A lot of woman might be sitting there thinking - no way! I feel too tired and fatigued during my menstrual cycle to train hard, but science will beg to differ. The menstrual cycle has a huge influence on a female's metabolic state and training results, here is how.
First, keeping in mind we're talking about premenopausal women who aren't using oral birth control (as this alters the cycle). A little refresher, the start of your cycle begins on the onset of bleeding generally lasting anywhere between 3-7 days. The first 0-13 days of your cycle is called the Follicular Phase, followed by 3 days (days 13-16) of Ovulation and then (days 16-28) the Luteal Phase.
Let's talk Hormones…
Estrogen and Progesterone being the two major hormones are both low in the early follicular phase (days 0-7) and then during days 7-13 oestrogen will rapidly increase and reach its peak right before ovulation. After than estrogen will decline and then rid mid luteal phase and then dramatically drop in the late luteal phase (right before you get your period). In contrast, progesterone is low the entire follicular phase and then begins to increase during ovulation, peak at mid luteal phase and then, in sync with oestrogen dramatically decline in the late luteal phase. Then the cycle restarts.
What does this mean in terms of your training? Research shows that due to these changes in hormones we are actually stronger in the follicular phase of our cycle and can optimise muscle gains in this phase. During the follicular phase we should focus on progress as we have a higher tolerance to pain as well as increased levels of endurance. Insulin sensitivity is higher during the follicular phase meaning our bodies will be more prone to utilise carbohydrates to fuel our muscles.
Studies show that women are more commonly tired and lethargic in the luteal phase which is the two weeks leading up to our period. During this phase our bodies are more likely to use fat as a fuel source.
I know a few women can be really affected by their menstrual cycle. So instead of trying to fight it why not work with it!
If you would like to know more information about the subject above, call into the Caringbah Studio or speak to your Trainer.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.