As women, we go through natural changes throughout the month. Our hormones fluctuate and some days we have more energy than others. Given these changes, it’s interesting that we don’t hear more about how to tailor our workout programs to follow that cycle.
We hear phrases like “listen to your body” – so let’s do just that!
I’m here to talk to you a bit about how to vary your workouts during your menstrual cycle in order to feel your best every day of the month.
There are 4 phases in our cycle: menstrual, follicular, ovulation, and luteal. Each phase will make us feel a bit different.
The menstrual phase is obvious. There will be blood, and maybe cramping. This is the best time to practice self-care. Try yoga and stretching to help relieve cramps as well as walking or swimming.
Fun fact, the follicular phase overlaps with the menstrual phase. If you did not become pregnant, estrogen and progesterone will decrease. This is the time to attack your workouts with force! You’ll likely feel the most energized during this time.
The ovulation phase is very short-lived. And just like in the follicular stage, you’ll have a lot of energy. Try kicking up the cardio activity during this time. HIIT workouts will seem like a breeze compared to other stages.
Finally, we have the luteal phase. This phase is where we have PMS symptoms due to a depletion of hormones. This is the best time to focus on your mental health. Exercise releases those feel-good endorphins, so be sure to make time for that. Meditate, go for a hike, or do the workout that you love most. Working on the most enjoyable activities can help you feel better during this time.
Since we are all different, the duration of these phases will vary. I recommend using a tracking app to help you understand which phase you are in.
Adjust your workouts accordingly – one size never fits all!