Author: Nikita Rungta, INFS visiting faculty
Women think that when we talk about menstrual cycles, it includes the 4-5 days of feeling grouchy, cramping and discomfort. However, the story is just not limited to this. A menstrual cycle is approximately a four-week process in which hormones like Estrogen, Testosterone and Progesterone rise and fall in a particular manner. Sometimes there may be a hormonal imbalance in the body and they affect majorly towards mood, energy, food cravings, sleep, and health. Hence, it is important to understand the different phases a female body goes through over the period of four weeks.
- Phase overview:
The menstruation cycle can be roughly divided into 3 phases. Each phase is unique and ruled by various hormones, therefore it is necessary to plan nutrition and training accordingly to gain maximum benefits. The four week i.e. 28 days phase begin with the Menstrual phase which marks the first day of the period. During this phase, the estrogen hormone is low in the beginning and increases steadily over the week. It is a great time to plan fitness goals and start working on it.
- Follicular phase-Best time to start a new fitness regime:
Next comes the Follicular Phase wherein estrogen rises to its peak and gives the body a burst of strength along with good mood and positivity. This phase is a great time to gain strength and build muscles. Along with estrogen, testosterone also increases here which gives you added capability to train better.
- Ovulation phase- Hit your PR:
Then comes the Ovulation Phase, this phase is characterized by dual hormones wherein progesterone rises and estrogen falls first and then rises higher than normal. Due to this hormonal pattern, this phase is optimum to aim for PRs. However, this phase is also injury prone due to high estrogen levels and hence extreme care should be taken towards good form and technique. Then finally the Luteal Phase strikes in.
- Luteal Phase- time to go easy:
During this phase, estrogen starts to fall and usually, women may feel irritated, depressed and low. However, a woman who trains regularly and takes good care of her nutrition may surpass any of these symptoms and may feel well during the entire cycle.
Hence, it is extremely important that a woman should train regularly and eat clean so that her hormones work in her favour and she can perform well irrespective of changing phases. In fact, menstruation cycle alone is one of the biggest reasons for different nutrition and training requirements for both the genders. While men have almost linear hormonal profile throughout the months and years, but in women, it’s kind of a zig-zag.
To understand more about the implication of these fluctuating hormone levels on the nutrition and training requirements of the female and to learn how you can effectively cycle your program according to the menstrual cycle, email at email@example.com to be on the advance mailing list to get your copy of INFS Health Series for Women: ’Girls Get Strong’.