Menstrual cycles are one of those things in life that most women have a bit of love-hate relationship with. From food cravings to low energy to abdominal cramps, sometimes it can feel like your reproductive system is plotting against you, but it really isn’t! By having a good understanding of your cycle and taking control of it, you can make the most of your month and the helpful hormones your body produces.
The Fit Follicular Phase
This is the first phase of your cycle starting with your period (Day 1) and ending around the time of ovulation (Day 13-14*). It is called the Follicular Phase because this is when hormones called Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are secreted by the pituitary to assist with the maturing of follicles where the egg is held. Once the follicles have matured, an egg is released for ovulation. During this time; there is also a surge of estrogen and luteinizing hormone (LH).
This phase is a fantastic time to focus on heavier weight training schedules and moderate intensity cardio exercise with lengthier duration. This is because estrogen can influence insulin and cortisol (which are fuel regulating hormones) and help the body to decide whether to burn sugar or fat. Estrogen opposes cortisol’s action as well as making the body more sensitive to insulin. This means there will be less fat storage and more tolerance for starchy foods. This is usually the best time for lean muscle gain.
During this time, filling up on food with protein, good fats, vitamin B9 and B12 is excellent for rebuilding your body after your period and also maintaining muscle health. If you’re planning to get fit with your follicular phase, make sure to get your body checked for any imbalances and also discuss some injury prevention tips!
*based on a 28 day cycle
Lydia Feng is a chiropractor at the Kings Cross clinic.
Call 8354 1534 to make a booking.