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Training Through Your Monthly Cycle

Why do you love training on certain days and struggle through others?
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By Alicia Jovcevski, Owner at Bangor

Why do you love training on certain days and struggle through others? Most women don’t realise it has lots to do with their menstrual cycle.

There are training days where everything feels good and there are days where you just dread even going!

By understanding how the different phases of your cycle affect your hormone and energy levels, you can time your diet and training accordingly and tap into the best physical and mental benefits of exercise.

There are two main phases of the menstrual cycle: the follicular phase and the luteal phase.

The follicular phase happens during the first half of your cycle and starts on day one of your period. Although you’ll feel bloated and sore, your body is able to push through more reps, lift more weight and maybe run that little bit further! Next time you start your cycle try tuning into what happens when you’re actually training. Not beforehand, because that never feels great but notice the level of intensity you are able to push through. you’ll also notice many of your menstruating symptoms will ease while training too! Your output during this phase is where all you gains are made.

With a lower level of hormones during the first phase of your menstrual cycle, your body is primed to maximize hard training efforts. This means your body is better able to access stored carbohydrates, making this an ideal time for high-intensity or hard training. It’s also easier to build and maintain muscle, which means this is also a great time to emphasize muscle-building exercises. During this time focus on strength training!

What is the luteal phase? The luteal phase is the second half of your cycle. During the back half of your menstrual cycle, your body is preparing for your next period or pregnancy, if you conceive during this cycle. This means your hormones are running at a higher level, due to an increase in estrogen and progesterone. This means that it’s time to take it easier on your workouts, focusing on lower-intensity workouts with more recovery time. You will notice your body isn’t as energetic and is not keen on doing any extra reps! You might also notice an increase in hunger now too.

Once you start to see the patterns and symptoms that emerge for you each month, you can start to train and eat according to the phase that you’re in. Working with your body and what it’s telling you, not against it is the key to ride the monthly wave!

Learn to get to know the signs in your cycle to be able to get the most out of your body and optimise your performance.

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