I am able to relate to women who come to me when their normal routine of exercise becomes a challenge. Armed with curiosity and respect towards my body I have delved into current research into the impact of menstrual cycles on the capacity of women to exercise.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
There’s a widespread assumption in the fitness industry that no matter what gender, results can only be achieved through consistent effort.
However, due the gender bias in the exercise science field, most research on the effectiveness of training programs is done with female testing subjects.
Exercise advice is presented as a one-size-fits-all-purpose prescription for women at all stages of life to try the latest trends in fitness to achieve positive results.
The pressure to keep an ideal body shape is at the top of the fitness goals of many women. But at some point throughout the month it is when the “always do your best” attitude can come into the direct line of low energy days. Women can be a victim of their own judgmental bias.
As an instructor and long-time exerciser, I’ve learned an entirely new understanding in regard to training and menstrual cycles. When we understand the hormonal changes that occur during menstrual cycles allows us to increase our workouts when we are ready to take on the challenge and decrease the intensity when our bodies aren’t able to handle the same physical strain.
If we can cycle our workout in conjunction with our cycle, we’re utilizing our female anatomy to our advantage by performing better, not harder.
To be able to work in harmony with instead of with our body it is essential to first be aware of the stages of menstrual cycles.
A menstrual period is usually between 23 and 38 days long and is comprised of three stages.
The Follicular phase
The follicular stage begins on the first day of your period and is marked as having the lowest level of hormones for females all through the entire month. Since the hormones that regulate sexuality are lower and this is the time when women’s bodies are at their most alike to the male body.
The follicular stage lasts five to six days after the last days of the menstrual cycle. It lasts 12-14 days. After the period, your estrogen increases gradually which leads to the release of hormones that luteinize as well as follicle-stimulating hormones. leading to the mid-cycle ovulation stage.
Ovulation occurs when the body releases eggs, and if there is sperm present then this is the ideal occasion for implantation and pregnancy to occur. In a cycle lasting 28 days, the ovulation timeframe is around the midpoint, which is usually close to the 14th day of the cycle.
The luteal phase
The luteal phase begins after ovulation and runs until the second half of your cycle. It brings along the hormonal parade.
At this point, estrogen is experiencing an albeit moderate increase however, more important, progesterone comes into the picture and causes various physiological signs in conjunction with it.
The luteal stage ends at the point that progesterone increases when it is not pregnant, progesterone and estrogen drop, signal your brain that you are about to begin your period, and then begin the cycle again.
We now have a comprehension of the hormone changes that make up the menstrual cycle let’s discuss more about the changes in your body that could affect your workout effort.
The initial part of your period, referred to as the follicular period is the low-hormone phase. The only symptoms you’re experiencing are those related to your period.
If you’re working out in a rigorous way, it’s logical that this is the best time for you to give all your effort forward, given that you’ve no hormonal issues that are affecting your workout.
Ovulation may be accompanied by a slight increase in the temperature of a woman. This may not appear to be something to be concerned about on the thermometer, however, it’s vital to be aware that this rise in temperature lasts after ovulation, and will continue through the second phase of the cycle.
Because of the elevated temperature during the luteal phase which is the time of the year when females are more vulnerable to training in humid or hot conditions (think the hot yoga class, in the warm gym, or running out during a scorching summer day) and athletic performance may be affected.
Apart from increasing your temperature in the core progesterone also increases the resting heart rate and breathing rate. These three signs could be seen as more strain on the body, particularly during exercise which can cause women to feel as if she’s had to perform harder than she normally does.
Another feature of progesterone can be seen in its catabolic action meaning the hormone is known to tear down tissue.
This is crucial in terms of fitness training in the second part of your cycle.
In normal circumstances exercise in strength requires the use of weights such as body weight cables, bands, and free weights that trigger a tension reaction in the muscles that are being trained.
The strain on your muscles caused by lifting heavy loads leads to tiny tears in the muscles you work. Your body repairs these tiny tears by growing muscles, which results in stronger and bigger muscles.
If progesterone levels are high during the second phase of the menstrual cycle, it could hinder the growth of protein, which negatively affects the process of repair for muscles ( 3).
A few easy actions can make a massive impact when it comes to the ability to sync your workouts with your cycling.
Monitoring your cycling
If you’re looking to boost your fitness performance along with your menstrual cycle the first need to do is track your menstrual cycle.
It’s as simple as keeping the thermometer in a digital format and an alarm clock near your bed. Each morning, when you get awake (waking at the exact time every morning is essential to this method) prior to doing anything (don’t leave the bed, or even drink a sip of water) you should note down your temperature. it down.
This is particularly important during the first part of your cycle, to ensure that you’ll be aware of what your daily temperature is. If you write it down each morning, at the same time you’ll notice a slight increase in your temperature in mid-cycle, which indicates that ovulation has occurred.
The process of tracking your menstrual cycle can remove any doubt and give you the capability to anticipate your body’s capacity to take.
Be aware that if you’re taking birth control pills, which prevent ovulation the method for tracking your cycles could be more challenging.
Select different exercises to do at different times during the month.
- Follicular phase. This is when you can go to HIIT hard (see how I got there!). Make sure you are doing your high-intensity interval training powerlifting, heavy lifts, Plyometrics long runs hill repeats, hot yoga, and other strenuous training modalities into your routine the present. You should take at the very least an hour of rest between intense workouts and be aware of the indications that suggest overtraining due to some studies that suggest that you could be more susceptible to injury to your muscles due to overtraining in this period.
- Luteal phase. This is the time to be mindful of your body’s hormonal burden. Moderate aerobic exercise (no breathless intervals) outdoor walks and hikes, as well as strength exercise (low to moderate weights and higher reps) yoga, and Pilates are all good options. This is the perfect time to improve your mobility. Also, make sure you stay clear of the hot gyms.
Move your body with it and not against it.
Research into exercise and the recommended protocols are heavily based on data that was conducted on males since they don’t suffer from hormone fluctuations in their monthly cycles like females do.
In the end, women are attempting to put into place workout programs that aren’t made specifically for the female anatomy and they are left to wonder what went off when the energy levels fluctuate.
By understanding their menstrual cycles and the timing of the cycles of their cycle, females will feel empowered as they gain control over their fitness efficiency while staying clear of self-criticism and failures.