Ladies, did you know that certain training styles are better at different times of your cycle due to the fluctuating nature of your hormones? Our guest Women’s Health contributor, Dr Alexandra, takes us through how to best workout with your cycle.
Now before we delve into this, you must first find out what day of your cycle you are in. Download a cycle tracker like ‘Clue’ (which is free) and start inputting your data. After one or two months you’ll be able to confidently know what stage you’re in and can start to implement the workout cycles below!
Days 1 -5ish: you are MENSTRUATING (in capitals for drama). At first you might think that it’s a good time to take a break from exercising but no, once your period starts, you’ll probably notice bloating, PMS and other symptoms will have settled. Now is the time to grab your tampons (or alternative sanitary items) and get back to it! You will notice an increase in strength and endurance during your period and into your Follicular phase so we dare you to take the plunge to try a Power PHIT or Pure PHIT class…
Days 5-14: The Follicular phase – Estrogen is on the rise and so is your strength. This phase of your cycle is all about pushing yourself to new limits and with insulin sensitivity increasing you can eat more carbs without them going straight to your ass, or your thighs…Winning!
Day 14ish: Ovulation – the peak of Estrogen, FSH & LH and your strength…you’ll be feeling strong, energetic and will be able to smash those Pilates 100’s with amazing form! However, you may notice you’re feeling hungrier at this time. Your metabolism is on the rise and you should nourish yourself appropriately.
Day 15-28(-35): The Luteal Phase – Estrogen falls, Progesterone rises and so does your internal temperature. Workouts may seem to feel harder, you may feel fatigued. Menstruation is coming… This is a good time to focus on form instead of speed and power. Plus, if you aim to perfect the nuances of your exercises your teacher wont notice you slacking! Jokes aside, your body is naturally moving towards using fat for energy so it’s a good time to reducing your exercise intensity and focus on recovery sessions and getting some good sleep!
The more you recognise how your body likes to move through your cycle, the more confident you will feel in fluctuating from upping the intensity vs focusing on good form. Please use this information for good. Harness the power of your cycle for fitness goals…instead of chocolate biscuits.