The benefits of adapting your training to your menstrual cycle (and how to do it)

4 minutes 15 secondes
Did you know that your menstrual cycle could be more important than you thought for choosing which sport or activity you should do daily? In this article, we share everything you need to know to adjust your workout schedule with your menstrual cycle.

The benefits of adapting your training to your menstrual cycle (and how to do it)

Do you crush your cardio one week and the next week you just want to crash on your mat? Understanding how your hormones impact your training allows you to choose the best form of movement for your body, no matter where you are in your menstrual cycle.

Health professionals and wellness experts have recently started emphasizing the importance of modifying your exercise routine throughout the month to match your hormone levels. Functional nutritionist Alisa Vitti first introduced this concept to menstruating people in her book WomenCode.

People who workout in sync with their cycle often experience mental and physical benefits, including better sleep, reduced PMS, and increased energy. It's worth trying, isn't it?


What are the benefits of adapting your training with your menstrual cycle?

Planning your workouts around your menstrual cycle can help you work in tune with your metabolism, increasing the effectiveness of your workout. Your metabolism shifts gears and your resting cortisol levels change in a cyclical fashion.

Since they aren't the same every day, it doesn't make sense to eat the same amount of calories or do the same types of workouts or intensity every day. You can match your calorie intake, workout type, and intensity to each phase of your menstrual cycle to optimize the use of stored fat as fuel and build muscle mass more efficiently.

Not only does syncing your training to your cycle help you burn more fat and build more muscle, it also invites you to reconnect with your body.

Once I took the pressure off of exercising at maximum intensity every day of the month, I could listen to what my body needed. Some days I had the energy to run outdoors, other days I just wanted to stretch on my yoga mat. No matter the day, I knew I was moving in a way that matched my hormones and energy level.

Which workout to choose for each phase of your menstrual cycle



Menstrual phase

During your menstrual phase (aka when you bleed), your estrogen and progesterone reservoir is at its lowest. This can cause you to have low energy and generally feel less social. If you feel you need to go slower, listen to your body. Replace your high-intensity workouts with something more restorative, like walking or gentle yoga.

Research shows that an hour of strenuous activity during your period can increase the risk of exercise-induced inflammation. You don't want to feel sore muscles on top of a sore uterus, so give yourself permission to skip HIIT during this phase.


Follicular phase

Your follicular phase begins on the first day of your period and ends at ovulation. In the middle of your follicular phase, your estrogen and progesterone begin to rise. You will likely notice increased energy and begin to feel more social. This is a great time to check out a group fitness class with a faster pace or see if a friend wants to join you for a run outside.

Ovulatory phase

During ovulation, you experience a spike in estrogen and testosterone, and your body is at its most fertile. You'll probably feel full of energy, so now's a great time to hit fitness PRs (personal bests), like your max squat or your fastest 5K..

Thanks to your higher hormone levels, you are also more energetic and confident, the perfect time to step out of your training comfort zone.


Luteal phase

After ovulation, you enter the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle. High levels of progesterone will cause your energy to drop and you may feel a greater need to be in your bubble. When you notice your energy dropping, take your workouts down a notch. Replace high-intensity workouts with light circuit training, nature walks, and yoga.

It's also a good idea to do your workouts indoors if you live in a warmer climate. Since your basal body temperature is higher during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, you may notice a decrease in your athletic performance when you train in hot weather.

Click here to discover our 3 favorite products to support our hormones and our menstrual cycle


By Marie-Pier Deschênes
Menstrual wellness educator, Certified IICT 


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