How to Manipulate the Female Menstrual Cycle to Lose More Fat and Gain Strength

I am back from two amazing conferences. One was the World Golf Fitness Summit in Orlando, and the other was an event for the IFBA in Birmingham, England.

The event in the UK was a half day talk for fitness professionals and gym owners to learn about a multitude of topics.

We covered metabolism, men’s and women’s hormones, and how to transition an over-trained, under-fed client into a balanced one.

One of the key takeaways that everyone liked and could use instantly was something I’m sharing with you today.

How to manipulate the female menstrual cycle to lose more fat and gain strength.

As a super quick overview:

The first 14 days of the female cycle are when women feel their best, strongest, and are not as stress reactive. The last 14 days we are hungrier, more fatigued, and are more stress reactive (plus get those “fun” cravings).

Why does this matter for training?

The first 14 days:

A woman’s estrogen being at its highest works like a weak testosterone. We are able to handle more intense training and higher carbohydrate intake. A woman’s body can recover a lot better.

This would be the time to really push it in the gym, in addition to doing any steady state cardio work.

The last 14 days:

A woman’s estrogen isn’t as high, while the other female hormone, progesterone, is. Our metabolic rate increases by about 7 percent when progesterone rises and estrogen falls, which leaves us hungrier. This also affects our neurotransmitters, which is why we crave chocolate and carbs.

This is the best time to go a little lower with carbohydrates, as a female’s body cannot handle them as well as the first two weeks.

We want to take advantage of the increased metabolic rate during this time and go for fat burning. These workouts should be shorter in duration and intense “enough.” We shouldn’t look to set PRs or really add muscle during this time.

These workouts shouldn’t leave us exhausted and should be complemented with lots of walking and restorative work.

Both hormones fall off right before “shark week.” PMS week is different for every woman. Some feel they can get the work in, and some suffer from tremendous side effects (more on that another day). So to reiterate: lots of walking, restorative work, and do what you can in the gym.


Do you need help creating a monthly training plan to lose more fat and gain strength? My online coaching is an affordable option, which gives you more guidance and accessibility than what you’d get paying a trainer for two weeks. Click here to learn more and get started.

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