Let’s face it the menstrual cycle is something that maybe a chap should not be knowing more than most women
When I sat down and researched this, A LOT, it turns out that most women have no idea how to train with and around their monthly cycle.
Now I know what you gents are thinking, I don’t need to read this, well yes, you really do.
So let’s get into it.
The Monthly Cycle “MC” is typically 4 weeks or 28 days, for some they are shorter, some are longer.
The first two weeks are rather boringly called the Follicular Phase.
I’m going to call them the performance building and PB busting phase because that’s how you should view them.
It’s a time when you can, and should train at higher intensity, shorter rest periods or/and build power because the body is more anabolic thanks to the flood of Estrogen it’s getting.
It’s also good to know as you hit the end of week TWO you’ll get a sudden injection of Testosterone, trust me that’s good stuff.
Estrogen and testosterone is massive mood enhancer.
It’s literally a natural TUE, think Wonder Woman on steroid’s.
Those two hormones are the reason why you feel great and THE time that you should be able to bust out PB’s all over the place.
And because those two hormones are super elevated you’ll be able to recover quickly too.
Unfortunately, there is a down side.
And that starts in week three leading into and including week 4.
If you’re lucky you may hold onto your super power for a few days longer at the start of week 3 but after that things start to go downhill.
The Luteal phase: I’m going to call it “Gents NEVER ask for a new bike in this phase, phase” (See gents, I told you, you should read this)
It’s a time when you’re going to struggle with gaining any sort of PB. In week three you’ll notice a drop in your ability to work at intensity and week 4 you’ll struggle just that bit more.
There are some cool up sides to this phase.
In week 4 you’re less insulin sensitive which means if you train long and steady this week you’ll use more fat as fuel.
Ok so that does NOT mean chewing off tons of body fat.
Body fat loss is all about calories and energy balance remember.
What it does mean. When you train SLOW, long and EASY, eat less carbs and have more fats in your diet in week 4, you’ll improve metabolic flexibility, increase mitochondrial density and be rested ready for the next cycle.
But mother nature is a cruel mistress and the end of week 3 rolling into 4 is when cravings usually occur.
This is definitely NEVER the time to ask for a new bike chaps, you have been warned TWICE.
Now ladies listen up.
One thing I haven’t mentioned that may well help you have a better understanding of body image.
In week 1 and week 4 you’re going to hold more water weight.
That means you’re going to naturally put on weight.
Don’t panic, its normal, it will come off again.
The key take home is that its water weight,
NOTHING ELSE, I’ll say it again don’t panic.
So what does training round the “MC” look like ln the real world?
Progress in the first two weeks with a real focus of intensity at the end of the second falling into the week three.
Moderate training with reduced loads or longer time between intensity week three and in week 4 lighter easier endurance sessions.
So let’s wrap this up:
Take home points:
* First two weeks you are wonder woman, go for it.
* Third and fourth week NOT so much and won’t be able to smash out PBS
* Gents don’t even think about asking for new Bike in week 3 or 4.
Thanks for reading
Simon de Burgh
2 X Winner of Gym Based PT
Level 2 British Triathlon Coach
Performance & Nutrition Director