TRAIN IN SYNC - Women are not small men.
Did you know a man’s rhythm is typically 24 hours.
He will wake in the morning with testosterone at its highest and it slowly depletes over the course of a day. This is the same every day.
For Women, our levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone fluctuate over the course of our menstrual cycle and this has an impact on our hormone health.
How can we expect our bodies to react the same day in and day out to exercise when we fluctuate unlike like a menn?
Being tuned into your hormones, will leave you feeling equipped and empowered for each transitional stage of female life.
Get to know your body, understand what you need and take back the power, give yourself the permission to be strong, be healthy, be soft and at ease as required. Each stage your body’s giving us clues to what we need to flourish.
Our cycle is split into two halves and we can benefit from harnessing these with our training plans.
Day 1-14 (based on a 28 day cycle). Oestrogen is the dominant and rising hormone during this phase. Then LH & FSH surge to release the egg at ovulation.
In this phase you may notice that your energy levels are likely to increase, peaking as you reach the midpoint ovulation. Your mood may become more motivated and optimistic and you might feel more happy in your body, due to the oestrogen increase.
Day 15-28. Progesterone comes into the game, after ovulation and we then have a rising level of both oestrogen & progesterone, until they both drop sharply and the period bleed starts.
Around this time you may notice energy levels lower and a desire to go inwards and hunker down as you get closer and closer to your bleed. Many of us experience PMT symptoms, from bloating, cramps, cravings, night sweats, anxiety, depression and muscle aches or inflammation such as lower back problems around these times. This tends to happen due to the sharp drop of oestrogen & progesterone.
This is a textbook example of a 28 day cycle. These phases can vary in length for each woman and change considerably in peri-menopause.
Every woman’s cycle is unique, we all have our own experience during our cycle and when we bleed. But struggling with heavy periods, headaches, bloating and anxiety, fatigue to name a few can all be signs that something including hormone health is out of balance with your overall health/lifestyle.
The best way to start is to fully understand your own cycle and symptoms, and gather the data.
Simply track your cycle. You can do this via old school pen and paper, excel spread sheet or an app similar to the Wild Ali one I have recommended above.
Key things to track are the length of your cycle, symptoms, energy levels, cervical fluid changes, body temperature (if you have a smartwatch you can see this on the data held in the app, appetite and cramps to name just a few.
From this data you can start to notice patterns and trends.
Putting It All Together
Once you know your cycle there is a beautiful flow you can bring into exercise and movement. This means you are giving your body what it needs and you will feel much happier for it.
We all have those days in the gym when you just can’t quite hit the session the same. Often it is due to your cycle and when you can highlight this you can adapt and prepare both with exercise and nutrition to still make solid progress towards your goal.
For me finding movement that makes you feel good and you enjoy is key. This way you are more likely to make this part of your lifestyle. I recommend all of the women I train lift weights, resistance training is key for muscle development, keep you balanced, fit and strong.
During the Follicular Phase we can dial in on some extra strength and lift heavier, do more HIIT, run faster and use plyometric training to our advantage.
In the Luteal Phase, you may choose to focus on skill and technique as a base of your movement. Lighter sessions with slower tempos, Yoga, Pilates and mobility drills are great to reset your body and revisit form.
Working in sync with your body will give your freedom.