Gabrielle Union has made it more than clear she's a beast at the gym. But the Bring It On alum just shared a behind-the-scenes peek at a recent workout that shows just how hard she goes in her workouts. Plus, she kept it real for her followers, opening up about going through perimenopause and how it has affected her body.
"Drop the fitness routine? Say less 💪🏾," she wrote in the caption of a video documenting some full-body exercises she does in a variety of colorful workout sets. The video includes clips of exercises she did leading up to Milan fashion week, Union added. (Related: Gabrielle Union Broke a Sweat and Stayed Dry In These Customer-Loved Workout Shorts)
Best of all, the entire clip is set to tune of Beyoncé's new single, "BREAK MY SOUL." If you haven't set a workout to the upbeat song yet, consider this your reminder to do so. "Meanwhile @beyonce got me in a chokehold 💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾," Union added in her caption.
Along with playlist inspiration, the video is filled with exercises you'll want to copy. There's Union running on a treadmill at a steady pace, doing push-ups with impeccable form while someone holds a resistance band around her waist, and performing seated reverse chest fly reps with criss-cross resistance chords attached to a machine.
She follows up those moves with a lower-body exercise using a mini loop-style resistance band around her thighs as she externally and internally rotates her hips without moving her feet. Then, she does crunches with her upper body on an exercise ball, Bulgarian split squats with her elevated foot resting on a ladder and one hand on a vertical bar for balance, and trap bar deadlifts. After that, it's on to lunges with the vertical bar for balance, core work with an ab wheel, and more running.
People cheered Union on in the comments, including her husband, Dywane Wade, who wrote "get it, Mama." Others praised Union for talking about perimenopause, a term used to describe the years leading up to menopause, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). ICYDK, during a female's 30s and 40s, the amount of estrogen produced by the ovaries starts to fluctuate, explains the ACOG. That can lead to symptoms, such as a change in the length of your menstrual cycle, skipping periods, and heavier or lighter flows. People may also experience hot flashes, sleep issues, and vaginal and urinary tract issues during perimenopause, notes the ACOG.
"My weight fluctuates due to my perimenopause and my hormones etc., so it was suggested I give up gluten, dairy, alcohol, and caffeine to help regulate my hormones and lessen the memory fog, moodiness, insomnia, hair loss, bloating, and all the other fun 😵💫side effects," wrote Union in the caption of her recent post. But the 49-year-old said she only tried some of that. "I stuck to the no gluten and dairy cuz I'm, ya know, human," she wrote, adding, "I reserve the right to fluctuate 🖤❤️."
Hormonal changes linked to menopause may make someone more likely to gain weight around the abdomen than around the hips and thighs, but this change doesn't necessarily cause weight gain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Rather, aging, lifestyle, and genetic factors are typically the cause, reports the organization. Still, exercising regularly, keeping tabs on what you eat, limiting alcohol consumption, and watching your added sugar intake can help keep your weight at a healthy level during menopause, notes the Mayo Clinic. (See: Naomi Watts Shared Some Unfiltered Thoughts On Menopause and Aging)
Avoiding dairy, gluten, and caffeine can indirectly help with symptoms of perimenopause, according to Jessica Shepherd, M.D., a Texas-based ob-gyn and founder of Sanctum Wellness. "Your gut health can change during perimenopause," she says. Basically, hormonal changes brought on by perimenopause may impact your body's ability to process certain foods, explains Dr. Shepherd, and eliminating dairy, gluten, alcohol, and caffeine may help you avoid uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating and gas.
Some studies suggest specific foods may trigger perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms, says women's health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D. "For example, caffeine and alcohol may trigger hot flashes," she says. However, experts aren't quick to confirm that diet can ward off perimenopausal symptoms. "Brain fog, hot flashes, fatigue — the perimenopausal symptoms are real," says Christine Greves, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. "Whether your diet can affect it or not, it's hard to say," she says, adding, "but you are what you eat."
If you're going through perimenopause and it's impacting your life, Dr. Greves recommends talking to your doctor. They may have personalized recommendations around your diet and exercise routine to try. However, if Union's latest Instagram post is any indication, perimenopause is just one of many reasons not to get too frustrated with your body's perfectly natural fluctuations.