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Training & Your Menstrual Cycle

We all know that periods can affect our training, but we want you to know how and why.

Hormonal fluctuations can present a real challenge throughout the month, making it difficult to remain consistent! It’s important to note that everyone experiences slightly different time scales and symptoms. It’s also important to note that those on hormonal contraception may experience a different range of time scales and symptoms in comparison to a natural period.

Early Follicular Phase (Days 1-5)

During menstruation, your hormone levels are low and you may be experiencing some undesirable symptoms such as bloating, sickness and lethargy amongst others! It’s been suggested that poor reactions and clumsiness are likely so low sets and low reps are advised!

Mid Follicular Phase (Days 6-8)

Oestrogen is now increasing, but progesterone is still low. You can start to increase intensity here as your strength will be increasing again, so higher weight and low rep training is suggested!

Late Follicular Phase (Day 9-13)

Oestrogen has now increased significantly as well as your glycogen stores! You may feel ready to smash your workouts mentally too, making your workouts more effective than usual!

Ovulation (Day 14)

During this time testosterone has peaked, meaning you’ll potentially be at your strongest - nows the time to hit PB’s!

Early Luteal Phase (Day 15-20)

The luteal phase brings many hormonal fluctuations. Alongside a further increase in oestrogen, progesterone also increases here. You’re likely to consume more calories here as well as retaining more fluid than normal. Again here, it’s suggested that lower rep and heavier weights are most appropriate.

Mid Luteal Phase (Day 21-24)

You’ll likely experience greater protein breakdown, so you may favour a lower intensity aerobic workout as opposed to high intensity strength training.

Late Luteal Phase (Day 25-31)

Often mood can be lower with a higher stress level here. It’s suggested that a low weight and low volume workout is taken here. Many wisely use this as a ‘recovery week’!

Written by Maddi Nadiotis

Personal Trainer at Optimum Fitness Tetbury

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