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Periods make it harder to workout! Manage it with this five-point training guide

Updated: Mar 17

Until recently, as a typical thoughtless male human, I had no idea how difficult it is for women to exercise through their menstrual cycle. I apologise for my lack of concern and foresight. To compensate for this oversight, I hope you are able to benefit from my basic approach below.


exercise workouts for women and the menstrual cycle. hormone changes during menstrual cycle how it effects you fitness
Drop some caltrops behind you!

If you're a male, you simply train. If you have periods, there is a lot more going on in your body biochemically that can cause problems!


Men wrote "the medical textbooks". Men write the majority of fitness traditions, some of which are rubbish. As a result, it is unsurprising that this topic has received little attention. I was thinking about my daughter and pictured her in the midst of her first menstrual period at the age of twelve, having to perform PE. I envisioned my insane PE teacher from school yelling at her, and I wanted to go Batman on him. I ask all males to consider this. At least those with daughters or a sliver of empathy.

exercise workouts for women and the menstrual cycle. hormone changes during menstrual cycle how it effects you fitness
Hi, we are men, we wrote the medical textbook. So it is all about us!

So what can you do to help yourself?


It is critical that everyone who trains understands the fundamental hormonal biology of the menstrual cycle. Because the cycle varies in length, bullet points are better suited for personal planning than graphs.


1) First half of your cycle ESTROGEN dominant = better workouts.


2) Mid cycle before ovulation = ESTROGEN SURGE can help muscle building! You will have your highest energy level so train hard!


3) At ovulation PROGESTERONE is dominant. SEROTONIN reduces = big reduction in energy levels and the emotional disruption can lead to lack of desire to train.


4) Second half of your cycle = generally less energy. Progesterone does however increase flexibility.


5) Period starts ESTROGEN and PROGESTERONE drop massively. Lowest energy levels.


Everyone is different!

exercise workouts for women and the menstrual cycle. hormone changes during menstrual cycle how it effects you fitness
V-sit crunches might be a bit uncomfortable right now!

People's menstrual periods vary greatly in severity. Also, the fitter you are, the simpler it is to train through it. Overall, becoming more fit and healthier will improve both your body and your brain.



During the lowest times of your cycle If you can tolerate high-impact acute fitness, go for it; otherwise, listen to your body and try something else or rest. Remember the muscle-building benefit before ovulation! That is one advantage you do have!


I believe that simply learning the basics listed above and incorporating them into your exercise routine would be quite beneficial. Also, the act of acknowledgment can help everyone train more effectively, whether alone or in groups. We should all be upfront and honest about this topic so that everyone can assist each other train more effectively! Simply inform the over-encouraged trainer, "I am currently high in progesterone and low in serotonin. Do you not grasp the mechanisms at work here? That will make them cease talking!

exercise workouts for women and the menstrual cycle. hormone changes during menstrual cycle how it effects you fitness
Take that!

Please contact me directly for media enquiries, academic enquiries, questions and links to research paper's. Thank you! ©️ 2021 Dan Raynham.

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Jessica Latham
Jessica Latham
12 jul 2021

This is super helpful, I've only just really realised how can adapt training at different parts of my cycle and it's helped so much! I had no idea about progesterone and flexibility though - have now added it to training plans... Splits here I come!

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Dan Raynham
Dan Raynham
12 jul 2021
Contestando a

Hey! Thanks for your comment! Yep I wish I knew all about this sooner! It should be taught in school associated with science and PE. Although I think they should rename PE... Physical Science.

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