Red haired woman wearing grey and black activewear (Coach Ashlyn) performing a barbell snatch. Ashlyn's tips and tricks.

Exercise According to Your Period

exercise exercise behaviors hormones mindful practice strength training training workouts Oct 02, 2020

In this blog post, I talked about the female menstrual cycle and some common (but not normal) symptoms that are associated with that time of the month.

Have you ever noticed that you feel different in the gym at certain times of the month?

Do you notice when you’re feeling sluggish? Unmotivated? Fatigued? Bloated? Energized? Strong? Fast? Lean?

Good news! It's not in your head, and you didn't just wake up weaker!

Your menstrual cycle plays a role in your strength training sessions, and I’ll teach you how to use that to your advantage to get the most out of your workouts and keep your body as happy as possible. 


Your Period and Your Workouts


Our hormones fluctuate throughout the month to prepare for possibly creating another human. In order to do this, the body has to shift its energy and focus on other bodily processes.

I promise your body doesn't care how much you can squat if it's trying to create life.

Let's take a look at what your performance looks like during the different phases of your cycle:


Follicular Phase (Days 1-14)

Your estrogen increases.

You’ll likely notice that your mood and energy increase.

Your aerobic capacity increases.

Your body is more insulin sensitive.

Your strength and overall performance may increase.


Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)

Your estrogen decreases, and progesterone increases.

Your strength and overall performance may decrease a tad (this is temporary).

You may feel more fatigued and notice changes in your mood.

Your cravings might increase.

Your bloating and water retention may increase.

Your body will be less insulin sensitive.


Align Your Workouts with Your Cycle

Although it’s not required for everyone and it may not be necessary for you, based on this information, you could experiment with adjusting your workouts during different times of your cycle. 


During Your Period

Many individuals feel better when they slow down during the first few days of their menstrual cycle. 

At KJO Coaching, we don’t recommend fully stopping workouts because there are so many benefits of regular exercise, and your period shouldn’t impede your life that much. 

Slowing down just means taking it a little easier with your workouts. 

You will likely find that your period cramps will be relieved if you do light training during this time. 



Your estrogen levels will be higher in the pre-ovulation phase of your cycle, which means your body will be better prepared to build muscle. 

We recommend that you prioritize strength training at this time. 

You may also notice that your libido, mood, and motivation increase right before you start to ovulate. 


During Ovulation

Many individuals find morning workouts to be the best during the ovulation phase because of the increased energy they’re experiencing. 

Your progesterone and blood sugar also rise during your ovulation phase, so you’ll want to ensure you’re prioritizing high-quality foods. 



The post-ovulation phase is when your body temperature increases and your coordination decreases, which may also mean your performance will decrease slightly. 

Post-ovulation might be the best time to focus on restorative exercises such as yoga.


Exercise With Your Cycle, Not Against It


In short, if you want to optimize your workouts throughout your menstrual cycle, opt for more strength training during the first half of your cycle and more calming, restorative exercises like yoga, walking, hiking, and accessory work during the second half of your cycle!

Again, this isn’t a requirement. Most of the women we work with feel good throughout their cycle and don’t require significant changes to their workout schedule at all! 

If you would like to get more guidance on training to support your menstrual cycle as well as your mindset, the KJO Coaching team would be thrilled to help you out. 

We specialize in helping busy, high-achieving women like you prioritize themselves so they can love the way they look and feel. 

We take a personalized approach to help you prioritize your health, fitness, wellness, and mindset so you can spend less time worrying about what to eat or how to get enough workouts.

Click here to learn more about working with our stellar team of coaches. 


And if you want to get a head start on your strength training sessions, check out this FREE 4-week sample training guide

You’ll get the tools you need to get started on your fitness journey, including workouts, videos, and terminology to help you make the most of this free guide. 

Get yours here!

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Hi, I'm Kasey!

I coach, mentor, write, and teach with one main focus: Build strong bodies and healthy lifestyles, starting with your mindset.


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