope.

6. Saved myself £24.99! I am a financial wizard. I’ll probably have a three-bedroom house by the time I’m 20.

7. Could I class changing in and out of clothes I definitely don’t want as ‘exercise’? It feels like cardio.

8. This mirror is probably wrong. I will open the curtain and look at the mirror in the cubicle opposite, just to be sure.

9. Mirrors should be banned.

10. Why can’t I get this thing off? Has it shrunk in the tropical humidity? Why don’t they realise that we’re never going to buy things if we feel like a puddle in a jumpsui– hang on, am I… stuck?

11. It’s fine, I’m not stuck. Deep breaths.

12. Was that a seam ripping? Ok, shallow breaths.

13. I’m stuck.

14. They will have to call firemen to cut me out. It’ll be in the newspaper. ‘LOCAL GIRL STUCK IN JUMPSUIT, LAUGHED AT BY ASSEMBLED CROWDS’.

15. Ok, if I just slightly dislocate my shoulder and do a kind of wiggly dance…

16. Free! I am free! Sweet freedom! I will never take my limbs for granted again.

17. Do I want to buy it though? Did it look sassy before I got stuck? I think it did. Maybe I should put it back on again.

18. This is fantastic lighting for squeezing spots. I should save them all up especially.

19. I wonder if anyone has ever died in here?

20. Tell you what’s still alive and well though – my KILLER sense of personal style.

21. If I just stayed very still and quiet, could I get locked into the shop and spend all night trying on the clothes?

22. But why would I want to do that, when this is such sweaty hell?

23. Films. It is because films make trying on clothes look like fun.

24. BUT WAIT, this isn’t a skirt at all! It’s a top!

25. It’s a nice top too. Imagine how good it would look if I wasn’t wearing it with emoji socks, pants and a hoodie tied round my waist instead of a skirt.

26. I think this might be the top that changes my life forever.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Sisters

Can you remember what your first bike looked like?

Mine was sky blue, a hand-me-down from Melanie, our glamorous neighbour who was leaving Reading for a sunshine-glazed life in America. I kicked those stabilisers off pretty early.

There’s video evidence of that first, giddy two-wheeled ride during a holiday in France, and my father still talks about this achievement more fondly than anything I’ve done since. These days I navigate around buses, motorcycles and dreaded white vans on London’s potholed roads.

The good rides are those through Mayfair or Kensington on a warm summer’s night, under the glowing boughs of Chelsea Bridge, feeling like the leading lady in a rom-com. The bad ones are soggy, knuckle-numbingly cold, around ugly urban roundabouts. But I still feel better when I get there than if I had taken the train.

It wasn’t always this way, though. I’d estimate between the age of 11 and 19, when I got a bike to puff myself around my university city, I rode approximately two miles a year. When I was a teenager I had a fancy bike, and I lived in the countryside, the kind of place which inspires middle-aged men to don lycra and go out on a bike on a weekend, but somehow cycling wasn’t cool or appealing or just done, really. It took effort, there was nowhere to go, and I was, in essence, quite lazy.

Which is a giant shame because cycling is brilliant. It will give you independence and a means of transport. It will allow you the time and space to think and feel and not stare at a screen. You will reach the top of hills, gleefully short of breath, feeling the pure euphoria that comes from making your body do something to get you somewhere.

And, when you grow up and maybe move somewhere different, you will have the confidence to take your bike there – and let me tell you, it is the very best way to discover a new place.

So don’t wait! Here are the five best ways to get involved with cycling now. You’ll be Laura Trott before you know it.

Learn how to ride safely

Do you still cycle on the pavement? Then you need to learn how to get off it. When I encounter idiot boys on bikes on the pavement I tend to shout at them, something along the lines of, “real men cycle on the roads”. You are way cooler than those boys.

Roads can be daunting but they are far less scary when you know how to tackle them. The Highway Code is actually very kind to cyclists – it says we can cycle as slowly as we like down the middle of a road, if we fancy, and cars just have to stick it.

But you don’t need to sit reading books of rules, either. The government offers free cycling safety courses, and there’s a good chance your school can help you find one. Check out the Bikeability website, where you can find a course near you. You’ll be grateful for it when you’re whizzing past those losers on the pavement like a total badass.

Choose an awesome bike

Chances are that you might not be cycling much because you’re between bikes. Maybe you’ve grown out of the one you had when you were younger, or perhaps you want to upgrade to a zippier version.

Start off by heading to your local bike shop; have a chat to them there and get them to measure you for the right size of bike. You can DIY this with a measuring tape, but it’s probably better to get a professional to help. Take a parent or a friend if you’re feeling a bit shy.

Once you know what size bike you need, don’t feel you need to stick to the ones available in the shop. Perhaps you fancy a vintage model, or a second-hand fancier kind of bike if you plan to do lots of long journeys. This fixie bike is £179.99 from Halfords. Set some searches on sites such as eBay and Gumtree, with terms such as “small ladies vintage bike” or “Raleigh working bike frame”, depending on what you want.

Keep an eye on local adverts in newspapers and newsagents, too. I discovered the first bike I fell in love with in the back of a local paper, and it only cost me £35.

Pick some amazing kit

If you just want to do some casual bike rides, you don’t have to join the dad lycra brigade just yet – just some normal leggings, sweat pants or jeans and a light waterproof jacket will do you fine. But you will need a helmet, no arguments.

Don’t get me wrong – helmets are neither cool nor sexy, but you know what’s considerably less cool and sexy? Head injuries. As someone who has ended up in A&E three times from bike accidents, I can tell you that helmet hair is worth every single ounce of well, not being dead.

There are also some really lovely helmets out there, too. Bern pretty much have the monopoly on making chic and safe helmets, but Bobbin makes amazing shiny gold ones and Lazer Armour have a huge range that won’t make you look like a fool. Yes, they cost quite a lot of money, but consider it the cost of your safety. Make sure you fit it properly, and, if you do get a fancy one, take it with you once you lock your bike up.

Don’t forget about lights and locks

More bike admin, but these are the essentials. Locks make sure nobody runs off with your lovely new bike. Different cyclists prefer different combinations of security – some like a cable and a heavy metal D-lock, others just go one or the other. I recommend the dainty but tough Kryptonite Evolution Mini, which can be attached to your bike frame and is relatively lightweight. I’ve trussed up my bike in the most chaotic of ways with that thing and nobody’s pinched it yet.

Lights are a must if you’re cycling at night. You can get them in a huge range, but I’ve always preferred Cateye. A basic front-and-back set will cost you around £20 and they’re reliable. Make sure you keep a couple of spare batteries in your purse.

Go out and have fun!

The trick to really getting on your bike is knowing where to go. Search online for suggested cycle paths nearby and plan an amazing day out with your mates. Take a picnic – it’s always more fun when you know there are snacks in store.

Cycling regularly will help you fall in love with being on a bike, I promise. You’ll quickly realise how speedy you can be on two wheels, so if you wind up learning how to cycle to school in the morning you can guarantee at least an extra 30 minutes in bed. You’ll also find your fitness improves – and your mind, too. It’s incredible the difference even a 10-minute bike ride can make to your levels of happiness.

So what are you waiting for? Get on your bike.

@alice_emily

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.