training tips for every stage of your menstrual cycle

training tips for every stage of your menstrual cycle

For women, the ebb and flow of hormones, specifically oestrogen and progesterone, drive the ups and downs of your menstrual cycle. These hormones play a pivotal role in shaping how you feel on different days of your cycle. This knowledge isn't just about your workouts; it's a window into your overall health. Your menstrual cycle is like your body's messenger, letting you know if something needs attention.

Tracking Your Cycle

Every woman's cycle is as unique as a fingerprint. What your sister or best friend experiences may differ from your own journey. To dive into this self-discovery, tracking your cycle is key. Fortunately, there are fantastic apps like Clue, Flo, and Eve that can help. They not only help you record your cycle but also any symptoms you might experience, like cramps, tiredness, or sleep disturbances. Knowledge is power when it comes to your menstrual cycle. The more you understand it, the better you can manage any unwanted PMS symptoms.

Exercise, Nutrition, and Your Cycle

There are times in your menstrual cycle when you feel like a superhero, and other times when you might want to stay in bed. It's not random; it's your hormones at play. From mood swings to cravings to gym performance, oestrogen and progesterone have the starring roles.

Understanding Cycle Length Variations

While a textbook cycle is 28 days, it's essential to note that cycles vary. Recent research shows that a healthy cycle can span anywhere from 21 to 35-40 days. But, for the sake of simplicity, we'll stick to the typical 28-day cycle in this discussion.

Hormonal Contraception

If you're using hormonal contraception like the pill or the bar, your natural hormonal fluctuations are essentially on pause. The flatline of hormones means you won't experience the hormonal shifts we'll discuss below.

Your monthly cycle is like a secret code your body uses to communicate its needs and abilities. It's all about two key hormones: oestrogen and progesterone, which fluctuate throughout the month. Understanding this cycle can empower you to make the most of your health and well-being.

Phase 1: Menstruation (Day 1-5)

Your cycle begins with your period. Oestrogen and progesterone are at their lowest, possibly making you feel a bit down. Hormones trigger the shedding of the uterine lining, causing cramps and bloating for some. Listen to your body during this phase, rest, and focus on nutrient-rich foods to support your immune system.

Phase 2: Follicular (Day 6-13)

Oestrogen rises during this phase, boosting your mood and energy. It's an excellent time for strength training and high-intensity workouts. Carbohydrates are your body's preferred fuel source, so enjoy those complex carbs like brown rice and whole grains.

Phase 3: Ovulation (Day 14-18)

Ovulation is crucial, even if you're not trying to conceive. It triggers the production of progesterone, which has numerous health benefits. You might feel energetic and confident. All types of exercise work well here, but if energy drops, opt for lower-impact activities. Protein is essential to stabilise blood sugar levels.

Phase 4: Luteal (Day 19-28)

Oestrogen and progesterone remain high. Mood changes can occur, and energy levels may dip. All exercises are suitable, but consider lower-impact options if needed. Focus on good fats as your primary fuel source and ensure adequate protein intake.

Understanding your monthly cycle is like having a personalised health guide. It helps you tailor your workouts and nutrition to your body's unique needs, improving overall well-being.

It’s incredibly empowering to understand what’s happening in your body over the course of your cycle and why you feel completely different from one end of the month to the other. You will reap the benefits of learning how to work with your hormones to support your female biology. The impact of which will be visible in so many aspects of your life, from; your training and performance, to your energy levels on a daily basis, to the way you are able to manage stress.

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