Get to know your cycle
Did you know that the female cycle can play a huge part in your training, affecting mood, cravings and performance?
Having already spoken to many of my clients, I thought it was just as important for you to know how hormone levels can affect your training and help you get to know your cycle too.
The female cycle is split into two main phases; the Follicular and Luteal Phase.
The Luteal Phase (the two weeks post ovulation)
~ You are more likely to suffer injuries due to a decrease in strength and coordination
~ Listen to your body, workout to stay healthy not to progress. Limit strength training to around 2x per week.
?Progesterone levels increase, and can inhibit the physiological benefits of oestrogen (see below)
?Reduce training intensity and schedule in rest days where needed.
On average, your BMR increases by 100-300cals, this is why you might crave more food.
Adjust your calorie intake, whether you’re in a deficit, surplus or at maintenance give your body the fuel it needs, allow yourself approx. 200 cals extra each day.
The Follicular Phase (This can be broken down further to include the menstrual and ovulation phases. See here for more info)
~ Oestrogen gradually increases, oestrogen has mood boosting, anabolic and muscle building effects, as well as playing a large reproductive role.
~ Increase strength training up to 4x a week in the first half of your cycle.
You are more likely to perform at your peak immediately prior to ovulation due to a spike in testosterone.
Aim to hit your PB’s and push yourself to improve.
TAKE NOTE – Injury can also occur during this phase as ligaments and tendons are more lax, so ensure you warm up properly and gradually work up to your PB.
However, everyone is different, and this isn’t a one size fits all method. The most important thing to consider is your own cycle, feelings and body. Once you start to track your cycle along side your training plan, you’ll soon discover at what point it’s best to push yourself and when to reign it in.