How the Menstrual Cycle Impacts Women’s Professional and Athletic Performance

Posted by Beni Cook
Harnessing Hormonal Harmony: Understanding How the Menstrual Cycle Impacts Women’s Professional and Athletic Performance


Busy professional women are modern superheroes, juggling demanding careers, personal lives, and self-care in a non-stop world. However, they often face a unique challenge that can affect various aspects of their lives – the menstrual cycle. Beyond the physical discomfort and inconvenience, the menstrual cycle can significantly impact athletic and professional performance, mood, and body weight. In this article, we’ll explore how understanding and working with your menstrual cycle and hormones can empower you to optimise your performance and well-being.


The Menstrual Cycle: A Quick Overview

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s briefly outline the four main phases of the menstrual cycle:

  1. Menstrual Phase: This is the start of your cycle and usually lasts 3-7 days. It’s characterised by the shedding of the uterine lining.
  2. Follicular Phase: Following menstruation, the follicular phase is marked by the growth of ovarian follicles and typically spans days 1-14.
  3. Ovulatory Phase: Occurring around day 14, the ovulatory phase is when an egg is released from the ovary.
  4. Luteal Phase: The luteal phase occurs after ovulation, usually spanning days 15-28. It’s marked by the secretion of progesterone and prepares the body for a potential pregnancy.

Now, let’s explore how each of these phases can impact different aspects of your life.


Menstrual Cycle and Professional Performance

Menstrual Phase: Days 1-7

The menstrual phase is often accompanied by physical discomfort, mood swings, and energy fluctuations. However, it doesn’t mean you need to halt your professional responsibilities. In fact, understanding your body’s signals can help you navigate this phase more effectively:

  1. Energy Levels: Energy may be lower, so consider prioritising tasks that require less physical and emotional energy, such as administrative work or creative brainstorming.
  2. Self-Care: Implement self-care practices like gentle exercise, stress reduction, and proper nutrition to ease discomfort and mood swings.


Follicular and Ovulatory Phases: Days 1-14

These phases generally bring more energy and optimism, which can be harnessed for professional growth:

  1. Productivity: Take advantage of increased focus and energy for tackling demanding tasks, problem-solving, and setting goals.
  2. Networking: Use heightened social skills to build relationships, attend conferences, and participate in professional development opportunities.


Luteal Phase: Days 15-28

This phase can bring some challenges, such as mood swings and physical symptoms, but also presents opportunities for professional development:

  1. Project Planning: Utilise your analytical skills during the luteal phase to strategise, plan, and organise tasks.
  2. Self-Care: Prioritise self-care to manage mood swings and physical discomfort. Meditation, yoga, and stress management are beneficial.


Menstrual Cycle and Athletic Performance

Understanding the menstrual cycle’s impact on your athletic performance is key to optimising your training and recovery. Here’s how each phase plays a role:

  1. Menstrual Phase: Days 1-7
    • Hormonal changes can lead to increased injury risk and decreased endurance.
    • Light to moderate exercise, such as yoga or low-intensity cardio, can help alleviate cramps and improve mood.
  2. Follicular Phase: Days 1-14
    • Hormonal levels are rising, leading to increased strength and endurance.
    • Focus on strength training and high-intensity workouts, as your body is primed for muscle growth and adaptation.
  3. Ovulatory Phase: Day 14
    • The peak of your hormonal cycle may lead to improved performance in endurance activities.
    • Engage in challenging cardio workouts or long runs.
  4. Luteal Phase: Days 15-28
    • Hormonal fluctuations may cause mood swings and decreased endurance.
    • Opt for low-impact workouts or activities that focus on balance and flexibility, like yoga.


Menstrual Cycle and Mood

Understanding how the menstrual cycle affects your mood can help you navigate emotional fluctuations more effectively:

  1. Menstrual Phase: Days 1-7
    • Mood swings, irritability, and low energy may be common. Prioritise self-care, rest, and relaxation.
  2. Follicular and Ovulatory Phases: Days 1-14
    • Increased energy, confidence, and optimism can boost mood and resilience.
  3. Luteal Phase: Days 15-28
    • Mood swings and irritability may return. Engage in stress-reduction techniques, meditation, and self-care to manage these emotional fluctuations.


Menstrual Cycle and Body Weight

Hormonal fluctuations can impact your body weight and shape:

  1. Menstrual Phase: Days 1-7
    • Some women may experience water retention and bloating during this phase, which can lead to temporary weight gain.
  2. Follicular and Ovulatory Phases: Days 1-14
    • Hormonal balance may help maintain a stable body weight.
  3. Luteal Phase: Days 15-28
    • Some women may experience increased cravings and bloating during this phase, potentially leading to temporary weight fluctuations.


The menstrual cycle’s impact on athletic and professional performance, mood, and body weight can be significant. By understanding your body’s natural rhythms and learning to work with them, you can optimise your productivity, training, and overall well-being. It’s essential to embrace the uniqueness of your cycle and use it as a tool for self-improvement rather than a hindrance. With this knowledge, busy professional women can harness hormonal harmony and achieve their full potential in every aspect of their lives.

Phone 0438 589 842 to chat to us today about how we can help you to work with you hormones to ensure you’re achieving your health and fitness goals. 

Or jump straight in and take advantage of our 50% off our 21-Day Transformation Offer and let us help you to shed those unwanted Kgs.

Beni Cook
Beni Cook is the Head Personal Trainer and Founder of Beyond Best. Beni is a health and fitness expert who develops individualised exercise programs that will meet your own short and long-term objectives, while providing information, advice and encouragement that will enable you to lead your healthiest life, every day.

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