Did you know that your cycle can effect your workout? If nothing else, you’ve probably noticed change in energy availability at different times of month or heard/used the phrase “that time of the month”. It’s a real thing! This is strictly based on my 9 years experience training women week after week. This information may vary person to person or even month to month as change in ovulation, one ovary vs 2 at work on varying months, can all have an effect but here’s a basic go-to so you can make the best out of workouts, hopefully push yourself a little bit more by knowing when to do it. NOTE: Week 4 will determine your whole calendar! Period.
Resistance Training. This is your week to lift free weights at an intermediate-advanced level based on your current level. That means if you typically squat with 30lbs added with ease. Then squat 30-55. If you squat 90lbs with ease you’ll squat 90-115lbs. Alternatively, if you bicep curl 8lbs, complete sets of 12 reps/3 sets then you’ll lift the 8-12lbs this week. Remember you must meet yourself where you’re at and complete a program that makes sense for your current fitness level and in agreement and progression of your goals.
Combination. This is your week to combine(within the same session or alternating) “cardio” and resistance training. So if you desire to spend 45 minutes on an elliptical to maintain and ongoing heart rate. This your week to focus on expanding or building upon that. This week can also include your week one options. HIIT training is an excellent option to include both in a single session for optimal use of time and progression. Remember that cardiovascular exercise does not have to be independent from your resistance training program.
Add to your personal scoreboard! This is the week to push your limits and reach new heights and accomplishments. This can mean lifting heavier OR more reps, OR new speed, OR more mileage if you’re running. This week you’ll find yourself with more concentration energy and more drive so use it! Of course be safe but within those limits you can make a lot of things happen. To avoid injury, be sure to be progressive. Don’t jump from X to X with a large gap in between, let it be a gradual increase. Lets see what your body is capable of and create new progressive markers to review next month and record your progress! Feel amazing this week about what you have accomplished!
Week 4: Period Week!
Bleh! Nobody likes this week. This week begins on the 2nd day of your cycle. That means you can participate in “Scoreboard” week up through the 1st day of your cycle. This is based on the 80% of women whose “cramps” or body soreness kick in on the second day. This is your week to reset. It doesn’t mean a whole week of laziness, it means rest in a general sense. Just the same as each week of scheduled programming should include one or two days of rest. This week you will find yourself with more light days. Perhaps you lift lighter weight than usual but do slightly more reps or same reps. Perhaps this week you jog 1 mile instead of 3 or just focus on your balance and breathing through yoga which so greatly translates and benefits into your other weeks of practice. As always listen to your body.
Also, my average experience has shown that 70% of women prefer to avoid direct abdominal contraction during their cycle. This means avoiding plank, any variety of “crunch” exercise and other exercises that would predominately activate the abdominal region. The other 30% have found that abdominal exercises actually help with relieving period cramps and low back pain. Find what works for you, and keep an open mind by testing your theory every now and then. You never know when your body may have adaptations that can benefit you!