The Menstrual Cycle and Women’s Fitness

The Menstrual Cycle and Women’s Fitness

Boys look away now, we’re talking periods! Dive in and find out how to optimize your training around your cycle.

Training Considerations for Females vs Males
Physiological and hormonal differences between males & females means we have a lot of different things to consider when it comes to optimising our training, health and 🍑 gains.

One of the most critical differences between males & females when it comes to training and optimal results is our menstrual cycle. Our bodies are undergoing some pretty amazing tasks on the daily, and with those functions come some important things to consider when we think about exercise, nutrition and how we speak to ourselves about progress.

Training Considerations for Different Hormonal Phases
The average menstrual cycle lasts for 28 days and has four main phases:

1. Menstrual Phase
- Our estrogen levels are at its lowest which is the reason us gals typically feel moody, irritable and fatigued around this time.
- A great way to reduce pain related symptoms associated with your period is to get sufficient rest, fuel from nutrient dense foods and avoid being overly sedentary.
- Ladies, do be kind to yourself and try to exercise to the best of your ability but listen to your body and if you wish to do so, decrease the intensity or add in more rest days. I promise the gains will not fade away!
- For those of you that want to do some low low intensity exercise some great options include; yoga / stretching, walking or light strength training to align with increased fatigue during this phase.

2. Follicular Phase
- A large amount of estrogen is available in the body as your period is now over and your body is preparing for ovulation, which means more energy for us and our workouts!
- Ladies, during the follicular phase you can really push yourself in your workouts and increase intensity. This is your time to SHINE- try to hit the PB you’ve been wanting to try and go heavier in your lifts.
- Additional activities can include high intensity interval training, intense cardio and heavy strength training.

3. Ovulation
- Similar to the follicular phase, energy levels remain pretty high! So you can keep up the intensity and chase those gains.
- You can continue to lift heavy or sweat it out in high intensity cardio sessions. This is really up to you and what your ideal workout schedule looks like.

4. Luteal Phase
- During the luteal phase, energy levels will start to decrease as you get closer to your period.
- Try to train as you usually would but be wary that fatigue may kick in and you might need to adjust the intensity of the workout.

To sum up, it's pretty clear that the phases of your menstrual cycle can, and do, have a massive impact on everything from your mood to your exercise performance.