I often get a lot of questions on menstruation and exercise. I thought it will be easier to write an article and explain how the different phases of menstruation impacts your exercise and performance.
A normal menstruation lasts for about 28 days. It might take more or less days depending on certain factors. But for practical purposes we would look at 28 days for a cycle.
The menstruation cycle is broadly divided into 3 phases:
Follicular phase: This is the first phase where an immature ovum starts the process of making a matured egg in the ovaries in the presence of a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone( FSH). As the follicle matures it further leads to the release of estrogen.
Effect on exercise: In this phase the tolerance of pain is comparatively higher, the insulin sensitivity is quite up. So hitting on some high intensity workouts with carb refeeds later will help you perform better. The phase lasts for 0-14 days.
Ladies keep the damm weights up in this phase and take the biological advantages from your body.
Ovulation: This phase marks the peak increase in estrogen , although the weight you will lift would still be heavy. This is the phase where ovum is released into the uterus through fallopian tube.
Effect on exercise: This phase the strength would be higher but due to higher estrogen the laxity in the joints would be more. Be careful when you lift heavy as the chances of injuries are higher here. A slight increase in metabolism is expected so you might see a lot hunger pangs in this phase. Stay away from the sugars in this phase, go for balanced meal with high satiety.
Luteal Phase: This phase marks the end or the last 14 days of the menstruation cycle where the estrogen tends to drop and the hormone progesterone is bound to rise. Now progesterone is responsible for providing nutrition to the fertilized ovum , in the absence its value tends to decline in the last week.
Effect on exercise: In this phase the insulin sensitivity is decreased , the body relies more on fat as fuel and the body temperature is set to rise. In this phase the body will crave for more sugars , keep a check and stay away from sugars as this time sugars would mean weight gain. Low impact , long duration exercise would be the most suited.
Your body’s own fat burning time zone.
Some girls would experience water retention due to PMS and might feel irritated because of the excess weight.