How to sync your hormones with your exercise routine and get better results
Ever wondered why some days your exercise routine feels easy and you can push hard, whilst on others it takes all your strength just to get out of bed, let alone move your body or crack a sweat.
I often hear the women in my Simply Women Fitness Program saying “I don’t understand why the session feels so hard today…last week I was on fire?”
And although the answer to that question can involve factors like sleep, water and food…the missing link not many women know about is that your menstrual cycle plays a major role in whether your exercise mojo is cranking or not.
In fact, your cycle also dictates what you feel like eating, your moods and how focused or creative you are at work.
But let’s take one step at a time and address the exercise focus in this blog so that you can get to understand which exercises to choose depending on where you are in your cycle…which essentially means you don’t have to flog yourself every time you exercise…YAY!
CHOOSE THIS TYPE OF EXERCISE AT EACH PHASE:
Phase 1. (this is the first day AFTER your period ends and lasts between 7-10 days)
Time to try something new because your brain and body is ready to take on a challenge and it feels easier to cope with a stimulating activity. You also feel more ready to step outside of your comfort zone at this time, so any new activity you do consistently is more likely to stick. It’s the perfect time to start a health and fitness program.
Phase 2. (lasts 3-4 days)
Your energy levels are at their max now and you are primed to take on strenuous exercise like strength training and running. You also love connecting with other women more at this time of month, so look for activities that involve other people.
Phase 3. (lasts 10-14 days)
The first half of this phase will probably see your energy levels pretty high, so continue the more strenuous exercise you have been doing.
Then on the final 5 days of this phase, scale the intensity back to activities like walking, pilates and yoga as you become more sluggish and may start to retain water at this time…oh the dreaded bloat!
Ironically, this is probably the time mood swings also occur which means that you will need more nurturing and calming activities – LOL !
Phase 4. (lasts 3-7 days)
It’s time to rest and recover…and nurture yourself more. This is the perfect time to schedule in rest days or relaxing forms of exercise like yoga and gentle walking (nothing better than going for a walk with a girlfriend…then a coffee at the end!).
Your body is going through an elimination process and it is working hard enough without you pushing it harder. As you move to the end of your bleeding, you can start to amp up your activity again depending on how you feel.
The purpose of syncing your exercise habits with your cycle is that you will get the best out of your body, you will avoid the stinking thinking that can occur when you are trying to push hard but your body is just not cooperating…and you will become so much more in tune with your body, which is the ultimate gift you can give yourself.
Here is a general summary to get you started (based on a normal women’s cycle and approximate days…if yours is not the standard 28 day cycle then it might be worth getting your hormones checked by a GP or Naturopath who specializes in women’s health (Tammy Guest from Inspirational Health is gold!)
- Days 1-10: New and stimulating activities
- Days 11-15: Strenuous forms of exercise (resistance training is the bomb here!)
- Days 15-22: Continue the tough stuff!
- Days 23-28: Back off and do lighter exercise
- Days 29 (to whenever you stop bleeding): Rest, nurture and recover
Not sure how long your period lasts…use one of the smart phone period trackers and get to know your cycle. Embrace your womanhood and use it to your advantage.
Source: Women Code, Alissa Viti
Lisa Mills xx