The Best and Most Effective Time to Train During Your Menstrual Cycle

Yearly calendar diary entry booklet

Use this particular time to your advantage

Training at the most appropriate time during our menstrual cycle isn’t an explored pathway.
It’s an unexplored and taboo area.
As you have probably noticed from my many posts, most of the research is conducted on men or mice -which is very disappointing. So why aren’t women included in many strength and endurance research projects?
Perhaps our hormones make it a bit challenging to understand the various complexities.
Maybe it throws off the results — or it could be too hard for researchers.
Come to think of it, women will probably never understand how their period functions (unless they have a superbly timed reproductive schedule!).
So now, I think it’s time to explore what time frame in the cycle is most beneficial for you and your training efforts.
This will help us learn when it’s the best time to train, yielding better results without increasing session volume.

When should you train?

To uncover this data, researchers recruited 59 women to perform a four-month leg resistance training program.
Once the study ended, the results revealed that women who underwent high-frequency leg resistance training five times per week during the first two weeks of their cycle had the best results.
This was compared to the women who trained during the tail end of their cycle.
The birth control pill doesn’t produce noticeable differences (good news).
Since women will menstruate for several years, it makes sense to become much better at considering this advice to optimise our training.
Researchers also did a side study on the effects of cortisol over nine months.
They found stress responses shifted during different seasons, but women on the pill had higher stress levels.
That information could interpret as a woman who is overtraining — which is not necessarily true.

If you are on the pill

The pill’s effects are most likely the culprit here — not training. Keep that in mind if you are currently on the pill.
Cortisol can decrease your chances of developing muscle — which lowers your metabolism. So the best thing you can do is keep lifting weights and ride the period tide.

Key takeaways

Women who are menstruating should:
  • Weight train during the first two weeks of your cycle
  • Training during the last two weeks isn’t as beneficial.
  • The pill can increase cortisol levels.
  • Keep your nutrition in check and eat vitamin-rich foods (not in the research but still very important to keep your energy levels and cravings steady)
Taking on weight training during your menstrual period is still a great idea — don’t let anything stop you from making the most of your workout times.
Certain women experience more side effects than others — therefore, you must listen to your body and allow it to determine your level of effort.
All in all, if you are tired, stop.
It’s ok to perform less than your outstanding effort. However, it will soon be all over.

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