Your menstrual cycle is divided into two phases- your follicular phase (day one of your period to ovulation) and luteal phase (ovulation to the day before your period starts).
Once ovulation happens your body begins preparing itself to anticipate your egg becoming fertilized. Rising levels of progesterone stimulate the thickening of your uterine lining which is needed for implantation of the egg. If the egg does NOT become fertilized, progesterone levels drop, initiating your period.
Progesterone shares a receptor sight in your brain with aldosterone– one of the hormones your body uses to manage sodium levels- a key component in staying hydrated.
What does this mean for you?
It means that during your luteal phase the feedback loops your body uses to communicate hydration needs may be out of whack, which can lead to dehydration. So how can you as an athlete navigate this?
First and foremost it’s extremely important to be mindful and even track if necessary how much fluid you’re consuming throughout the day. You also want to recognize that consuming caffeine and alcohol have a dehydrative effect, so for every cup of coffee or glass of wine you drink you should be counteracting with 8oz of water.
In general we want our athletes consuming a MINIMUM of 2-3 liters of non caffeinated liquids per day. We also want you consuming an additional liter of water for every hour of fitness over 1 hour.
Second, be mindful of your urine color. Generally speaking your urine should be a light yellow (like lemonade). If it’s darker in color that’s a great indication you need more fluids.
Third, ensure you are consuming adequate amounts of electrolytes during this time. Aldosterone helps the body hold onto sodium (salt) and progesterone affects this process, so if you’re craving salt, it’s okay to have some! Grab some electrolyte tablets and have them on hand for any training session over an hour or for extra sweaty sessions/ outdoor sessions.
Lastly, we have our athletes be proactive during this time of month. We suggest intentionally consuming a liter of water before training no matter what to make sure you’re entering your training session fully hydrated.
That’s it ladies! Knowing your body and how your hormones affect it and your fitness will set you up to crush your training and your days!
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Let us know!