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It’s appalling-- but also not really-- that this topic is never deeply discussed in physical education classes, nor in fitness in general; and seen as taboo in majority of settings.


Why were we never guided through how our hormonal fluctuations actually impact our day-to-day performance?


If you are experiencing fatigue, feeling tired during the day but wired at night, difficult concentrating or keeping a physical self care routine, painful periods or mood swings, then this information is critical to understand. This is not meant to be an exhaustive explanation, rather a jumping off point for you to begin researching and finding other resources as well, and hopefully a doctor or dietitian if you have access.


pro tip:

open this on your iphone

tap the 'share' on your browser

tap 'add to home screen'

and BAM you now have quick, easy access to any cycle question you have

Your hormonal cycle is roughly 28 days in which your brain, uterus, and ovaries communicate via hormones to keep your cycle going. Research indicates there are tangible differences between:


ability to build muscle,

ability to lose fat,

ability to gain strength


between the different phases.


So, you can optimize results by working WITH your phases.

We usually break down the cycle into four phases, due to the different hormonal activity within each of these.





The stars of the show are estrogen and progesterone:

leading lady: estrogen

In the first two weeks of your cycle, she is a rising star.

She uses carbs for energy, can increase your metabolism, and can increase your muscle's capacity to grow and repair.


When she's out of balance, it can lead to weight gain, mood swings, low energy, low sex drive, depression, dry skin, the list goes on.

Estrogen is your hype girl.

next up: progesterone

As estrogen drops away, it's progesterone's time to shine. She's getting you all cozy and comfortable, bringing you take out, tidying up the apartment and tossing a cozy blanket to you on the couch.


Basically, she's prepping your bod for pregnancy... or not.

She's... something alright.

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Hormones at Play

Both estrogen + progesterone are at their absolute baseline (lowest) during the first few days of your cycle. Because of this, you may find this is the period (pun intended) where you feel the lowest amount of energy, relatively. 

Intense exercise is actually counterproductive, because it increases CORTISOL, which leads to fat storage and muscle wasting


Best to do more restorative work here: yin yoga, gentle walking, light core exercises

From day 0 -  roughly day 3-6


Hormones at Play

The follicular phase is roughly 2 weeks long, when estrogen rises REAL QUICK, while progesterone and testosterone rise rather gradually.


Here, your estrogen levels raise, and you'll have more:




-more normalized blood sugar

-easier access to carbs for fuel

-easier for your body to build muscle during this phase


Great time to focus on growth and progress; pushing it a bit more

Begins around days 3-6, ends at ovulation


Hormones at Play

BAM, estrogen and testosterone peak here, now about halfway through the full cycle. Progesterone is still taking its time rising at this point.


You can anticipate peak performance in strength and sheer force generation capacity


Ideal time to attempt PR/ max



Hormones at Play

In the final two weeks, estrogen fluctuates, rising a little bit, then falling about halfway through. Progesterone reaches its peak, then quickly falls, and that lil sh*t named PMS comes strutting in

Hormonal fluctuations throughout this phase lead to lethargy and fatigue. Metabolic rate increases, so the body burns more calories/day, but this change in appetite tends to correlate with cravings People who tend to have more depressive symptoms through PMS will experience more severe effects in this phase.


Good time to focus on maintenance, add in mobility work to routine, keep it steady.




Roughly days 14-28

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