STRONG LIKE A GIRL

When I was doing my Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification, I remember being so surprised to find no information about the menstrual cycle, menopause, and hormonal differences between man and woman in training. After all - women make more than half of the population, surely the menstrual cycle has an impact on our wellbeing and training. This inspired me to delve deeper and educate myself independently. I found an amazing female physiology researcher Stacy Sims and her great book Roar - if you are interested in this topic I highly recommend reading it! 

A paragraph from dr Stacy Sims book Roar 

''The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long although it can range between 21 - 35 days and is broken down into two 14 day phases. Your cycle begins on the day of your period starts. Day 1 to day 14 is called the follicular phase. Day 15 - 28 is the luteal phase. Ovulation happens right about in the middle. Rising and falling hormone levels can trigger all of it. 

As ironic as it might seem, your exercise physiology is most like to men during your period and the days that follow. And also you are stronger too! In one study of 20 active females, researchers found that the women could make greater strength gains and produce more force when they strength-trained during their low hormone phase (follicular) compared to training in the high hormone phase.''

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''So whenever you are working out, training or racing, it will feel easier when you are in follicular phase which starts on the first day of menstrual bleeding. Though there are very few specific studies on performance throughout the menstrual cycle, one study conducted on swimmers found that the women clocked their fastest times during menstruation and their slowest times during the premenstrual period.  

Interestingly, research shows that key performance indicators such as VO2 and lactic threshold remain constant throughout your cycle, so you can still score your personal best in endurance sports anytime in the month. ''