Training & Nutrition Around Your Monthly Cycle For Better Body Results

By Emma Colsey | Uncategorized

May 06

Training & Nutrition Around Your Monthly Cycle For Better Results

We often get told that to lose body fat we just need to move more and eat less. And whilst in it’s simplistic form, yes that sometimes IS the case.

You will certainly benefit from starting to move your body more and eating less shit. Let’s not overcomplicate things where we don’t need to.

If you prefer to watch/listen in video format see below, or if you prefer to read, then keep on reading below.

Work with your body, not against it!

The eat less move more model that is often pushed is based upon outdated science. Meaning that most of the research behind fat loss was done on male college athletes. Ever done a weight loss programme with your husband and the weight just falls off him?? Yeah go figure!!

Is it that young male trainer that is just telling you to get into a calorie fucking deficit?

Yeah nice one mate, in theory, it really should be just that easy!!! But you try sustaining a calorie deficit when you are stressed out of your brain trying to deal with life, have a couple of kids running around your feet, a household and a life to sustain and that’s not even before we consider the monthly visit of ‘shark week’!!!!.

As women, our bodies are so very different to a mans and our training and eating should reflect that.

Any woman knows the feeling of the week leading up to your period when you feel tired, hungry, have zero motivation and your cravings are through the roof. Then feel like crap because all of the will in the world means you are battling with yourself to sustain the holy grail of the calorie deficit and it just feels so damn hard and as though you are constantly battling with yourself.

Not that fucking easy!!!

So what if you could get a little more informed and in turn become more effective in burning fat, building muscle. Whilst also managing hunger, energy and cravings by utilising your hormonal strengths. Yes, you can use what we normally consider to be pesky hormones to your advantage, so that you can start working with your body instead of constantly feeling like you are fighting it??

That would be pretty awesome right??

I made a decision to stop fighting my body, to stop hating it and instead start nurturing, loving and looking for more ways to work WITH IT instead of battling natural fluctuations.

You see this isn’t often talked about in mainstream dieting. In fact, I have only more recently become a lot more aware of this over the last couple of years and indeed when I started tracking my own cycle more closely just recently.

Your hormones fluctuate on a monthly basis with your cycle. Meaning that we can adapt our training and nutrition to work in sync with your natural cycle. And yes there is also going to be different suggestions for women who are either in peri, menopausal and post-menopausal stages or if you are on a hormone-based contraception. Hormonal fluctuations and the way your body is built means that your metabolism is far more stress sensitive than a man and so your approach to health and fitness should also be different to a man’s too.

Now microbiology is pretty complex so I am going to try and keep this as simple for you to understand as possible.

Mostly for my own benefit too. If I am going to be able to wrap my head around something I have to dumb it down and speak in layman’s terms rather than attempt to be all scientific about it.

We are looking at this as a textbook example of a 28 day cycle. Of course, some women’s cycles are shorter, others are longer. We are also affected by the fluctuations in hormones differently. Some have more severe symptoms than others, and so you should always use any information as an invitation to tune in to your body as an individual. It’s also worth saying here that if you do struggle with really painful periods, that in it’s self can be a marker for health issues that could require further investigation.

Image from Helloclue.com. The dark green line indicating Estrogen and the purple line showing Progesterone.

So for ease, we are talking about a 28-day cycle though take the time to track your own cycle and symptoms/energy/cravings to adjust accordingly to your unique body.

  • Menstruation: This is your period—the shedding of the uterine lining and when bleeding is present. Levels of estrogen and progesterone are low. Low levels of estrogen can lead to low mood and fatigue.
  • The follicular phase: The time between the first day of the period and ovulation. Estrogen starts to rise. As estrogen rises so do your energy levels, motivation your ability to build muscle and to utilise stored body fat. During this phase, you can exercise more, burn more and cope with higher stress levels.
  • Ovulation – The release of the egg from the ovary, mid-cycle. Estrogen peaks just beforehand, and then drops shortly afterwards.
  • The luteal phase: The time between ovulation and before the start of your next period, when the body prepares for a possible pregnancy. Progesterone is produced, peaks, and then drops. When progesterone levels are higher we are more sensitive to stress meaning training too much or not getting enough sleep can more easily trigger cortisol. We generally tolerate carbs less and also be more prone to feelings of anxiousness. Not to mention the increased cravings that come towards the end of the luteal phase. This would be a time to focus on maintenance, recovery and making sure that you get optimal sleep.

And it’s the luteal phase that I know I have felt the struggle most. Cravings are up but your energy levels are down and this is where a huge shift can come from knowing that you don’t have to fight that and can actually utilise it.

This is a very brief outline, but I hope this has started to give you a little insight into the female hormonal system and how you can start to work with it. To get the full nutrition and exercise guide to fully support you and optimise your cycle, come and join us now in Online Better Body Coaching where we dive in deeper and I give you the protocols to support your monthly cycle.

Learn to tune in with your body and allow yourself to feel GOOD about improving your health and creating a body you love living in.

Emma