Cycle timing is this year’s wellness buzzword for good reason; It is believed that aligning your lifestyle choices with your menstrual cycle has many benefits, ranging from improving your mood and focus to your skin, diet, and fitness.
Optimized training for women is something athletes have long been used to, but it has the potential to have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of anyone, whether it is exercise. intensive or not.
“Your menstrual cycle can have an extremely beneficial impact on your exercise and vice versa,” says Dr Ajai Seth, sports and exercise medicine consultant at London Bridge Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK. “Hormonal fluctuations during the cycle can positively influence your energy levels and performance. In addition, the release of endorphin and serotonin during and after exercise has an antidepressant effect and improves mood, helping us to overcome menstrual symptoms. These hormones can also relieve pain like cramps and bloating by helping digestion.
However, he notes that it’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different and we don’t all react to hormonal fluctuations the same way. Additionally, menstrual cycle lengths can vary widely – so a “one size fits all” approach cannot be adopted for cycle timing.
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Hailing from New York, the P.Volve dynamic fitness method has caught up with the times with its new clinic-supported cycle synchronization program called “Phase and Function”.
With a team of experts behind it – from certified trainers to an obstetrician-gynecologist, nutritionist, health coach and more – the virtual series intends to tailor your movement, meals and state of mind. to the ebb and flow of your hormones.
Personalized for you (tracked via details of your period and cycle times and length), it provides an individualized training and nutrition plan, as well as expert-led education for all four phases of the cycle. menstrual; menstrual, follicular, ovulatory and luteal. The results can mean reduced PMS, increased energy and performance as well as better weight management.
If you want to explore the idea without commitment, Dr. Seth explains the basics of aligning your exercise program with your cycle.
When and how to train around your cycle
Note: The first day of your cycle is the first day of your period. “During your period at the start of your cycle, progesterone and estrogen levels are at their lowest, which can lead to low energy and mood swings,” says Dr. Seth. “However, during the first 14 days of your cycle (the follicular phase) your body adapts and responds better to strength training than in the later stages of your cycle. strength and muscle mass during this time, therefore, he suggests incorporating strength routines (such as Pilates and weight training) with light cardio during this time to maximize this effect.
“At the time of ovulation (day 14) there is an increase in estrogen and testosterone levels,” confirms Dr. Seth. “Many athletes time their performances and exercise stress training during this time to maximize their results. Higher intensity and training volumes may be more achievable mid-cycle, he advises.
“During the last 14 days of the cycle – the luteal phase – progesterone levels start to rise and may have a more depressant effect. This is the time when women should increase serotonin and endorphin levels to relieve these symptoms, but recognizing that there may be a slight decrease in performance. He suggests “regular training with a slightly lower intensity may be more appropriate during this time.”
Of course, in addition to the benefits of exercise on your cycle, always keep the potential negative effects in mind. “If you think exercise is negatively affecting your cycle and you have missing periods, it definitely requires further investigation to make sure your metabolic balance is correct,” notes Dr. Seth.
Diet and your cycle
In the P.Volve program, meals are where much of the personalized experience comes into play. Registered dietitian Vanessa Rissetto, who designed the nutrition part of “Phase and Function”, explains that she curated nutritional options that complement workouts “to properly fuel your body based on your hormones”.
Indeed, a tailor-made approach is always recommended when synchronizing the cycle of your diet. “Calorie expenditure throughout the menstrual cycle is very individualized,” says Dr. Seth. “There are so many variables that affect our metabolic activity and our calorie expenditure in everyday life.” That said, he notes that some evidence suggests that women are more likely to crave high-fat, sugary foods during the later stages of their period (luteal phase) before menstruation, “which might suggest an answer. natural to the increase in calories. burn during this phase ”.
He says the key is to listen to your body’s needs when it comes to appetite, fatigue, and mood and respond with the right exercise plan. “Keeping a balanced diet throughout your cycle, but also adjusting your calorie intake to your volume and intensity of exercise, will always ensure you are getting the right amount of energy. ”
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