Path to Health and Healing

Could your workout be triggering changes in your hormones?

We women need to watch our hormones for a number of reasons

Did you every think that your workout routine could be triggering changes in your hormones?

First, hormonal changes can affect your workout and overall health. The second is that working out intensively can trigger changes in your hormones.

If you have your period, the last thing you probably want to do is hit the gym. But with most women having a 28 day cycle and a number of unpleasant side effects with it, benching yourself is not an option in your mind, if you like making an intense workout routine part of your day.

Typical premenstrual symptoms (PMS) that can continue throughout your period include:

  • Bloating
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Tender breasts
  • Intense food cravings
  • Fatigue and

Keeping track of your periods can help you improve your workout performance by knowing what to expect and taking steps to deal with the hormone shifts.  

With the usual 28 day cycle, there are actually 2 phases:

  1. the low-hormone follicular phase
  2. the high-hormone luteal phase

There are 3 main hormones in a woman’s body:

  1. Progesterone
  2. Estrogens
  3. Testosterone

During the luteal phase, progesterone production is increased in order to thicken the lining of the uterus to make it into the right environment for a fertilized egg to stick to. Increased estrogen then triggers the release of an egg. If the egg is fertilized, the egg implants itself in the uterus, and the pregnancy advances, progesterone and estrogen levels will remain high throughout the pregnancy.

If the egg is not fertilized, the two hormone levels will drop down to their lowest point, during a menstrual period, until the following month, when the cycle repeats itself all over again.

The luteal phase triggers a number of changes in the body which can affect workout performance. The first is that progesterone increases core temperature and causes the body to lose sodium faster than usual. This is amplified by the fact that women have lower water content than men. Abnormally low sodium levels in the blood can lead to too much potassium in the blood, which can cause stomach and muscle cramps, tension-like headache and vomiting. In severe cases it can lead to dangerous changes in heart rhythm.

Therefore, it is important to stay hydrated before, during and after each workout, especially if the weather is warm and you are in the last 2 weeks of your cycle. A homemade sports drink of water with some fruit juice like apple in it, and some Himalayan sea salt in it can help. Steer clear of orange and banana at this time, since they are high in potassium.

All women need a high-quality diet, but up until recently, the emphasis has been on high-carbohydrate diets, such as plates of paste, because of the theory that the calories from carbs are more easily accessed during workouts and competitions.

The usefulness of this theory really depends on the intensity and type of exercise you are engaging in. For example, if you participate in endurance events like marathon, cycling and swimming, continuous and steady energy is needed, not bursts, and the muscles need to be repaired efficiently.

Protein is therefore the better choice for energy and recovery over high-carbs. Estrogen slows down carb burn and increases fat burn. When estrogen is high, therefore, any woman who is working out for weight loss will get the most from her workout. A lack of protein can lead to a loss of amino acids needed for all bodily functions, most particularly muscle repair.

Women have significant hormone fluctuations. Working out can lead to changes in your cycle, such as fewer periods or lighter ones. Track your cycle and watch for changes in your cycle pattern.  This can be a valuable clue that you are on track or may need to make changes to the intensity of your workout……up or down. 

In the Path to Hormone Health Group Program, we take a more in depth look at the best ways to optimize your nutrition throughout the different phases of the menstrual cycle to not only support hormone balance, but even your workout regimen.  If you are ready to take the next step, schedule a free Hormone Relief Discovery call, where we can determine your health goals and if this program is right for you.


Could your workout be triggering changes in your hormones?

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