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3 Phases of Periods and Strength Training For Women

If you are new to exercise or a professional athlete, your fitness routine and personal goals will often be influenced by the monthly cycles of lady

3 Phases of Periods and Strength Training For Women

If you are new to exercise or a professional athlete, your fitness routine and personal goals will often be influenced by the monthly cycles of a woman. Understanding our bodies and how our hormones shift over the course of our cycle is a perfect way to prepare ahead and determine what types of exercise we will do, and when. This way we optimize our performance and take advantage of those improvements.

What's going on during the menstrual cycle?

Reproductive-age females undergo hormonal activity cycles that replicate at intervals of about one month. Through each period the body of a woman prepares for a possible pregnancy, whether it is the purpose of the woman or not. The term menstruation refers to the uterine lining being regularly shredded ("menstru" means "monthly").

The average menstrual cycle takes about 28 days and takes place in phases: the follicular phase, ovulation phase, and luteal phase.

The menstrual cycle comprises four major hormones: follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone.

3 Phases of Periods and Strength Training For Women

To better understand the process, let us break down the different phases of your cycle:

Phase Follicular

  • The first day you get your period starts, and lasts until you ovulate. At this time the follicles are maturing in your ovaries. The menstrual phase can last for the first two to seven days (depending on the person), during which time your body sheds blood and tissue from the lining of your uterus, as no pregnancy is present.
  • On the first day, estrogen is at its lowest level and increases gradually to stimulate follicular development.
  • The follicular phase is around 14 days in length.

Ovulation Phase

  • The ovaries then release a mature egg, and it becomes available for sperm fertilization.
  • Estrogen and luteinizing hormone ( LH) on the day of ovulation are at their peak.
  • Progesterone begins to rise, and the body temperature increases as well.

Luteal Period

  • Begins the day after ovulation until the day you begin your period.
  • In this phase, the uterus lining starts to thicken in order to prepare for a possible pregnancy.
  • Progesterone, estrogen, and body temperature increase during this phase but then begin to decrease if the egg is not fertilized.
  • This process lasts about 14 days and if the egg is not fertilized the cycle begins all over again.

Exercise Dependent on the Menstrual Cycle

If you're a reproductive age female and you get your period regularly, you may notice you 're feeling more tired, less motivated, and potentially weaker around certain times of the month. This is because train-related factors such as metabolic rate and strength are impacted along with normal hormone fluctuations.
  1. Menstruation: Even though during this phase of our process we are not all feeling up for strength training, this is not necessarily a time when our body needs to rest. During this process, our body temperature, insulin sensitivity, and metabolism rate should be at "baseline." If you feel up to it start training as usual.
  2. Follicular phase: This is the period of intense training due to the higher levels of testosterone. This improves your chances of muscle gain and increased strength. During this process, you may want to schedule your hardest and most intense strength workout routines. You may also find that during this phase of your period you have a higher tolerance to pain. During this process, your metabolic rate may be slightly lower, resulting in a small decrease in resting energy expenditure than normal. But that does not cause any changes in your workout.
  3. Ovulation: The second section of the follicular phase, which leads to ovulation, could be a good time for maximum strength training. However, a rise in estrogen can increase your risk of injury. Take proper precautions and warm-up before starting an intense workout.
  4. Luteal phase: The luteal phase can be a good time to reduce the intensity and get adequate rest after ovulation. You may feel tired or fatigue faster because of your already increased body temperature, which reduces your overall athletic performance. However, during the luteal process, the metabolic rate may be higher, and so you may use more calories at rest than during the follicular period. Your sensitivity to insulin may also be lower, so foods with healthier protein and fat, rather than carbohydrates, maybe a better choice. It's also possible that due to increased progesterone and decreased estrogen, your body may use more fat for fuel during this phase.

Advantages of Strength Training

Were you aware that inactive adults experience a 3 to 8 percent muscle loss or lean mass every decade? This is followed by a reduced metabolic resting rate and increased accumulation of fat. Studies have shown that only 10 weeks of resistance or strength training exercise can increase lean muscle mass by 1.4 kilograms, increase the metabolic resting rate by 7 percent, and reduce fat mass by 1.8 kilograms.

The strength/resistance training benefits include:

  • Improved physical performance and controlled movement
  • Gaining walking speed
  • Increased bone, muscle, and connective tissue strength (reducing injury risk)
  • Cognitive skills improved
  • Improved quality of life, with greater functional independence. 

Cycle Monitoring

Tracking your menstrual cycle will help you understand how such hormonal changes affect your body, and then schedule your exercise routine so that you can still meet your health and fitness goals. Tracking your process with free cell phone apps and websites built to do just that, has never been easier. It also operates the old-fashioned paper calendar.

You should also calculate your basal body temperature, in addition to monitoring your period. Take your temperature as soon as you wake up — your readings during the follicular phase will be lower, then peak after ovulation. Throughout the luteal phase, your basal body temperature remains higher into menstruation.

Physical Preparation and Oral Contraceptives

The literature on oral contraceptives and strength training suggests that you are unlikely to encounter any of the hormonal variations mentioned above if you use oral contraceptives or the patch. You can expect levels of estrogen and progestin to be steady throughout your cycle when using oral contraceptives or the patch, rather than the peaks and dips described earlier.

A steady hormone level may affect muscle gain or fat loss as compared to someone who is not using these medications, depending on the person and the oral contraceptives or patch used. Oral contraceptives also may cause insulin sensitivity to rising, but this should not have an impact on training sessions.

Over-exercising and Period Loss

Often some women may experience all of the loss of their menstrual cycle. The condition is known as amenorrhea. This is normal, after menopause and during pregnancy, before puberty. If you don't have a monthly period and don't fall into one of the three categories listed above, you might need to talk with your health care provider about your menstrual changes.

Amenorrhea can sometimes result from low body weight / fat, excessive exercise, or medication. In addition, problems with ovaries, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, or thyroid may result in secondary amenorrhea. If you experience a loss or delay in periods regularly, talk with your provider as something more serious may happen.

Some athletes, or women who are physically fit, can see amenorrhea as a sign of rough, intense, or productive training. Some people consider it as a remedy to a monthly annoyance and some do not even avoid worrying about the consequences. Missing your menstrual periods is often a sign of decreased levels of estrogen, which can lead to osteoporosis (a condition in which your bones become brittle and more susceptible to fractures or breaks). Osteoporosis usually affects older women but some younger women who exercise so much that they can stop their periods can develop this condition at a very early age. Some women athletes were found to have the bones of an 80-year-old woman in their 20s.

Overtraining can also result in decreased athletic performance, reduced ability to exercise or train at the desired intensity or duration levels, and increased injury risk.

Note, weight training and exercise is a good thing but it can be poor too much of any good thing.
3 Phases of Periods and Strength Training For Women

Go For Home Message

Hormones are "chemical messengers" which pass through the circulatory system and stimulate the action of specific cells or tissues. Recognizing that everybody's body is different is crucial, and allows us to relay different hormonal signals. Hormone forms and rates differ and can vary from person to person.

If you have doubts or concerns about your menstrual cycle, and/or your fitness and exercise schedule, please check with your provider. Some women with a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome ( PCOS), Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, or thyroid problems may experience irregular menstrual cycles. These and other conditions can complicate exercise, as your cycles vary from month to month.

Be patient. Be patient. If you don't feel like doing a scheduled workout on a specific day, it's cool to change things up. By pushing yourself to do an intense strength training session, causing extra tension will cause more harm than good. Remember to continue and listen to your body, why you are exercising!

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3 Phases of Periods and Strength Training For Women
If you are new to exercise or a professional athlete, your fitness routine and personal goals will often be influenced by the monthly cycles of lady
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