Weight Training Through Your Menstrual Cycle
If you’ve weight trained before, then you know that there will always be days that are harder than others.
But, what you probably didn’t know is that our strength, our endurance, and even our energy is often tied to the phase we are at in our cycle.
Yep, our menstrual cycle can impact a LOT.
So consider this your go-to guide to your menstrual cycle and what you need to know when weight training!
The Follicular Phase
I call this the fun phase. It begins the first day of your period and ends when you ovulate. What I love about this phase (and you will too) is that our pain tolerance, endurance, energy, strength, insulin sensitivity, AND force generation capacity all increase during it. It is the most optimal time for muscle growth 💪🏻 and is a good time to consider higher carbs and refeeds.
The Luteal Phase
This phase happens between your ovulation and your period and it’s when life just seems hard. Whether you recognized it at the time or not, this is likely the phase where you’ve experienced the most frustration with your body. So this is a time to accept that your 100% may not be the same every day, and you just need to do that day’s best! It may be a good time to incorporate LISS and maybe even take an extra rest day. Your NEAT will naturally be lower (i.e. you’re burning less calories during the day) so be sure to watch your nutrition and try to plan in treats for the end of the night when you may have cravings. 🍦
The Ovulation Phase
This phase usually happens between day 10-18 of your cycle and is when an egg is released from the ovary to be fertilized. During this time you may still be feeling good, but you need to pay extra attention to form 🏋️♀️ because you are more susceptible to injuries. Studies have shown that women are 3X more likely to experience ACL tears due to greater ACL laxity, knee valgus, and tibial external rotation during functional activity. To put it simply, be careful and practice good form.
The Menstruation Phase
This is that moment we all have every month: “OH, THAT’S WHY I WAS CRYING OVER THE CHEETOS!?” This is when your actual period starts! All of the PMS symptoms start to subside and you start to feel like yourself again. The cravings, bloating, and tears have all chilled out, and you finally start to get some of your energy back!
And then it starts all over again. 🔁
I share this because knowing what is going on in your body at each phase allows you to have grace with yourself.
It can help you know when to REALLY push and when to watch yourself.
Knowing that all of these symptoms are normal can help us with accepting what is going on instead of wondering what is wrong.
So know that all of this is normal.
Have patience and love for yourself.
Have plans for how to handle each phase, and know that it’ll all pass.
And if you DON’T have a period and you don’t know why, please take that as a check engine light!! Do a self-assessment because that is your body trying to tell you something.