What our bodies need this week won’t be the same for the next week. Understanding your menstrual cycle and exercise will change the game for you.
You will know what ways to move your body, so you get the results you want! It isn’t about ignoring your body’s signals but adapting to them. However, if you have hormonal imbalances, I recommend getting those situated first, especially if you’re on birth control. The recommendations below are for those with a regular monthly cycle.
As women, we go through four phases of the menstrual cycle: menstruation, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal.
This phase is when we have our period. On average, your period can last anywhere from 3 to 7 days. Hormonal, this is when Estrogen and Progesterone levels are very low.
The follicular begins the day you start your period and continues until you ovulate. During this period, Estrogen will be increasing to grow a follicle to become an egg then. Progesterone also begins rising slowly. This phase lasts 7-10 days.
This is when your ovaries release an egg. It is a very short phase in which you can get pregnant. This phase lasts 3-4 days.
However, sperm can stay in our bodies for 5-days! Hormonally at this point, Estrogen has peaked and begins to decline. At the same time, Progesterone starts to increase rapidly.
The final phase begins right after ovulation is done and lasts for 10-14 days. Hormonally we see a little rise in Estrogen only to drop off again. However, Progesterone will peak at the midway point of this phase. Then it will drop off like Estrogen if the egg was not fertilized.
Understanding the length of your menstrual cycle is key here. On average, a women’s cycle can last 23 to 36 days long. But the golden number has been 28 days.
The more you track and get to know your body, the easier it’ll be to know your menstruation length.
Once your period starts, it is best to use that week as a recovery week. You may be feeling fatigued as you are losing more iron during your flow. If you want to exercise, stick to light walking, stretching, yoga, and so on.
The beginning of your follicular phase starts the day you get your period. Usually, during the first few days, you can feel tired and unmotivated. But by the end of your period, there’s often a feeling of sudden energy and motivation.
This is why during the first two weeks of this phase, it is optimal to strength training, focus on anaerobic activity, and go for those PR’s you want to hit. What is also important is during this phase is carbohydrates are used more efficiently. This is the best time for exercise performance.
The reason is due to the increase in Estrogen; we become more insulin sensitive. Another benefit of high-intensity exercise is it can help boost metabolism. As we get closer to ovulation, our metabolism can take a bit of a dip.
During this week is when your energy levels can take a bit of a dip. I’d recommend reducing the intensity for those 3-4 days for both strength and aerobic exercise.
This is due to the hormones shifting with Estrogen starting to dip, and Progesterone is increasing. This is also the same time you’re fertile, and an egg has been released from the ovaries.
This is when women notice a significant change in energy. Workouts you did in weeks one and two can feel harder. It can also think that it takes longer to recover, as well.
The energy decline is also caused by us become a bit insulin resistant. This means your body isn’t using carbohydrates effectively. You can do things like bodyweight training, walking, hiking, or even active recovery.
Halfway through the luteal phase, our ligaments and tendons become laxer due to the significant increase in Progesterone. This can increase our risk of injury, in which it is important to stick to gentle exercise.
Especially the week before your period, as that is when bloating, mood swings and other PMS symptoms can occur. Once you get your period, the follicular starts all over again.
Here is a more straightforward way to break down your training to exercise for your menstrual cycle.
I hope this helps you to have a deeper understanding of your body. The goal isn’t to have you ignore your menstrual cycle but to work with it.
Thank youu so much for reading!