Ladies, How Should You Eat and Exercise with Your Cycle?

Have you ever noticed that there are times when you feel that your motivation and physical stamina are lacking? Do you feel discouraged when you’re unable to attain results from your fitness regime? The secret is actually not in working harder or pushing yourself harder but in the science of how we ladies should exercise with our menstrual cycle.

According to Dr Jolene Brighton, NMD, a women’s hormone expert and prominent leader in women’s medicine, most research in fitness is done on men and applied to women. Hence, you may notice that at certain points of your menstrual cycle, your ability to do certain exercises and to ‘push through’ differs.

As such, this article will help you better understand what kinds of exercises and diet are best for what points of your cycle, so you can feel great about yourself at every point of your cycle.

Follicular Phase

Early Follicular Phase – during your period

When you’re on your period, you may find that having a walk, relaxing hike or some stretching is best for reducing discomfort and such low-intensity activities can match your energy levels. It is perfectly normal to find that during your period you tend to have less energy, and while it may be tempting to stay in bed all day, it actually helps your body if you get up and move.

One type of food that you can eat to reduce cramping, breast tenderness, headaches, anxiety and irritability is chaste berry. You can check out supplements such as WelleCo The PMS Elixir (60 Capsules).

Late Follicular Phase – after your period ends till ovulation

Due to the increased estrogen and testosterone during this phase, you may notice that your stamina has improved. This is the period in your cycle in which cardio exercises such as HIIT have the most effect. It is also easier to build muscle during this phase.

In addition, because your resting metabolic rate is lower during this phase, doing high-intensity workouts is good, as it counterbalances the lower metabolic rate. HIIT exercises will train your metabolism to speed up, up till ovulation, that is.

The best exercises to do during this phase include:

  • Cardio exercises including running, cycling, HIIT
  • Strength training exercises including bodyweight conditioning, weight lifting

Luteal Phase

You may find that during this phase, your tolerance declines and you have difficulty completing your routines. During this phase, restorative movements, including exercises like yoga and pilates are beneficial to your body.

You may also notice that you get certain cravings during this period, which happens also because the calories required, specifically carbohydrates, during this period tend to be higher, and your metabolic rate increases. You can choose to increase your calorie intake by 5-10%, however, it is also important to ensure that you do not overeat. Hence, it’s best to strictly follow your diet plans during this phase. You can schedule all your ‘cheat meals’ during the follicular phase (during your period) instead.

The best exercises to do during this phase include:

  • Low impact cardio, walking, hiking
  • Other low-intensity exercises such as yoga and pilates

Exercising with your cycle does not have to be complicated at all. Just remember to rely on your intuitive wisdom – listen to your body! You can also track your cycles through various apps, so you are more aware of the hormonal changes. This way, you will be able to create a sustainable exercising cycle and feel good about yourself every day of the month as you work in sync with your cycle!


Dr. Jolene Brighten. (2021, February 8). How To Exercise With Your Cycle. Dr. Jolene Brighten; Dr. Jolene Brighten.

Exercise and Your Monthly Menstrual Cycle with Cody and Jess (2021, August 3).

Matthews, M. (2020). The Complete Guide to Eating and Training During Your Menstrual Cycle [YouTube Video]. In YouTube.

‌Images: Envato, Dr Jolene Brighten

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