Myth:

 

I shouldn’t exercise when on my period

Busting it:

Of course you can train on your period, but it is important to be mindful that your menstrual cycle can influence your metabolic state and results from training. Hormones estrogen and progesterone impact fat gain and loss due to their direct impact as well as effect on other hormones.

 

Our menstrual cycle (here I’m talking about pre-menopausal women and those who are not using oral contraceptives):

  • The start of your cycle begins immediately after you finish the follicular phase from day 0 to 14, during this phase there is an increased estrogen and normal progesterone and an average body temperature.

 

  • From here we move to ovulation phase around day 14 this is where our estrogen levels and progesterone levels start to peak.

 

  • From days 15 to 28 this is the luteal phase where estrogen declines, progesterone increases and our body temperature remains higher than baseline.

 

Our menstrual cycle has a huge influence on a females metabolic state and exercise results:

 

  • The follicular phase in our cycles is when women should focus on progress – this is characterised by a higher tolerance for pain and increased levels of endurance; during this time our insulin sensitivity also increases hence allowing us to use more carbohydrates to fuel the session. This is the best time for HIIT training and sprinting.

 

  • The ovulation phase in our cycles is when women are more prone to injury but you will also notice that strength levels will still be high.

 

  • The luteal phase in our cycles is when the body will rely on more fat as a fuel source our body temperatures will be higher and in addition to this you may be retaining excess water due to PMS making, during this phase doing workouts that utilize fat as fuel is a better choice; this is also a good time for active recovery or deloading in strength training.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Kitty Chao