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Nutrition For The Female Athlete – Part 3

Eating Advice For Active Women 

In Part 2 of this blog post series, we covered the hormone changes that occur in the first phase of the menstrual cycle, the follicular phase. This week we will go into the second phase of the cycle, the luteal phase.

Hormones during the second phase of the menstrual cycle

The luteal phase occurs from day 14-28, assuming a 28-day cycle. We know this phase all too well as this is when PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) symptoms occur! Be aware of food cravings, especially if your symptoms sideline you from your usual workouts.

This phase is the high hormone phase with progesterone at its peak. Progesterone increases the body’s core temperature, lessening tolerance to heat during workouts and increasing sweat which causes the body to lose more sodium. Because of this you need to really make sure you stay on top of your hydration when working out in the hotter months of the year in the second phase of your cycle!

During the luteal phase, the body uses carbohydrate less effectively for energy, instead utilising fat. If you are trying to reach high exercise intensities or need to perform at your best during this time, extra carbohydrates around training sessions may be necessary for you to be able to exercise at your best. Protein breakdown also increases, so its really important to make sure you are recovering adequately with protein sources after a workout.

Examples of high protein snacks to enjoy post-workout includes plain yoghurt with nuts, a fruit smoothie made with milk, yoghurt and fruit, or some boiled eggs. 

Try having red meat or salmon for dinner post-workout to aid your recovery and help you get in your essential nutrients during this time of the month.


This image summarises the main nutrients the body will use during your workouts at each phase of the cycle.

 

If you are looking for an effective periodised nutrition plan to suit your cycle and training demands, our sports dietitian Kelsey Hutton can give you everything you need. Your initial assessment with highlight your goals, current nutrition levels & areas to focus on. Your personalised plan gives you a practical & effective way to fuel your body with everything it needs for peak performance.

Contact reception on 9280 2322 or head to our online bookings page to book in your first session with Kelsey.