If you’re not, I encourage you to start and it goes far beyond knowing your ovulation window. Here’s why…
Full disclosure: I didn’t start doing this regularly until September of this year. Prior to this, I only cared that my period occurred regularly (I’ve had a prior history of irregular cycles in my younger years, so I watch for this) and because it has been consistent for the last few years, I figured all was good. Nothing else to see here! Or so I thought…
BUT, it turns out that it is just the tip of the iceberg!
I had no idea that knowing that understanding the natural hormone fluctuations that occur throughout the 28 days of my menstrual cycle could help me improve my athletic performance and optimize recovery. YUP! You read that correctly. And this isn’t just me, this is true for all active females.
“We are not small men. Stop eating and training like one” – Dr. Stacey Sims, PhD; author of “ROAR” (highly recommended).
Pairing your monthly cycle with specific phases of your training cycle has noticeable benefits for female athletes. Why is this discussion so new? For starters, years of sports and performance research has been conducted by male researchers on male athletes. This data was then extrapolated to apply to all athletes without considering the noticeable differences between male and female hormones cycles. Our female physiology is so incredibly different in comparison to our male counterparts, not to mention the added complication of birth control, so expecting our bodies to respond in the same way to the same physical stressors is insane!
However, I too was guilty of not realizing this until recently. This is another reason why we need more women in science/research. Now I can’t unsee this hormonal component, and it’s changing how I structure my own training, and the female runners I coach.
Do you want to learn about what phase of your cycle you want to push, when you want to maintain, and when you want to lighten the intensity so that your monthly training cycle equals net positive! Check out the graphics below for some added insight.