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Weight training around the menstrual cycle

Women have been breaking barriers and shattering stereotypes in the world of fitness and weight training. With a growing understanding of how women's bodies function, there's a rising interest in optimising training programs according to their unique physiological changes, especially during the menstrual cycle. By aligning workouts with their menstrual cycle, women can harness their body's natural rhythm to improve performance, recovery, and overall well-being. In this blog, we will explore the concept of periodised weight training and how women can benefit from adjusting their workouts throughout their menstrual cycle.

Understanding the Menstrual Cycle-

The menstrual cycle is a natural, recurring process that occurs in women of reproductive age. On average, a menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days, although it can vary from woman to woman. The cycle consists of four phases:

  1. Menstrual Phase: Days 1-5

  2. Follicular Phase: Days 6-14

  3. Ovulatory Phase: Day 14 (ovulation)

  4. Luteal Phase: Days 15-28

Hormonal fluctuations play a significant role in each phase, influencing energy levels, mood, and metabolism. Understanding these changes can empower women to adapt their training routine for optimal results.

Phase 1 - Menstrual Phase (Days 1-5)

During the menstrual phase, hormone levels are relatively low, and some women may experience decreased energy and mood fluctuations. It's essential to listen to your body during this phase and engage in exercises that promote blood flow and reduce discomfort. Light to moderate-intensity exercises like walking, yoga, and stretching can be beneficial. This phase is good for technique focus.

Phase 2 - Follicular Phase (Days 6-14)

The follicular phase is marked by a rise in oestrogen, leading to increased energy levels and improved mood. As a result, women may find it easier to engage in more intense workouts and weight training. During this phase, focus on strength training exercises, as higher oestrogen levels can enhance muscle growth.

Phase 3 - Ovulatory Phase (Day 14)

Around day 14, ovulation occurs, characterised by a peak in oestrogen. This hormonal surge can enhance physical performance, making it an ideal time for high-intensity workouts. Take advantage of this surge in energy to challenge yourself with heavy lifts or intense interval training.

Phase 4 - Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)

During the luteal phase, progesterone levels increase, leading to potential water retention, bloating, and mood fluctuations. While some women may still feel strong and energetic, others might experience reduced motivation. Adjust your training during this phase by focusing on stability exercises, bodyweight movements, and low-impact cardio to support your body during this time. Again, technique work is useful in this phase.

Benefits of Periodised Weight Training

  1. Improved Performance: By tailoring workouts to align with hormonal fluctuations, women can maximise strength gains and improve overall athletic performance.

  2. Enhanced Recovery: Understanding the impact of hormones can help women plan rest days and active recovery sessions strategically, leading to better recovery and reduced risk of injury.

  3. Mental Well-being: Understands the correlation between hormone levels and mood can assist women in managing stress and anxiety throughout their cycle.

  4. Sustainable Fitness: Periodised weight training acknowledges that women's bodies are not constant and adapts workout intensity accordingly, promoting a more sustainable fitness journey.

Periodised weight training, synchronised with the menstrual cycle, can be a game-changer for women in the realm of fitness. By embracing their natural hormonal fluctuations, women can optimize their workouts, achieve better results, and nurture a healthier mind-body connection. It's crucial for women to remember that every individual is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Experiment with different approaches and listen to your body's cues to find the best fitness routine that aligns with your menstrual cycle, empowering you to thrive in your fitness journey.


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