The Menstrual Cycle
Tired, hungry and somehow finding the 101 worst ways to cover a spot on your forehead. Has this ever been you? I know it's been me, and I have some information on the menstrual cycle to help you make yourself feel better so that you can continue on your fitness journey!
First let's break the menstrual cycle down:
Cycle - starts 1st day of period, ends start of next period
Menstruation - the period
Follicular phase - 1st day of period to ovulation
Ovulation - release of egg
Luteal phase - time between ovulation and menstruation
You have two main phases in the menstrual cycle. Your follicular phase (in peach on the diagram above) enables you to radiate positivity with confidence whilst you get on top of your ‘life admin’, eat well and stick to your exercise regime, but as we all know nothing lasts forever and the luteal phase is up next.
Although the luteal phase (in mint green in the diagram above) is somewhat overwhelming with days when you feel incredibly sleepy, have an increased appetite and don't feel like being as productive, there are things you can do to potentially give yourself the ‘boost’ that you need.
In this phase:
Drink water more often. It is a time where you are at risk of dehydrating which can lead to other issues that’ll stop you from feeling your best.
Check back in with your nutrition to ensure you're getting sufficient carbs. Energy is harder to access at this time.
If you feel like you need a rest, take a rest! With energy being harder to access in our bodies you might not feel as energetic so take a step back when you need to.
There are also a couple of bits you can do in the follicular phase too. Double check you're getting sufficient iron in your body and including omega 3 fatty acids in your diet.
As cliche as it is ladies, listen to your body.
Sung, E., Han, A., Hinrichs, T., Vorgerd, M., Manchado, C. and Platen, P., 2014. Effects of follicular versus luteal phase-based strength training in young women. Springerplus, 3(1), pp.1-10.
HealthPartners Blog. 2022. Menstrual cycle and exercise | TRIA Blog. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthpartners.com/blog/how-tracking-your-period-can-help-improve-athletic-performance/> [Accessed 9 September 2022].