Women are not Mini men! Scientifically grasp the law of physiological cycle to maximize the fitness effect

Women’s physiological cycle not only affects mood, but also affects training and diet in terms of fitness. If you have known about the changes of the body during the physiological cycle, I believe you may have heard that metabolism will be affected, the body will easily store fat, and appetite will increase, etc. So how do you deal with it? < / P > < p > should you stop training and eat whatever you want and make up for it after the physiological period, or should you force yourself to adhere to a regular diet and training plan, or adjust your diet and training plan appropriately to reduce the impact of physiological period? This article will tell you the answer. The physiological cycle refers to a series of hormonal and physiological changes in women about every 28 days. More specifically, the physiological cycle is mainly controlled by two hormones: estrogen and progesterone. < / P > < p > 28 the first half of menstrual period is called follicular phase, because the body secretes a lot of prolactin. Prolactin stimulates the ovaries to produce 10-20 follicles, called follicles. The level of estrogen is relatively low in the early stage of follicular development, but gradually increases in the later stage and reaches the peak. Progesterone levels were generally low in follicular phase, but began to rise at the end. < / P > < p > these hormones affect women’s bodies in different ways. Higher estrogen levels reduce hunger and craving for high sugar, high-fat foods, improve insulin sensitivity and stabilize blood sugar levels. It also reduces fat storage in the lower extremities and abdomen, increases the concentration of an amp activated protein kinase complex, and accelerates fat burning throughout the body. In addition, estrogen has a positive effect on training. Studies have found that it can reduce inflammation and free radical damage, promote muscle growth and recovery, and reduce muscle soreness after training [1]. Similar to follicular phase, luteal phase can be divided into early luteal phase and late luteal phase, lasting about 7 days respectively. After releasing the oocytes, the follicles produced in the follicular phase change into a structure called the corpus luteum, and begin to produce progesterone, so it is called luteal phase. < / P > < p > in luteal phase, estrogen levels decrease, which also leads to the decrease of serotonin and dopamine levels. Why is this important? Because serotonin and dopamine are two chemical messengers in the body, they affect the body’s response to beneficial stimuli such as food, sex and entertainment, and also affect our mood and well-being. < / P > < p > high levels of serotonin and dopamine make us feel good, which motivates us to continue to do things that make us happy and avoid things that make us uncomfortable. Low levels of serotonin and dopamine can make us feel depressed, anxious, moody and tired, and can reduce attention and overall well-being. In addition, serotonin and dopamine also play an important role in appetite and craving: when serotonin and dopamine levels are high, hunger and desire are low, and vice versa. < / P > < p > at about the same time, estrogen, serotonin and dopamine levels begin to decrease, while progesterone levels increase, which can have some adverse physical and mental effects, such as reducing insulin sensitivity, increasing the secretion of acylation promoting protein and lipoprotein lipase, interfering with testosterone’s ability to support muscle growth, and reducing tendon strength and recovery And reduce the ability of the brain to recruit muscle fibers. In fact, the increase of progesterone is not so bad. One of its positive effects is to increase the metabolic rate by 2.5-10%. For most people, that means burning an extra 100-300 calories a day, or 1000-3000 more throughout the luteal phase. But unless you consciously control your food intake, it’s easy to counteract these calories. Fortunately, progesterone levels will slowly decline in a few days and return to baseline levels after the end of the physiological period. Therefore, at the end of luteal phase, estrogen and progesterone levels are relatively low, which leads to premenstrual syndrome. < p > < p > hormones affect almost all aspects of our lives, from emotions to metabolic rates to motivation for training. Therefore, the fluctuation of hormones in the physiological cycle will obviously affect our training. Although there are not many scientific researches on the effect of physiological cycle on exercise performance, the recent two literature reviews can give us some enlightenment. The first review observed the effect of physiological cycle on different endurance training in women who did not use contraceptives [3], and the results were as follows: < / P > < p > one study found that the time of quadriceps femoris contraction in corpus luteum was longer than that in follicular phase, while the other two studies found that the time of forearm muscle contraction was longer in filtering phase than in luteal phase. Six other similar studies found little change in exercise performance at different stages. Ten studies looked at riding endurance. One study found that subjects had greater endurance in the luteal phase, another study found greater endurance in the follicular phase, and the other eight studies found no difference. Thirteen studies observed the degree of self perceived exertion in training. In one study, participants said that training during the luteal phase was more difficult than usual, while subjects in the other three studies felt the opposite, and in the other nine studies, no difference was found. < / P > < p > on the one hand, the results seem to indicate that endurance does not change much at different stages of the whole physiological cycle. Another possibility is that different women respond differently at different stages of the physiological cycle. < p > < p > the second review looks at how strength fluctuates at each stage of the physiological cycle [4]. The researchers only analyzed women with normal physiological period. In the end, 21 studies met the criteria. A total of 232 female subjects, aged between 19 and 33, included sedentary and elite athletes. < / P > < p > the results showed that no matter how the strength levels were measured in the study, there seemed to be no change throughout the physiological period. In addition, strength and estrogen were not associated with progesterone levels. < / P > < p > why? It’s not like that in the real world. The main reason is that the design and completion scheme of different studies are different. However, although there was no significant difference in the results, the trend was that follicular phase and early luteal phase performed better. What does all this mean to you? On the one hand, most studies have shown that there may be no significant difference in exercise performance at different stages of physiological period. And it is worth noting that women have won Olympic gold medals at all stages of their physiological period [5]. Therefore, if the exercise performance will decline at a certain stage, the impact will not be very large. < / P > < p > in addition, studies have shown that exercise can reduce the symptoms of menstrual syndrome, so even when you don’t feel very good, stopping training may not be a good way [6]. < / P > < p > so, should you adjust your training program to suit the different stages of your cycle? It just depends. If you feel that the difference in strength or endurance is small, and you can make progress under the current plan, then there is no need to adjust. If you feel that your strength, endurance, and motivation have changed and progress is stagnant, then you need to adjust. < / P > < p > although the effect of physiological period on exercise performance has not been fully determined, we can be sure that it will affect hunger and fat storage. Estrogen, for example, reduces hunger and increases leptin production. And estrogen not only makes the body secrete more leptin, it can also mimic the effect of leptin on the brain, thereby enhancing the effect. However, when estrogen decreases after ovulation, leptin decreases and hunger increases. And as mentioned earlier, this is accompanied by a decrease in serotonin and dopamine. Low levels of serotonin are a big problem because it can make you crave carbohydrates very much and increase the risk of overeating, which is why many women crave sweets at this stage. < / P > < p > eating carbon water itself is not a problem. The problem is that many women will eat a lot of refined carbon water and added sugar, rather than nutrient rich carbon water, such as potatoes, fruits, whole grains, etc. < / P > < p > during the follicular phase, you may be able to do more groups and times, lift more weight, and recover faster. In the early days of the corpus luteum, your performance will decline slightly, but you should feel better overall. In the late luteal phase, you may feel bad. < / P > < p > for example, in the first three weeks, try to gradually overload each training session, either by increasing weight, or by doing more times or groups. For the next week, focus on movement techniques, reduce weight, and add some aerobic exercise as appropriate. In terms of diet, there is no need to make any changes in the first two weeks. Your hunger and energy levels are stable and your craving is not strong. The next two weeks may be more difficult. Here are some suggestions: < / P > < p > try to put high calorie meals in the follicular phase, when you are least likely to indulge yourself. Pay more attention to your diet during luteal phase. You are likely to overeat. Luteal phase can eat a little more, mainly to avoid you overeat. Summary < / P > < p > to understand the changes of hormone in a specific stage is helpful to arrange your training and diet in advance. Generally speaking, higher training load and intensity can be used in follicular phase and early luteal phase, and it is relatively easy in later luteal phase. Pay attention to the changes of appetite in different stages and avoid overeating. 2