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Embracing Strength – Women, Workouts, And The Wisdom Of The Menstrual Cycle

Written by: Kate Georgiadis, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Kate Georgiadis

As we celebrate International Women's Day, it's crucial to acknowledge women’s unique challenges and strengths, especially regarding physical fitness and health. A topic that often surfaces in conversations among female athletes and fitness enthusiasts is the impact of the menstrual cycle on training performance. The complexity of hormonal fluctuations has historically led to a research bias towards male-centric results, leaving a gap in understanding the nuances of women's responses to strength training. Yet, as a strength and conditioning coach, I've delved into the latest research to provide guidance on how to adapt to these cyclical changes, enabling you to manage and optimize your training throughout the cycle effectively.


Group of happy women sitting on stairs

The menstrual cycle: A natural rhythm of strength and recovery


Ladies, your menstrual cycle introduces a range of hormonal changes, each phase presenting unique challenges and opportunities for your training. During menstruation, when energy might be lower, consider this a time for rest and recovery. Opt for gentle exercise, focus on a lower-carb diet rich in iron and vitamin C, and manage stress to ease heavy flows. As you move into the follicular phase, the rise in estrogen boosts your energy and creativity, making it the perfect time for high-intensity workouts. You can take advantage of your body's increased insulin sensitivity by incorporating more carbs into your diet. Ovulation brings a peak in estrogen, heightening your creativity, energy, and desire for social interaction. However, be cautious, as this phase also increases your risk of tendon injuries. Opt for moderate exercise and a carb-focused diet to aid estrogen metabolism, and embrace high-energy activities while listening to your body's signals. Entering the early luteal stage, with progesterone on the rise, you might feel more inward-focused. Lower-intensity workouts and a diet favoring fats over carbs can be beneficial during this time, adapting to your shifting mood and energy levels. Lastly, the late luteal phase may intensify PMS symptoms, suggesting dialing down workout intensity and choosing foods that help stabilize your mood, like tryptophan-rich foods and seeds that support progesterone levels.

 

Now, remember that these suggestions are not one-size-fits-all prescriptions. Your body is unique, and you may find that you don't need to make drastic changes to your routine if you're feeling good throughout your cycle. These insights are here to empower you with knowledge—so if there are days when you're feeling less than your best, it's perfectly okay. It's all about understanding the science behind your body's rhythms and responding with kindness and flexibility to your needs. Listening to your body and adjusting accordingly is key. This journey is about education and adaptation, ensuring you're equipped to make the best decisions for your health and well-being at any stage of your cycle.

 

This International Women's Day, let's commit to a deeper understanding of our bodies and foster a fitness culture that recognizes and respects the intricate dance of hormones that influence our strength, health, and well-being.


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Kate Georgiadis Brainz Magazine
 

Kate Georgiadis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kate Georgiadis is a pioneer in women's fitness and empowerment, combining her Master’s in Education and Psychology with a dual Master’s in Exercise Science, specializing in Strength, Conditioning, and Sports Performance. An advocate for holistic wellness, her methods focus on Empowerment, Education, and Community. Offering personal training, group classes, and nutritional coaching, Kate and her company help women excel in their health, careers, and social lives. She has guided hundreds in surpassing fitness goals while creating a supportive community where every woman’s fitness journey is shared, celebrated, and sustained.

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