Big Strength Gainz “Period”

What’s better than preparing for a meeting with your accountant? Talking about the female menstrual cycle!!!! I’m not just being cute… I’m actually taking a break from my taxes to engage in some good-old casual period talk.

Perhaps this is directed to the ladies… but guys seriously. If you have a girl, like a girl, know a girl, want a girl. Sit tight. 

We tend to think of the menstrual cycle as just the “period” but as it turns out (#science) there is a lot more going on than just cramps, moodiness and optimal baby making days. In addition to what seems like an unpredictable hormonal roller coster… there are actually a lot of things we can calculate and use to our advantage (in addition to ideal vacation/bathing-suit wearing dates and procreation) – Like… Wait for it… Targeting when the best time to start a diet might be and knowing when you’re at your strongest. 

I’m not a doctor so before you go nuclear because I’m over simplifying or missing a detail, cool your jets. This is an overview. Just something I’ve found to be useful and perhaps something that didn’t make it to your middle-school health class curriculum. 

This is exciting! Ladies. We are actually strongest in the Follicular Phase (approximately days 01-13) of our menstrual cycle; that is, the week of our period and the week after our period. The Follicular Phase is a prime time to lift heavy. We can also tolerate the most volume during these weeks!!! As it turns out, this may also be the best time for you to start a diet. Think about it… Who wants to over eat when they’re bloated and crampy?! So while these weeks may seem horrible, think of all the gainzzz!!! Throw on those stretchy yoga pants and go back-squat a truck!! 

The Luteal Phase (approximately days 16-28) of our menstrual cycle, are the two weeks following ovulation. This is when we experience the most lethargy; this is a great time to plan in some recovery. If you’re following a strength/lifting plan, this would be a GREAT time to schedule a deload week (because week four is generally when we will be at our weakest). This is probably not going to be a great time to start a diet because your cravings are high during this point of your cycle so adherence may be more difficult. 

Understanding our cycle is one of those things we don’t really think about but it’s an integral part of our overall health. It doesn’t usually get brought up at the dinner table (please pass the salt) but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be comfortable discussing it. Do you have a menstrual cycle? Figure out where your cycle falls and see if you can optimize these periods (pun intended). Put your knowledge into practice!!! 

Health + Happiness, 

CC 

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