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Exercising with your cycle

When I first started to grapple the gym post birth I really struggled with motivation at certain points of the month. Little did I know at the time that my period had a significant impact on my energy levels and the type of exercise that I completed during parts of my cycle would have a negative/positive impact on how I felt.

Unlike men, who have a consistent hormonal production throughout the month, women are more complex. Let me explain this to you in most simple terms.

#1 - Follicular phase

This starts on the first day of your period. Despite the cramps and uncomfortable feelings during this time, cardio workouts are best suited to your hormones. Oestrogen hormone begins to rise, and with that endurance workouts may come easier to you. This is a really good time to eat well and ditch the simple carbohydrates found in breads and pasta.

#2 - Ovulation

This is where you release an egg, and if there is sperm present implantation will occur. Testosterone is at its peak so weight training during this part of your cycle is beneficial. Men have lots of testosterone throughout their lives and their hormones rarely change.

#3 - Post Ovulation / Luteal phase

I call this my hibernation phase. You may want to eat more carbs, do low intensity training such as Yoga, walking or Pilates. You may have very little energy for much at all. This is progesterone’s fault and you should really listen to your body during this time.

So the real message is if you feel overwhelmed with working out a week before your period this is NORMAL. Be kind to yourself.

If you want to lift heavy weights during ovulation GO FOR IT.

Go for those long walks during your period.

Listen to your body.

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