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How the menstrual Cycle can affect your training

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

women’s menstrual cycle has different phases; the menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal phases, which is often broken down more broadly into just the follicular and luteal phases.

First comes the menstrual phase, when you get your period and her levels of hormones estrogen and progesterone drop. This typical lasts 3-7 days but can vary between individuals.

This also kicks off the follicular phase, which begins on day one of your period and continues until you ovulate, a total of about 16 days. During this phase, the pituitary gland releases follicle stimulating hormones (FSH).

During the ovulation phase, luteinizing hormone (LH) is released in response to the follicular phase raising estrogen levels.

Finally, we enter the luteal phase. This is where we see a rise in progesterone and a slight increase in estrogen levels, followed by a drop in both hormones and a restart of the cycle. The luteal phase is when we experience those “lovely” PMS symptoms, like bloating, headache, weight changes, food cravings and trouble sleeping. This phase last 11-17 days.

Now we understand the cycle phases: how does this effect how we train?

Scientists have been looking into how our fluctuations of hormones across the menstrual cycle can lead to different outcomes and concerns / changes to our training outcomes.

I have always had a passion for fitness and now as a Personal trainer I workout constantly and I do notice the difference to my performance throughout the month.

Here are some of my tips to keep in mind with training with your cycle in mind

1: Don’t skip strength training in the first part of your cycle.