Alisa Vitti, a women’s hormonal health specialist explains how to change your fitness choices to suit your fluctuating hormones – at last a biological reason you don’t want to workout at certain times
Where you are in your cycle can determine your routine at the gym. Following your cycle will allow you to make the most of your workout by answering your body’s needs and wants based on fluctuating hormones. This will explain why you feel less motivated to do insanely intense workouts like weight or P T training when you’re on your period, rather than the weeks before.
There are four distinct phases to your menstrual cycle. These phases are then the determinants of how intense your workout should be and what types of exercises would be most beneficial for your body. As the phases move closer in time to your period, your workouts should slow down and become more body comfort driven.
Time for Class — The Follicular Phase (7 to 10 days)
In this phase, the body is preparing to release an egg from the ovary. Hormones are at a lower plateau level, which is what gives you the higher levels of energy you feel. At this time cardio and gym classes are the best options for your body. You want to take this time to try new things like the cycling or boxing classes you’ve always wanted to do at the gym. The clean energy you get in this cycle is what will drive your motivation to do the newer workouts or classes you want.
Increase the Intensity — The Ovulatory Phase (3 to 4 days)
This phase occurs at the middle of the menstrual cycle and is when your body produces more of the luteinizing hormone that triggers the release of the egg. Your body also produces more testosterone and oestrogen at this time, which is what puts your energy levels at their peak. When going to the gym, this is when you want to plan to push yourself. You can do exercises like plyometrics or high intensity interval training to get the most out of those energy bursts.
Start to Slowdown — The Luteal Phase (10 to 14 days)
After ovulation, your body hits the luteal phase where the lining of the uterus thickens to prepare for a possible pregnancy. This phase is usually felt as two separate halves. In the beginning you will still feel your oestrogen and progesterone levels increasing and another surge of testosterone. Workouts that are intense are perfect at this time. You can really take advantage of strength training.
During the second half of the luteal phase, oestrogen and progesterone levels decline in the body. This might make you feel a little more fatigued than normal, and is the best time to slow down during your workouts. Walking, yoga or Pilates classes are great workout options. You want to make sure that you’re still enjoying your workouts without pushing yourself too much because your energy is lower than usual.
Take a Rest — The Menstrual Phase (3 to 7 days)
This might be your least favourite part of the cycle — your period. The most important thing to do at this time is to listen to what your body wants. If your feeling tired on the first few days don’t feel like you have to continue your intense training. Take this time to follow what your body wants and try taking a walk or a slow yoga class. You can even just take a nap. When your body is feeling depleted on the first day, resting can be the best form of exercise that day. It’s important to remember, that when working out while on your period you will be burning adrenal energy, which can make you feel even more fatigued and worn out.
Matching the phases of your cycle to your workout plans will benefit your body’s needs, while allowing you to get the most out of your physical activity.
Alisa Vitti has degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, where she fine-tuned her unique functional nutrition approach to helping women correct their own hormonal imbalances and chronic GYN issues using medicinal foods, exercise, supplements, and lifestyle modifications. Alisa and her team have worked with thousands of women from five continents to help them improve menstrual disturbances, get pregnant naturally, and boost their energy and libido. She also helps women live their best and most powerful lives by owning and operating their biochemistry and feminine energy. Alisa’s five-step program, FLO Living, is a trusted resource for many GYN and IVF specialists who want to recommend a natural solution for their patients. Alisa has been featured in various traditional media outlets including CBS News, Huffington Post, Fox Business News, Life & Style, Natural Health UK, and various internet vlogs. She is an expert blogger for CrazySexyLife.com, SavvyAuntie.com FertilityAuthority.com and healthista.com
Find out more in Alisa Vitti’s book Woman Code (£12.99 Hay House) out now or log on to Alisa’s website floliving.com