There is no physical wellness without cycle care
30th March 2022
A key trend in cycle tracking that is seeing growing traction is the alignment of fitness and ability to exert yourself with the stages of your cycle. There are more than 150 symptoms of the menstrual cycle which often means that training or exercise feels more arduous.
2 in 4 of our respondents said they regularly take breaks in their exercise routine based on how they feel, citing menstruation as the main reason. 1 in 4 respondents said that chronic pain (including endometriosis or heightened period cramping) stopped them from training for far longer time frames.
It’s important to consider how your cycle affects your risk of injury during training. A recent meta-review of studies found the risk was highest in the days leading up to ovulation, when oestrogen is high, whereas the luteal phase was associated with the lowest risk. This is still an evolving field of research but it's worth paying extra attention to stretching and warming up in your follicular phase.
The science behind your hormones
Week 1 Flow Phase:
We all experience our periods entirely differently, so during your flow Phase, your workout should be tailored to target your symptoms, whether that’s abdominal cramps, heavy legs, fatigue.
Week 2 Soar Phase:
During this phase of your cycle, oestrogen levels are on the rise. Your muscles adapt better, recover better, and fatigue less, making it a great time to push your workouts and go for gains.
Week 3 Transform Phase:
Progesterone is on the rise. Your metabolism switches to preferring fat as your main source of fuel, making it an excellent time for longer, steady-state endurance sessions. Go slow and strong!
Week 4 Rest Phase:
This is a time to choose feel-good fitness as your hormones nose-dive. As with the period phase, we all experience different symptoms across our Pre-menstrual Phase, so now its time to revert to your tailored workout.
Low-intensity workout while on your period. Recommended by our FEWE fitness expert Emma Simpson (@emloupt)
30 seconds on, 15 seconds rest
Warm-up - 1min Knee Slams & Toe Tummy Sky Touch’s
- Standing knee to elbow left
- Standing knee to elbow right
- Squat and arm raise
- Glute bridges
- Push up to floor stretch out
- Ankle taps core
- Donkey kicks
- Plank shoulder taps
- Slow mountain climbers
- Dead bug alternating
- Bear crawl hold
- Fire Hydrant’s
- Leg Raises
- Knee Slams
Most workout plans/programmes and apps that we regularly see advertised do not adapt your routine to fit your cycle - it's typically one size fits all. However, there are a handful of apps such as WildAI and Jennis. Frame Gyms also have a great selection of workout classes tailored to your cycle.