Training, Your Period & Your Performance

Training, Your Period & Your Performance

For those of us who menstruate, our menstrual cycle is a core part of our being. It’s a natural process that dictates a complex pattern of hormones in the body, but with the intensity of side effects that can accompany our menstrual cycle, we’ve all likely had moments where training feels a little more difficult! A common misconception is to reduce the frequency of training during your period.
However, studies dictate there is a better approach to your training whilst your period is active, and that is what we will be discussing today!
This approach also values the phases of the menstrual cycle, which are broken up into four stages; menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation and the luteal phase. Let’s dive in deeper to see what we can do to support each of these phases, and still keep on track with our health and wellness goals.


Menstruation, colloquially referred to as the ‘period’, is the phase in which a number of hormone levels will be at their lowest, and the effects of this will be felt in no small amount! A feeling of lethargy can take over; you may feel tired and your days will drag on. You may find it difficult to motivate yourself to stick to your training because of how you are feeling, however this is a good opportunity to implement meaningful change to your training and sleep routine for a more comfortable approach to menstruation.


Improving the quality of your sleep, reinforcing good dietary behaviours, and altering the approach to your training to complement the changes happening in your body will do wonders for how you feel during this phase. Low intensity, steady state training allows for a quality approach to your training that compliments low hormone levels during menstruation.



The follicular phase; where your hormones are on the rise. They are making a triumphant return, and so is your strength, energy, and mood. This progressive build of hormone production spans a duration of 13 to 14 days, and with it, you may feel a surge of freshness within you that will be evident in your daily routine, health and wellness habits. Your training will feel good, and your days will feel even better! You can start to level up the intensity of your training throughout the Follicular phase, as your body’s tolerance to the increased intensity will match the rise in hormones.


Ovulation; the peak, bringing with it a sense of invincibility that radiates from within. Your hormones are plentiful, and the amazing chain of hormonal events that lead to ovulation are the result of your estrogen peaking. Your body will tell you that you can do anything, and with your training, you definitely should! Your body will be more receptive than ever to high intensity, higher resistance training in all aspects, and you’ll benefit from the drive that Ovulation brings to your training and everyday life.


In the luteal phase, your body is a conduit for a flurry of hormonal changes. Your body adapts to this process, which sees your estrogen decline and your progesterone rise. Your body has peaked in one hormone throughout the ovulation phase, so it’s now making the necessary changes to prepare your body for menstruation by increasing another hormone. The pre-luteal phase will see your body’s estrogen begin its decline, and to make the most of it, your body is still receptive to the higher intensity, higher resistance training that you were pushing during ovulation.

As your body progresses throughout the luteal phase, eventually culminating into the post-luteal phase and a peak of progesterone, you’ll benefit from reducing the intensity of your training slightly. Your body will also thank you for this, because it is making the necessary physiological changes to prepare for menstruation, and this process is something you’ll feel on a physiological level.

The menstrual cycle is a process that many will experience hundreds of times in their lives. Tracking your cycle alongside your training will allow you to take an approach that promotes more intuitive lifestyle and training choices to compliment every phase. 
Everyone who menstruates experiences their cycle differently, and the intensity of the changes to your body during your cycle can affect multiple facets of your being. However, understanding the changes within will allow you to adapt your training to support your period, rather than working against it. Do what feels right for you, during every phase of your cycle - and if that includes caffeinating to survive, we always have your back! 😉

Written by: Brianna-lee Schiefelbein- BYS Nutritionist