How to Work Out According to your Menstrual Cycle

13th June 2019
The female body has different characteristics depending on the menstrual phase it's going through. How is this related to training and diet?

The menstrual cycle consists of three phases: follicular, ovulation and luteal. The hormonal changes that women go through during this time in their lives are well documented. This means you can use them to your advantage by adapting your training routine to the phase you’re experiencing in your menstrual cycle. By doing this, you’ll ensure better results.

Menstrual cycle phases

Follicular

This phase starts on day one of your cycle, once menstruation is over, and it lasts until day thirteen. During this phase, you experience certain physiological changes. One of these changes is that your body starts to get most of its energy from glycogen, which causes you to burn less fat than usual.

In addition to this, your metabolism is at its lowest point one week before ovulation. During this time, there’s an increased sensitivity to insulin, which is why your body has a higher tolerance for carbohydrates.

During this phase of your menstrual cycle, you should do bolder and more intense workouts, this way you’ll get the best results. Besides, performing energetic exercises will help to reduce the effect of a slow metabolism.

In regards to your diet, try to increase the number of carbohydrates you eat. If you’re trying to define your muscles, you can also increase your load. By following these tips, it’ll be easier for your muscles to grow.

Ovulation

This phase happens during the 14th and 15th day of your cycle and it lasts for about 16 to 32 hours, which is when your ovule settles in your uterus. During this phase, your appetite may decrease. Some people believe this is a natural consequence, your instinct may be focused on procreating rather than eating.

Woman eating a healthy diet according to her menstrual cycle

In contrast to the previous phase of your menstrual cycle, your metabolism begins to speed up in this phase. There’s also an increase in your strength since your body is at its highest point in testosterone levels. This change could lead to a higher risk of injury since you don’t have as much neuromuscular control.

When working out, you’ll have a better performance. Take advantage of this and do great workouts. However, you should always keep in mind this strength increase to avoid hurting yourself and getting injured.

Try to reduce the number of carbs in your diet, since the tolerance for insulin starts to decrease.

Luteal

It’s the last phase of the menstrual cycle. Women usually experience a greater appetite and many cravings. Because of this, they tend to consume around 100 to 500 excess calories per day.

During this phase, your metabolism also gets a boost. However, it’s a boost that can be up to 10 percent more than what happens during the follicular phase.

You also have a low sensitivity to insulin. Therefore, we recommend reducing the consumption of carbohydrates during those days. This will induce your body to use fat as the main source of energy.

Muscle gains reach their peak point during this stage. This happens because there’s a larger release of the growth hormone, which also happens to slow down aging.

A healthy lifestyle for women during their menstrual cycle

During this phase, serotonin production is reduced, this is the happiness hormone. Which is why you may experience mood swings and cravings more frequently. Lastly, your body also retains more liquids.

Regarding your training during this phase, we recommend doing low-intensity exercises, since oxygen has a harder time reaching all your muscles. It’s best to do aerobic sessions.

When it comes to your diet, it’s important to control your cravings and diet during this period. Remember that a faster metabolism will help to burn more fat. Eating dark chocolate and fruits will help you to stay on track.

If you want to reduce water retention, don’t put extra salt on your food, and drink lots of water.

In conclusion, women should become familiar with the phases of the menstrual cycle and the changes that happen in each one. With that information, they’ll be able to choose better training routines and eat the right foods to stay in shape.