When it comes to working out, more is more, right? Actually, wrong. Too much exercise might actually wreak havoc on your hormones.
The amount of movement and physical activity we do daily has a huge impact on the hormonal responses of the body. For example, when we contract our muscle fibers, the movement and fiber activation communicate with the fat cells and adipose tissues by hormonal signaling. So, for physical fat loss and increasing metabolic fat-burning, exercise is our friend…
So, I bet you are asking: “how do I work out to support my hormones” Marissa?
I will start by saying that I take a different approach than most. I recommend working out based on your 28-day cycle. Listening to your body's innate cueing to determine and support energy levels. We cycle exercise based on which phase of your menstrual cycle you are in, so you can continue to produce and support the hormonal process at work during the phases of the 28-day cycle. By providing a constant supply of energy to the cells and hormones ensures you are burning fat effectively instead of storing it. The best part is, exercising this way will help you hit your fitness goals and ensure you maintain the balance of your hormones as you age. Supporting bone density, energy metabolism, hormonal function, focus, sharpness, and acuity. Plus, you do not have to spend hours in the gym. 30-45min max! It’s a win-win!
For example: during your cycle days 5-17, your energy is highest and your metabolism is slower so this is the time to schedule in HIIT training, runs, weight lifting, and your more moderate to high-intensity exercises. You select your workout based on how you feel and schedule for about 30-60mins.
Approaching the end of your cycle (luteal phase) Days 17-28/30. Metabolism is naturally higher and cortisol is outputted in higher amounts as well. So, hitting the gym hard during this stage can further stress the system and place you in “fat storage” mode. WHAT?!?!?! That’s right ladies, if you work out really hard at the end of your cycle you will spike your stress response and cause more fat storage!! Can anyone relate to having a belly pooch (below the navel) despite your calorie restriction and hard workouts? It’s time to stop spinning your wheels, killing yourself with long high-intensity workouts at the gym, and instead try giving back to your body during the luteal phase.
My recommendations for exercise at the end of your cycle include Yoga, walking, strength training, pilates, meditation, sex…. The timing of these exercises is 30min MAX! These are all activities that still stimulate muscle contractions and support fat burn.
And Day 1-5 you’re bleeding, so this is your restorative time. Things like walking, stretching, restorative yoga, easy hiking, napping….That’s right ladies I just gave you permission to take a nap during menstruation!! (high five) Gentle movements, give back to your mind, body, and soul during this phase of your cycle. It’s time to self-care in big ways.
Knowing where you’re at in your cycle and adjusting your workouts based on supporting your hormones can make all the difference in your weight loss journey. Give it a try and let me know if you notice a difference!
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