For years I pushed myself through hard workouts every day of my cycle. Some days I was killing it and ended up taking double HIIT classes, other days all I could do was a restorative yin yoga class.
I come from a controversial family background – my dad is a competitor (he retired from it last year at age 55) and trainer in kickboxing, my mom was used to follow Jane Fonda’s and Cindy Crawfords workout tapes but wasn’t really active. I learned to train in a man’s world not knowing that as a female, I’m a cyclical being.
While High intensity trainings are sustainable each day of the month for men, women were biologically not built for that.
Men have a constant stream of hormones throughout the month with little to no change. Women experience a whole lot of change in hormones and hormone levels even, throughout a month. This has a big impact on how women feel and how our body responds to everything.
Menstrual cycle awareness focuses around our inner seasons. Just like the seasons in nature, our inner world has its own winter, summer, spring, autumn throughout our cycle.
Inner Winter: Menstruation
Winter relates to the actual bleeding part of our menstrual cycle. It can feel like a raw, vulnerable time. I often feel very tired and sad for no reason. Just like trees in winter, we drop our leaves and retire, it’s a time to go inward, to rest and relax. I love to spend my winder days with gentle yin yoga, walking, meditation, releasing with journaling, centering myself with burning candles, hot drinks and cozying up.
Inner Spring: Pre-Ovulatory phase
As nature waks up when spring arrives, so is our body in the pre-ovulatory phase. We start to get more energy as our estrogen rises. One really important thing is to pay attention to your energy levels. It’s easy to overdo things and go too hard on yourself with the sudden rush of new energy. If you think about the spring metaphor, young plants and sprouts need more care- if you overexpose them to sunlight or overwater them, they die easily. If you are able to spare some of your energy, anaerobic exercises, cardio, HIIT and weight training, vinyasa yoga can be benefitial.
Inner Summer- Ovulatory phase
Aroundovulation estrogen is at its highest level. This hormone is responsible for making us feel more feminine, more in tune with ourselves. I often find myself dressing more feminine, I loved to play with make up and hairdos when I had long hair. I was more flirty and smiley, feeling more sexial than usual. I love this phase of my moon cycle, it makes me feel more “myself” and I can really just rock my world this time. I can go wild with everything and enjoy myself and life.
High intensity trainings, hard cardio exercises and heavy weights are my favorites. This time I’m also rocking my hardest ashtanga classes. But be careful, once you ovulated start the transition out from really high intensity and hard exercises as you get more prune to injury.
Inner Autumn- Pre Menstrual phase
Oour premenstrual phase is a time when a lot of people experience PMS (Pre Menstrual Syndrome) and symptoms. Though many experience it, we shouldn’t consider it normal. Anything that is adversely affecting your life shouldn’t be due to your menstrual cycle. I love to spend this time with focusing on what’s going on inside. Most of the time I experience really bad PMS symptoms because I’m out of alignment with myself – I’m not being honest with my needs and wants, people pleasing or just engaging in too many activities that don’t make me happy. It is a great time to come home to yourself. The highs of estrogen has fallen away, so now is the time to put yourself out there as the true essence of who you are. The best ways of movement are hatha yoga, weight trainings and light cardio.
This is a very basic overview on how our menstrual cycle affects our training as women, based on my own experiences and studies as a holistic health coach. I advise you to learn more about Menstrual Cycle awareness. Everyone is different so your cycle might look very different from mine so pay attention to your body and start learning to train according to your own menstrual cycle.