The Impact of Menstrual Cycles on Women’s Training, Hormones, and Emotions

The menstrual cycle is a complex biological process that affects women physically, mentally, and emotionally. For athletes and women engaged in regular training, understanding how the menstrual cycle influences their performance is crucial for optimizing training strategies and overall well-being. In this blog, we’ll delve into the intricate relationship between menstrual cycles, hormones, emotions, some common conditions women suffer from and training, providing practical referenced insights and strategies for navigating each stage of the menstrual cycle.

Understanding the Menstrual Cycle:
The menstrual cycle typically lasts around 28 days, although it can vary from woman to woman. It consists of four phases: menstruation, follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase. Each phase is characterised by fluctuations in hormone levels, which in turn impact various aspects of physical and emotional health.

1. Menstruation:
During menstruation, which typically lasts 3-7 days, estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest. Many women experience fatigue, bloating, and cramping during this phase, which can impact training performance. However, some studies suggest that pain perception may be lower during menstruation, potentially enhancing tolerance to discomfort during intense workouts.

Practical Tip: Incorporate low-impact exercises such as light weight training and gentle stretching to alleviate discomfort during menstruation. Stay hydrated and focus on nutrient-rich foods to support energy levels.

2. Follicular Phase:
The follicular phase begins after menstruation and lasts approximately 7-10 days. Estrogen levels rise gradually during this phase, promoting energy, strength, and endurance. Women may experience improved exercise performance and recovery due to higher estrogen levels.

Practical Tip: Take advantage of increased energy levels by incorporating high-intensity workouts and strength training during the follicular phase. Focus on building muscle and improving endurance.

3. Ovulation:
Ovulation occurs around the middle of the menstrual cycle, typically between days 14-16. Estrogen levels peak, leading to heightened energy, mood, and libido. Some women may experience increased agility and coordination during this phase.

Practical Tip: Capitalize on peak energy levels by engaging in challenging workouts that require focus and coordination. Consider incorporating activities like martial arts, or interval training.

4. Luteal Phase:
The luteal phase begins after ovulation and lasts approximately 10-14 days. Estrogen levels decline, while progesterone levels rise. Many women experience symptoms such as fatigue, bloating, irritability, and mood swings during this phase.

Practical Tip: Prioritise self-care during the luteal phase by incorporating relaxation techniques such as meditation or breath work. Adjust training intensity and focus on activities that promote stress relief and emotional well-being.


While many women experience mild discomfort or inconvenience during their menstrual cycles, others may contend with more severe symptoms due to underlying health conditions. Three key issues that can heighten pain and disrupt daily life include endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and related complications.

  1. Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a chronic condition characterised by the growth of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus. This tissue responds to hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, leading to inflammation, pain, and potential scarring. Women with endometriosis often experience debilitating pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and fertility challenges.

Likely Occurrence: Symptoms of endometriosis tend to worsen during the menstrual cycle, particularly during menstruation and the luteal phase. The increase in estrogen and progesterone levels can exacerbate inflammation and pain associated with endometrial implants.

  1. Ovarian Cysts: Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries. While many cysts are harmless and resolve on their own, some may cause pain, discomfort, and complications such as rupture or torsion. Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can influence the development and size of ovarian cysts.

Likely Occurrence: Ovarian cysts may form at any stage of the menstrual cycle but are more likely to develop during the follicular phase when the ovaries are active in producing follicles. Cysts related to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can disrupt hormonal balance and menstrual regularity.

Practical Strategies and Support: For women navigating menstrual cycle-related health issues, personalised care and support are essential. Working closely with healthcare providers to develop tailored treatment plans and lifestyle strategies can help manage symptoms and improve overall quality of life.

If you don’t have these conditions never disregard someone else’s pain, never compare and realise it’s a real condition that severely effects someone’s quality of life.

Scientific Insights and References:
– Research indicates that hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle can impact exercise performance and recovery. (Oosthuyse & Bosch, 2010)
– Studies suggest that women may experience changes in pain perception and tolerance during different phases of the menstrual cycle. (Bishop et al., 2010)
– Hormonal variations during the menstrual cycle have been linked to changes in mood, energy levels, and cognitive function. (Albert et al., 2015)

The menstrual cycle exerts a significant influence on women’s training, hormones, and emotions, with each phase presenting unique challenges and opportunities. By understanding these fluctuations and implementing practical strategies tailored to each phase, women can optimize their training performance and overall well-being. Remember to listen to your body, prioritise self-care, and seek support when needed to navigate the complexities of the menstrual cycle effectively. Know your not alone because as women at some point we all go through it.

– Oosthuyse, T., & Bosch, A. N. (2010). The effect of the menstrual cycle on exercise metabolism: implications for exercise performance in eumenorrhoeic women. Sports Medicine, 40(3), 207-227.
– Bishop, A., Fallon, K., & Plummer, D. (2010). Short-term effects of menstrual cycle on isokinetic strength of the knee flexors and extensors. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(7), 2073-2080.
– Albert, K., Pruessner, J., & Newhouse, P. (2015). Estradiol levels modulate brain activity and negative responses to psychosocial stress across the menstrual cycle. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 59, 14-24.