It can be beneficial to adjust your workout routine to match the different phases of your menstrual cycle.
Tailoring your exercise routine to your cycle could help you understand your body better as well as improve your fitness more efficiently.
Amanda Place, award-winning personal trainer and founder of Sculptrition, has explained how you can exercise "in tune" with your cycle.
"Exercising is an essential aspect of maintaining good health, and it is essential to perform it in a way that benefits your body," Amanda begins. "The menstrual cycle is an important aspect of women's health, and it can impact the way women exercise."
Menstrual Phase (Days 1-5)
During this time in your cycle, you may find that you are feeling more tired than usual and want to slow down.
"During the menstrual phase, it's normal to feel tired and low in energy," the trainer explains. "Therefore, it's advisable to take it easy and opt for low-intensity exercises like yoga, walking or stretching. These exercises will help ease menstrual cramps and help you relax."
Follicular Phase (Days 6-14)
During the follicular phase, it is common for your energy levels to rise, which will allow you to push yourself.
"As oestrogen levels increase during the follicular phase, energy levels and endurance improve," Amanda says. "This makes it an ideal time to engage in cardio workouts like running, cycling, and swimming. Resistance training can also be added to the mix to build strength."
Ovulatory Phase (Days 15-18)
This phase is a great time to get into the gym and challenge yourself with more intense workouts.
"The ovulatory phase is when oestrogen levels are at their peak, and you are most fertile. This is a great time to engage in high-intensity workouts like HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), Circuit or Tabata workouts, as you will have increased endurance and energy levels," she suggests.
Luteal Phase (Days 19-28)
While you are going through this phase, you will most likely notice a dip in both your energy and mood, so it is best to take it easy.
"During the luteal phase, oestrogen and progesterone levels decrease, which can lead to mood swings, cramps, and fatigue," Amanda states. "Low-impact exercises like Pilates, swimming, and yoga are ideal during this phase. It's also important to focus on core strength training, as it can help ease menstrual cramps."
Pre-Menstrual Phase (Days 28-1)
Towards the end of your cycle, you might be experiencing PMS (premenstrual syndrome), which can often be helped with low-impact exercises.
"As your menstrual cycle draws to a close, you may experience PMS symptoms like bloating and fatigue," the personal trainer explains. "Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga are still ideal during this phase. You can also engage in activities like dancing or boxing to help elevate your mood."
Amanda adds, "By adjusting your exercise routine to match the different phases of your menstrual cycle, you can minimise the effects of hormonal changes on your body and maximise the results of your workouts."