Adapting Nutrition & Exercise During Your Menstrual Cycle

Understanding your monthly hormonal shifts can help you to maximize your hormonal power to avoid burnout and keep you mindful of your body’s fluctuations in energy levels and nutritional needs.

The following tables provide some generalized recommendations for exercise intensities and fueling strategies that can help you to provide the best support for your body throughout the month.

Exercise

  • It’s still encouraged exercise during your period if you can!
  • Exercise can help some women have fewer painful cramps during menstruation if they exercise regularly.
  • There are almost no risks to regular physical activity, like walking, which may also help you feel better during your period.
  • Your menstrual cycle can affect energy levels, which could impact your mood and motivation to train, but there’s no health reason to stop exercising.
  • Try using a specialised app to track where you’re at in your cycle (Flo, Natural Cycles, My Flo, Clue)
  • A woman's menstrual cycle has different phases; the menstrual, follicular, ovulation, and luteal phases

Phase Exercise recommendations
Menstrual Focus on doing light exercise such as gentle yoga or walking rather than pushing yourself.
Follicular Your hormones are still low in this phase which may cause low stamina, but you can focus on exercise that works up a light sweat like light cardio (hiking, easy runs, easy swimming, more flow-based yoga that works up a sweat.)
Ovulatory Energy is higher in this phase maximizing your potential. Try high-intensity interval workouts like spin classes and circuit training.
Luteal Energy levels are low as your body prepares for another cycle. Opt for light to moderate exercise including strength training, Pilates and more intense versions of yoga.

Nutrition

Imbalances in your hormones are largely triggered by eating the wrong types of foods so aim to remove or limit sugar, alcohol and caffeine especially during the menstrual phase.

Focus on eating whole foods throughout your cycle to balance your hormones and you may be better able to manage blood sugar, cravings and mood swings if you eat every 3-4 hours.

Phase Food recommendations
Menstrual Estrogen is on the rise so avoid or limit fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, and salty foods and instead drink soothing teas like chamomile to combat cramps.
Follicular Digestive health is very important during this phase. Try to incorporate foods that will metabolize estrogen: sprouted and fermented foods like broccoli sprouts, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
Ovulatory Estrogen is highest in this phase so focus on foods that support your liver by including more anti-inflammatory foods like whole fruits, vegetables, and nuts like almonds.
Luteal Estrogen and progesterone surge and wane during this phase so eat serotonin producing foods like leafy greens, quinoa, buckwheat. You also should aim to focus on magnesium-rich foods that fight fatigue like spinach and pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate in moderation. During this phase, avoid/limit alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, red meat, dairy, and added salt. Fluid needs increase during this phase so pay attention to your water intake. Of note is that during this phase, carbohydrates become critical to fuel exercise so don’t skimp on your whole grains and starchy veggies. Lastly, your protein needs increase slightly so ensure that you have protein with each meal and snack.

Above all remember that everyone is different, so you will have to adjust your exercise and food intake according to how you feel. Speak to your coach if you have any questions!

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Adapting Nutrition & Exercise During Your Menstrual Cycle

Understanding your monthly hormonal shifts can help you to maximize your hormonal power to avoid burnout and keep you mindful of your body’s fluctuations in energy levels and nutritional needs.

The following tables provide some generalized recommendations for exercise intensities and fueling strategies that can help you to provide the best support for your body throughout the month.

Exercise

  • It’s still encouraged exercise during your period if you can!
  • Exercise can help some women have fewer painful cramps during menstruation if they exercise regularly.
  • There are almost no risks to regular physical activity, like walking, which may also help you feel better during your period.
  • Your menstrual cycle can affect energy levels, which could impact your mood and motivation to train, but there’s no health reason to stop exercising.
  • Try using a specialised app to track where you’re at in your cycle (Flo, Natural Cycles, My Flo, Clue)
  • A woman's menstrual cycle has different phases; the menstrual, follicular, ovulation, and luteal phases

Phase Exercise recommendations
Menstrual Focus on doing light exercise such as gentle yoga or walking rather than pushing yourself.
Follicular Your hormones are still low in this phase which may cause low stamina, but you can focus on exercise that works up a light sweat like light cardio (hiking, easy runs, easy swimming, more flow-based yoga that works up a sweat.)
Ovulatory Energy is higher in this phase maximizing your potential. Try high-intensity interval workouts like spin classes and circuit training.
Luteal Energy levels are low as your body prepares for another cycle. Opt for light to moderate exercise including strength training, Pilates and more intense versions of yoga.

Nutrition

Imbalances in your hormones are largely triggered by eating the wrong types of foods so aim to remove or limit sugar, alcohol and caffeine especially during the menstrual phase.

Focus on eating whole foods throughout your cycle to balance your hormones and you may be better able to manage blood sugar, cravings and mood swings if you eat every 3-4 hours.

Phase Food recommendations
Menstrual Estrogen is on the rise so avoid or limit fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, and salty foods and instead drink soothing teas like chamomile to combat cramps.
Follicular Digestive health is very important during this phase. Try to incorporate foods that will metabolize estrogen: sprouted and fermented foods like broccoli sprouts, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
Ovulatory Estrogen is highest in this phase so focus on foods that support your liver by including more anti-inflammatory foods like whole fruits, vegetables, and nuts like almonds.
Luteal Estrogen and progesterone surge and wane during this phase so eat serotonin producing foods like leafy greens, quinoa, buckwheat. You also should aim to focus on magnesium-rich foods that fight fatigue like spinach and pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate in moderation. During this phase, avoid/limit alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, red meat, dairy, and added salt. Fluid needs increase during this phase so pay attention to your water intake. Of note is that during this phase, carbohydrates become critical to fuel exercise so don’t skimp on your whole grains and starchy veggies. Lastly, your protein needs increase slightly so ensure that you have protein with each meal and snack.

Above all remember that everyone is different, so you will have to adjust your exercise and food intake according to how you feel. Speak to your coach if you have any questions!

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