How to Exercise with your Monthly Cycle You may already know that you feel better or worse with motivation and physical stamina during different times of your monthly cycle. Instead of listening to what society tells you - push harder, just do it - but you are literally struggling to get your ass up. This is not because you are lazy or lack willpower. Instead - the secret lies within your cycle and I will shed some light on how to best support your exercise goals with your monthly cycle. The latest research on exercise is predominantly done on men and is then automatically applied to women. So - if you have ever failed at your latest exercise regime, or struggled to keep on top of it, this not because you lack the will power to get it done, but rather because it was not developed for someone who has a monthly cycle with different needs.
How to Exercise with Your Cycle Instead of getting frustrated by your periods and monthly fluctuations, you can plan your workouts to give yourself that extra advantage!
Exercise During Your Period (Early Follicular Phase) When you’re on your period, a gentle walk, stretching and easy movement is best for matching your energy levels and reducing any discomfort. It is totally normal to experience lower energy levels drying the first few days of your period and feel and want to be less active. But - instead of laying in bed all day I encourage you to get out and move your body. Once you get moving your symptoms such as cramps, low mood and cramps should improve.
This does not mean you are weak and should totally go t-total from exercise during your period. Bottom line - listen to your body and honour how you feel. How you feel is much more important than what any doctor or expert tells you how it should be.
Exercise During the Late Follicular Phase (When Your Period Ends to Ovulation) The increased Estrogen and Testosterone you experience during this phase of your cycle boosts your ability in build more muscular mass. you will find your strength and cardio exercise regimes feel their best during this time.
You may even find that from day 3 of your follicular phase you energy is up and your exercise stamina begins to flow and you may be able to lift more weight and tolerate intensity interval training, and push yourself a little harder.
Exercise During Ovulation
A one day event, but the days surrounding it can have you feeling even more energised. Around the end of week two to the beginning of week three, which for most women is their ovulation time, you may find that you can withstand higher levels of exertion!
Exercise During the Luteal Phase The week before your period, you may find that your tolerance for exercise declines following ovulation. Our bodies can retain more water and have more difficulty cooling down in this phase - which can significantly hinder your workouts. Staying hydrated with attention to electrolytes prior to your activity can be helpful, as well as wearing breathable clothing and exercising in a cool environment.
Use this information to your advantage and take that time to incorporate more recovery time in your schedule. Leveraging some pilates and yoga as you get closer to your period can help support your body’s needs. If you’re also feeling more hungry prior to your period this is completely normal. Your need, specifically for carbohydrates is much higher. Take an approach that serves you best and listen to your body’s needs to eat and increase your calories by 5-10%. Tracking your cycle and incorporating different workouts into your exercise routine can help you get the most out of your workout. Plus, it will also add variety in your exercise regimen. Best Exercises During The Follicular Phase
After your period’s over, your estrogen and testosterone levels start to increase which makes this time ideal for weight training. Some of the exercises you may want to try during this phase include anything that involves resistance training:
Best Exercises While Ovulating You experience hormone peaks when ovulating and may find that you’re feeling super energetic during this time, which is incredible for working out. Exercises to incorporate during the ovulatory phase are:
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Best Exercises During The Luteal Phase
After you’ve ovulated, you may feel sluggish, especially after the increased energy form the previous days. During the first days of your luteal phase, your progesterone is rising, and estrogen levels dip, then come back up again, and then both decline just before your period starts. These fluctuations mean you'll have better energy levels at the beginning of this time, and towards the end, you may feel tired and less inclined to exercise. Again, listen to your body and do what feels right for you. At the beginning of the luteal phase, you may find you want to continue with your weight training, running, dance, or spin class. But if you find that your endurance dips and you’re less inclined to push through like you did a week or two before. Towards the end, I’d suggest:
Low impact cardio
Walking or hiking