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"Training During Your TOTM"

Training on your period could be a major trick you are missing when hitting your performance and physique goals and I’m going to explain why below!

I used to believe that you should never push too hard with training during the first few days of your cycle. This is largely due to the lack of research conducted into women’s health and fitness and the impact of how different phases of our menstrual cycles can largely affect our training, performance, and overall health. I always thought that because we were menstruating, we should take it easy, take a step back and limit our training. After research I have found that my thought’s on female training when on their period were quite flawed.

As we know the menstrual cycles begins on the first real bleed and last’s anywhere between 3-5 days. This is called the Follicular Phase and will run up until the day of ovulation (usually around day 14 of your cycle).

During this time the female body is actually at its optimal stage for increasing strength and making muscle. This is because the body is in a more relaxed state as the possibility of pregnancy is removed, and all energy systems are at your disposal for use (making and maintaining muscle/performance/setting strength PR’s). Recovery is also much higher during this phase which means you can train harder. This Phase, from day 1 of your period is a time where you should focus on hitting some PR’s and pushing a little harder with your workouts.

A females exercise physiology (hormone levels) are most like their male counterpart during their period and the couple of days that follow as you are at your strongest. The body is ready to maximize hard training efforts and is much better suited to using stored carbs to get the job done. If you find cramping may hinder your training efforts during your period then taking magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and low dose aspirin 7 days prior to your bleed may help.

During the second half of your cycle which is referred to as the Luteal Phase the body is once again preparing for your period, ovulation and a possible pregnancy. Hormone levels are much higher during this phase making it much harder to make muscle. Body temperature also increases during this phase which makes exercise more exerting and harder to cool down from. The luteal phase is a great time to have a de-load week and focus more on form and technique, drop the load and don’t try to over-exert yourself. You may want to take more rest and active recovery days during this time.

The body is not able to access as many stored carbs during this time also as it’s primary role now is to assist with your high hormone levels so extra calories from complex carbs & lean protein (about 200 for about 5-7 days before your period starts) should be added to your daily calorie intake.

The body also needs a higher level of hydration around this time also as higher hormone levels mean a greater risk of de-hydration. Many women will also experience a number of days with high PMS symptoms such as headaches, bloating, fatigue and GI issues so for most it is not an optimal time to be pushing hard in the gym.

Below you will find a very brief breakdown of how to schedule your training to suit your menstrual cycle.

(Of course, every woman is different and should listen to their own body so it’s important to understand and track your cycle for optimum performance)

Stage Week Phase Day Of Cycle Load & Effort

PMS Week 1 Luteal Phase Day 15-22 40-50%

PMS Week 2 Luteal Phase Day 23-30 50-60%

Menstruation Week 3 Follicular Phase Day 1-7 70-80%

Prior Ovulation Week 4 Follicular Phase Day 8-14 90-100%

I hope you have found this short blog on female training around the TOTM beneficial and have a little more insight into the power of working with your own physiology and menstrual cycle in order to boost training performance and hit physique goals!

As always, if you would like to work with me on any of the LIT Academy programs then get in contact or DM me

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