When it comes to fitness, there’s a common misconception that you have to hustle, hustle, and hustle. Do more pushups, do more squats, get those weights off the floor. And while hard work truly does give pay-off, it’s also important to remember that we are all biologically unique–men and women, in particular.
Women have menstrual cycles. You know, that monthly visitor that occasionally comes with painful cramps, hormone fluctuations, and fatigue. No matter how consistent you are in your fitness journey, some days are just difficult to give your 100% in the gym. And that’s not on you!
In an article published by Healthline, personal trainer Alexandra Rose wrote, “When we learn how to cycle our exercise with our [menstrual] cycle, we’re using our female biology to our advantage—working smarter, not harder.”
It’s all about working with our bodies and not against it. But to understand this better, let’s first go through the phases of the menstrual cycle.
Phases of the Menstrual Cycle
In the same article, it was written that a menstrual cycle typically lasts 23 to 38 days and has three phases:
1) Follicular Phase
The first day of your period marks the start of the follicular phase, which is when you’re said to have the lowest levels of female hormones the entire month. This phase lasts an average of 12 to 14 days, and extends for five to six days after the last day of your period. When estrogen levels rise after your period, luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones are released, which leads to mid-cycle ovulation.
During ovulation is when your body releases an egg and is the ideal time for implantation and pregnancy to occur. This takes place right about the midway of a 28-day cycle, frequently around Day 14.
3) Luteal Phase
Following ovulation, the luteal phase lasts for the remainder of your cycle and ushers in the hormonal *extravaganza*, a.k.a. when you’re the moodiest and most irritable, and when your food cravings are on another level (no shame, we’ve all been there).
At this stage, estrogen has a slight second spike, but progesterone enters the scene and brings with it a number of physiological symptoms, which is more significant. When progesterone reaches its peak, the luteal phase comes to an end, and if you're not pregnant, both estrogen and progesterone fall, telling your brain it's time to start your period and start a new cycle.
How to Work With Your Cycle
According to the same article, male volunteers have provided the majority of the data utilized in exercise studies and recommended routines, since they do not experience the same monthly hormone swings as women.
Due to this, women try to execute fitness regimens that aren’t designed with female biology in mind. Their energy levels vary, leading them to wonder where they went wrong.
So, how exactly do you work with your body and not against it?
During the follicular phase and ovulation, this is when you can take advantage of your high energy to go all out with equally high intensity workouts. Feel free to lift weights, join cycling classes, go running, or whatever it is that gets your heart pumping and sweat going.
If you’re looking for high-quality home workout equipment, Wandergym would be a good place to start. They’ve got speed ropes, wanderbars, dumbbells, kettlebells, play balls, and more.
Pro-tip: Parlon OG members from Metro Manila and beyond exclusively get P300 off at Wandergym.
But, if you’re the type who loves working out with a bunch of other people, then try out a class instead! One of the best fitness classes around the Metro is from Electric Studio, which is the first indoor cycling boutique in the country. Trust us, their cycling sessions are designed to give you the most energizing workouts that toughen you up physically and mentally.
Pro-tip: Parlon OG members get 15% off regular in-studio packages at Electric Studio. Electric Studio has branches in BGC, The Podium, and Alabang.
Now, once you get past those phases and move into the luteal phase, this is said to be the time to listen to your body and be mindful of the heavy hormonal load you’re experiencing. It’s recommended to do light weights, yoga, Pilates, and moderate cardio. It’s also best to avoid working out in high temperature places, so indoors would be your best bet.
During this time, we love doing yoga or pilates because it mostly focuses on stretching and light strength training. And if you’re looking for a good studio, we highly recommend The Breathing Room, the first salt therapy and yoga studio in the Philippines. It’s an absolutely zen space where you can be free to explore mindfulness and your well-being.
Pro-tip: Parlon OG members get 15% off regular access packs at The Breathing Room. The Breathing Room is located at Unit 8D, Icon Plaza, BGC.
Intrigued about cycle training? Try it out and let us know how it works for you! And remember, it’s always best to consult with an expert regarding overall health and fitness. But, we’d love to hear all about your experience!
Wandergym, Electric Studio, and The Breathing Room are Parlon’s OG Club partners. To be an OG member and unlock more perks, sign up HERE. For more information about Parlon, visit www.parlon.ph and follow Parlon on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.