Hey Ladies - This One is For You!
Hormones affect more than just mood swings during that “time of the month”. They also affect muscles, joints and training. Studies show that you can gain more muscle and strength certain times during your menstrual cycle. So let's use it to our benefit :)
There are 4 phases to your cycle. To make things easier to understand let's start after your period ends:
Follicular Phase - (Post Period) Lasts 7-10 days, progesterone is normal, increasing estrogen, testosterone is high, and higher pain tolerance. Do your heavy lifting and leg days during this window. Your metabolism also gets an extra boost. You can also add more carbs to your diet.
Ovulation Phase - Lasts 3-5 days, think PRIME TIME! Estrogen and energy level peak. Strength will be at its strongest. (Time to set your PR). Do your intense workouts here. High energy classes, HIIT workouts and other training that require a lot of exertion. FYI - Since estrogen is high you are susceptible to injury so WARM UP and check your form.
Luteal Phase - Lasts 10-14 days, estrogen declining, and progesterone high. Energy levels start to go back down, bloating, cravings, and PMS. Try shorter workouts, reduce the overall load, light weight training. Body uses more fat for energy this time in your cycle so you can add a little more fat to your diet and cut back on carbs.
Menstrual Phase - Last 3-7 days, low progesterone and estrogen so that means low energy. Use this time to add in rest days, low impact workouts, body weight exercises, and yoga.
Plan your training schedule accordingly and get the most out of your month!