What to do in Bali - 24/07/2019

Why exercise is essential to manage your PCOS symptoms and boost that happy hormone!

By Georgie Ricks - Canggu Nest Member

Why exercise is essential to manage your PCOS symptoms and boost that happy hormone!


We all know women can be slightly erratic with their emotional response to things in general and even when it comes to health in every day life,  whether it is crying over your sourdough when you ordered rye, or when you finish your downward dog with a vodka shot in replace of wheatgrass. These my friends, are called hormones. We all have them, we all need them and we can’t live without them. However, some women have not been so lucky in life and have a condition which throws them completely off balance, causing a lot of nasty symptoms. I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 15 after my periods randomly stopped for a few years and I piled on the pounds. Over the years, through a nutrition degree, specific courses and self-education, I have lost over 25 kilograms and learnt a load of life hacks and tips to help control the symptoms and live a pretty normal life.

I’m not going to tell you I’ve completely healed and cured my PCOS as that is unrealistic, I love my fitness and exercise but I also love a glass of wine! Life is about balance and happiness, so it’s now my mission to help other women suffering to make sure they live their life to the absolute fullest. Exercise is my number one go to, and since being in Bali I’ve found this little nest that has ticked all the boxes for me. Welcoming staff, challenging classes and an all round good vibe. 

When you walk into Canggu Nest, you instantly feel a sense of community. There are like-minded people, full of energy wanting to get a sweat on. The studio is very clean and professional, with a friendly receptionist happy to help and get you signed up. With squat racks, assault bikes and rowing machines you can tell the nest is serious on its fitness! 

The classes are by no means for the faint hearted, however the trainers are motivating yet kind, welcoming newbies to gym fanatics and making sure there are plenty of variations for those who can’t smash a box jump just yet. The last thing you want is being singled out or picked on when sweat is literally dripping off your forehead, and for that reason the nest has nailed it. Clear instructions, words of encouragement and some laughter thrown into the mix making the sessions fun yet still challenging. You walk away feeling funky fresh, with a big grin on your face and ready to tackle the day. I can honestly say I was extremely impressed, hence why I’m now a member and considering moving to Bali for good! 

If you aren’t sure what PCOS is exactly, here is a bit of a brief. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (known as PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders found in females, affecting approximately 1 in every 10 women worldwide, with the scary fact that less than 50% are not diagnosed. Unfortunately, the disease is random and not hereditary whatsoever and can be present in the ovaries anywhere from puberty to menopause. 

Women with PCOS battle with an array of unfair symptoms including infertility, acne, hair loss or excess hair, weight gain, depression and anxiety. These then have an affect on larger health implications such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 

Another cruel fact is that PCOS cannot be cured. However, ladies you are not alone! It is manageable and controlled through simple lifestyle factors which I have learnt from experience and education over the years. A commitment to self heal and adjust parts of your lifestyle can really make such a difference and minimise the symptoms that are inevitably putting huge unhappiness and strain on your wellbeing. 

As PCOS is an unbalance of hormones in the body, it is essential we use the right foods to fuel our bodies, perform exercise routines that compliment the healing process and remove nasty toxins which interfere with this. Just as important, if not the most important factor is to take care of our emotional and mental health, one that many individuals tend to forget. 


1 – Boosts Insulin Sensitivity

Many of us women with PCOS are told we have insulin resistance – this means that our bodies do not respond to insulin as quickly or efficiently as other humans, which leads to raised glucose levels in the blood. This not only can make us pile on the pounds, but it affects how our body deals with sugar and increases the risk of developing diabetes. Regular strength training has been proven to help your body respond better to insulin, helping you control your sugar levels. I would say the nest run predominantly strength classes, so it really is the perfect place to start. 

2 – Lowers Cholesterol

Women with PCOS are more likely to have higher triglycerides and cholesterol than others, this also can add to other complications such as metabolic syndrome. Exercise will help reduce your cholesterol levels alongside a healthy, low BAD fat diet (GOOD fats are good for us, so make sure you’ve got a great relationship with avocados and nuts!)

3 – Increase Endorphins – the happy hormone 🙂 

This hormone is by far the best one in our bodies, and one we must produce (in large amounts!) each day to keep us smiling and happy throughout the day. Women with PCOS are more likely to develop symptoms of depression. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins which literally promote feelings of wellness. I’m sure you can all relate to this one, when the LAST thing you want to do is workout, you drag yourself to the gym, make every excuse under the sun but push yourself through it and come out feeling like a new woman? Yup, thats your endorphins saying hello! I always try to start my day with some fasted cardio – great fat burner, great to clear your head and start in a happy state. Classes start from 7am so there’s plenty of time to squeeze one in before work. If you’re on holiday and want a lie in, they have later ones at 9.30 too!

4 – Say goodbye to sleepless nights!

As our hormones are all over the place, women with PCOS are more likely to have problems with sleep apnea, insomnia and weirdly enough – snoring! Just adding a little bit of exercise (but not right before bed) will for certain improve the quality of your sleep. It might take your body a few weeks to adjust until you see the difference, but stick to it and I promise you’ll be getting those 8 hours undisturbed in no time.

5 – Lowers your risk of CVD and diabetes

Heart disease is the number one killer for women with PCOS. For this reason, we must keep our heart healthy, without it we’d be in a lot of trouble! Regular cardio and raising your heart rate will infact strengthen the heart muscle, help pump the blood around the body more efficiently, get the oxygen to our muscles faster and generally perform at a much higher standard. Conclusion – a strong heart will significantly reduce the risk of future health complications.

6 – Weight loss and regulating our hormones 

When we are in a calorie deficit, our body takes energy from our fat stores. This in turn, helps us shed that belly fat – hooray! This not only reduces our insulin, but having excess fat has an affect on our hormones, especially oestrogen production. 

HOWEVER – Ladies, if you are still struggling to shift it please do not stress yourself out. Firstly, stress increases our levels of cortisol which is NOT what we want, this causes our body to cling to fat. Annoying? Yup, I know. Our bodies are complex arenas, and we really have to listen to them and give them the love and attention they deserve. Canggu Nest offers a tough but fantastic experience, with a chilled hang out spot and friendly faces to make you feel right at home. You won’t find cortisol creeping in here my friends! 

I know it can be difficult to stay motivated when you don’t see results, but life is short and there are much bigger worries in the world so try and focus on the other benefits listed above and listen to your body. Don’t burn yourself out, do exercise you find fun and enjoyable, move for at least 30 minutes a day and chill out! The nest also runs ‘happy hours’ everyday so if you’re a bit of a lone ranger and prefer working out on your tod, you can still go and use their space and equipment every day of the week! With a flexible diary and plenty of experience, if anyone wants a gym bud over the next few weeks ping me a message and lets book in a slot. 

I am always interested to talk to ladies who are suffering from PCOS, I’ve battled with it for over 10 years and would love to share my knowledge of how I lost the weight, got my head back in the game and kept motivated over the time. Of course I had some major wobbles, still do! But that’s life and no one is perfect. Be a Positive Polly, not a Negative Nancy and life will be fab.