What you should know about The Female Body!
Women have a long history of being shamed into silence about their
periods, especially when it comes to sports matters. Menstruation have been largely sidestepped, ignored and reduces to silence and this has to stop!
Unfortunately, there are not many coaches, trainers or instructors that posses any kind of knowledge when it comes to physical training and menstrual cycles. As a young athlete/ ballerina you learn that your period is a sign of weakness and you are followed by the guilt and shame of the weak.
We, as women, we owe it to ourselves to stop being blind to the impact of our menstrual cycle so let's have a closer look! I have some good news!
You can manage—even master— your period, through nutrition and smart training so that migraines, nausea, bloating, and cramps won’t derail you from your performance and goals.
Let's take it from the beginning!
The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long (though it can range between 21 and 35 days) which is broken down in two 14 days phases.
Your cycle starts with the first day of your period. The first 14 days represent the follicular phase. Day 15 trough 28 is the time between ovulation and the start of menstruation, when progesterone is produced - luteal phase.
Your ovulation occurs between these two. During this period you have more or less intense hormonal fluctuations that will impact your energy levels, mood, power and the quality of your performance.
The cycle begins with the first day of menstruation when levels of estrogen and progesterone are low. After your period, in the next 5,6 days - follicular phase - marked by the beginning of estrogen rise. Around day 12 ovulation happens when your estrogen levels will fall but soon they will rise again as the body naturally goes into nesting mode. Now we are past those 14 days - luteal phase - which means that that all your hormones will kick into high gear.
Your progestogen levels will exponentially rise, surpassing estrogen, to prepare the lining of the uterus for egg implantation. Both progestogen and estrogen will reach peak levels 5 days before your next menstruation. Say hello to PMS!
Right: FP - Follicular phase (first 14 days) / Left: LP - Luteal phase (15-28 days)