The difference between how your body feels during your period versus, say, the week after your period, can be massive in terms of energy levels and mood. I mean, if you've ever tried to haul your ass to an intense workout class — of course you signed up weeks ago, and it just so happened to coincide with the first day of your period — then you know what I mean. The four stages of your menstrual cycle can affect your body in so many different ways, including how you exercise, which is why planning workouts for each stage of your period, though it may sound like a bit of a tall order, is actually a great strategy for tuning into and understanding your body's needs and capabilities.
Tailoring your workouts to each stage of your period might sound like a strange concept, especially if you feel like you're a bit fuzzy on what those stages even are (don't worry, I'll help you brush up). Ellen Barrett, author and fitness trainer with the online movement studio Mindful Movement, tells me that, in her experience, before she even became a trainer, the concept of adjusting your workout to where you were in your menstrual cycle just wasn't really a thing. But when she started to train women herself, she says her clients would often openly talk about where they were in their cycle, because of how it would affect their bodies. Pretty soon, Barrett realized there was a real need to consider how these two things affect each other.
"It actually optimizes athletic performance to listen to your body and track the cycle," Barrett tells Elite Daily, "and helps to relieve symptoms like cramps and mood swings."
If you're curious, why not give it a shot yourself? Here are some of Barrett's recommendations for adjusting your workout schedule to your period.