Your body changes throughout your menstrual cycle. No surprise there, right? So why is it that so many women — myself included, for a long time! — expect the same performance and results from their bodies all the time, regardless of where they are in their cycle?
Like, when your PMS has you feeling super low-energy, planning a major HIIT workout is just going to leave you dreading your sweat sesh. On the flip side, sticking to a rest day when you’ve got a ton of energy doesn’t make sense, either.
A lot of women benefit from going with the flow, and by flow, I mean the actual flow of our menstrual cycles. With phase-based training, which means planning your workout schedule around your menstrual cycle, you get away to align with your body.
A woman’s menstrual cycle is divided into four phases:
menstrual phase: starts on the first day of your period and usually lasts 3-7 days
The follicular phase starts on the first day of your period also (so you have some overlap with the menstrual phase) and ends when you ovulate. This phase ranges from 11 to 27 days but usually lasts about 16 days.
ovulation phase: If you have a 28-day cycle this will usually hit right around day 14. It lasts about a day.
luteal phase: after the egg is released during ovulation you’ll enter the luteal phase that usually lasts between 11 to 17 days – on average this will be a 14-day phase.
If you want to take phase-based training for a spin to see if it helps you, it pretty much just comes down to understanding your cycle and what’s realistic to expect from your body in each phase.