90: How to match up your exercise with your cycle (even if yours is 60+ days long!)
Do you find that some weeks you’re hitting personal bests, smashing your exercise goals and making progress with your fitness and other weeks you struggle to find the motivation, you can’t quite hit those personal bests you set and you fatigue far quicker in your workouts than usual?
If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. We expect ourselves to be able to smash through spin classes, HIIT classes and lifting heavy weights all month long. But that’s actually not the most effective way for us to train as women!
The thing is as women, we aren’t small men, as Dr Stacey Sims puts so fabulously.
So we’re not working with the same stock standard hormone levels day-in day-out. Your husband, partner, friend or brother may be able to lift heavy or cycle really hard on any given day as long as he’s had enough rest. Whereas some days you’re keeping up with him well and others you just don’t know why you’re finding it so hard to push yourself like you usually do.
Cycles and menstruation are usually seen as a disadvantage to our fitness and athletic performance but they’re actually our greatest power!
If we can create an exercise regime that fits around our cycle, we can make waves with our fitness! It’s just about understanding what your hormones are doing and pairing up your exercise to suit. “But Clare, how do I know how to do that?” you ask? Well luckily for you, that’s what today’s episode is all about!
Some of you have been curious about training and exercise with your cycle – and I can understand why! It’s something we’ve not really touched on yet on the podcast but it’s a really interesting (and important) topic.
Regardless of if you’re an athlete or not, plug in your headphones and listen to this episode! If you want to learn more about how to harness the power of your menstrual cycle (in this case in your exercise) to be the healthiest version of yourself as possible, you’ll want to tune in.
This episode is for you if:
- You struggle with training at some times of the month and not others
- Period pain stops you from exercising
- You want to know how hormonal birth control will impact your training
- You train competitively
- Motivation for training fluctuates throughout the month for you
- You’re going into perimenopause or you’re a menopausal woman and want to know the impacts on your exercise
- You wonder why you can’t train as hard as your male counterparts on some days but are fine on others
- Your cycles are regular (23-35 days)
- Your cycles are more than 35 days
- You are on hormonal contraception
Some things we cover in this episode:
- The different phases of your menstrual cycle and the hormones that are present in each
- When your hormones are at their highest and lowest
- Why you get light headed, fatigued and have to stop training at certain points of your cycle
- When in your cycle to do more exercise and when to do less
- Best exercises to relieve period cramps
- Exercise on your period – good or bad?
- How to match your exercise with the different phases of your cycle
- How to schedule your exercise if you’re on hormonal birth control
- If you have long cycles, how to match your training with the phases of your cycle
- How to schedule your exercise if you’re in perimenopause or menopausal
Resources and References:
- ROAR by Stacey Sims
- Rundown? Underperforming? Research Shows You’re Likely Undernourished
- Dr Sim’s website
- Young female athletes: the Pill is not the answer
- Menstrual cycle affects female athletes
- Women and endurance running part one: how to train with your cycle
- CoachCast: Optimizing Physiology with Stacy Sims
- Train like a girl: optimising nutrition and training for women