Your high hormone phase begins 24-36 hours after you ovulate. Your body begins to increase progesterone in anticipation of the egg being fertilized. Progesterone thickens the lining of your uterus as well as inhibits uterine contractions, which in turn enable the egg to stay safely in the uterus.
If the egg is not fertilized then progesterone levels drop and you will have 4-7 days of bleeding, shedding the lining of your uterus (period week- also known as your low hormone phase).
During luteal phase you experience mood swings as progesterone increases, while estrogen spikes, drops, then spikes again.
You may notice changes in your internal thermostat (you get hotter faster). You become less sensitive to insulin at a time when you’re also needing more carbs, lending itself to carbohydrate cravings. You also NEED more food during this phase (on average 200-300 more calories a day).
Your high hormone phase is when it can become the most challenging to still FEEL like an athlete.
You’re irritable, bloated, sluggish, and might struggle to move your heavier percentages on the bar. You may notice these symptoms as much as 14 days before your period begins, depending on your sensitivity to progesterone as well as other factors such as sleep, stress, and diet.
Be extra mindful of hydration during this time (increased progesterone affects your thirst response, leaving you potentially less hydrated than normal). Track what you’re drinking and ensure you’re getting at least 2-3 liters of water per day. Your urine should be a lemonade color. You may also notice you need more sodium (salt) during this time- if you’re craving it, it’s okay to honor those cravings.
And we want you to be okay eating an extra banana (or TWO!) if you’re craving carbs or feeling more tired than normal.
Listen to your body. Consider when to push or when to scale and focus on technique, or use the conditioning as an opportunity just to sweat.
Lastly, we encourage our athletes to use how they perform during these two weeks as BASELINE for what they can do. If you’re hitting a 200lb back squat during this time, most likely you can hit that at ANY time during your cycle!
At CFT we post how to coordinate your training around your cycle broken up into these two phases (low hormone and high hormone) for each day of training. The more you know, the more you understand how your body operates, the more we can set you up for success with your fitness!
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Let us know!