Ovarian cycle, sport performance & nutrition

This is a brief recap of the live conversation I and Dr Salma Ballal had a few days ago and I encourage every women reading this to take one hour of their time and listen to the IGTV video I recorded for you and you can find at my Instagram profile.

🔸All our cycles are divided into 4 phases: 1) menstruation, 2) follicular phase, 3) ovulation, 4) lutheal phase.🔹Each of these phases has its own set of hormones that go up and down, which is why it’s really important WHEN we have our hormone profile done.🔸All cycles start with our period then immediately goes into the FOLLICULAR PHASE, which is so called cause it’s when the ovary starts to produce follicles ‘till ovulation (day 14/15). At each cycle, each ovary produces between 5 to 20 follicles.🔹This is why an ultrasound is NOT to be done during the follicular phase: if you have been diagnosed PCOS and you got tested during this phase, you should get your test done again (together with other exams).🔸Week 2 (days 8-14/15) is usually the stage of our cycle in which we get our PEAK PERFORMANCE and we feel full of energy. In fact, a bunch of hormones are released during this phase, getting close to OVULATION.🔹After ovulation and through the LUTHEAL PHASE (day 22-28), our body temperature goes up and we tend to breath faster and this’s why exercising at this time (especially in summer or high temperature) can cause exhaustion and lead to frustration. Our body needs to go in a much higher temperature to regulate and doesn’t manage to oxygenate our muscles, leading to a quicker feeling of tiredness, exhaustion, fatigue.🔸SWEAT is how our body reacts to cool ourselves down: it’s not a measure of kcal consumption and it’s not connected to weight loss. You can experience more sweat during lutheal phase for the above reasons but this does not mean you’re burning more kcal.🔹WATER and fluids INTAKE is essential during periods: keep hydrated also to avoid cramps and discomfort. Our body retains more water during the last phase of our cycles, so try reducing SALT intake instead.🔸Any THYROID diseases affect our body temperature and period. If you’re trying for a baby or in the first part of your pregnancy, make sure your thyroid function, performance and production and are optimum.🔹The main reasons that can stop menstrual cycle are a POOR DIET, TOO MUCH EXERCISE and STRESS FOR THE BODY and HORMONAL IMBALANCES.Runners and bodybuilders are often experiencing the disappearance of period although hormone profile can be normal (they are not in menopause).If you miss 2 periods, you should get checked.🔸Cycles ARE NOT the same with or without pill. After being on the pill (also depending on which pill and for how long it’s been taken), it might take time for normal period to come back. 🔹As we age, our body metabolism changes: what used to work before might not be working for you now. Sometimes it’s not just a matter of hormones or pill if you notice more cellulite; our body adapts to stimulus very quickly, so maybe you should change something in your nutrition and trainings.
🔸Try including regular exercise and stress-reduction techniques (breathing exercises, meditation, yoga etc) to boost your energy and reduce the PMS symptoms. If you’re devastated by cramps, try soft forms of exercises like a short walk or swim, breathing exercises, gentle yoga. 🔹To reduce cravings: 1) avoid high-processed carbs (crackers, chips etc) and opt for cooked whole grains, starches, veggies, legumes, soaked rolled oats. 2) include at least 20g lean proteins at breakfast (eggs, nuts, seeds, tempeh, beans) : it’ll help keep you full longer and maintaining your blood sugar levels stable. 3) Aim to eat a meal every 2,5/3 hours. 4) Minimize caffeine and alcohol in the second half of the day, cause they can disrupt your sleep (even if a glass of dry red wine can be good, as Dr. Salma says). 5) Reduce salt, as we tend to get liquids retention and salt can only worsen it. 6) Drink more water. 🔸 Don’t compare your performance to your boyfriend’s: it takes a woman 33% LONGER than a man to burn the same amount of calories.= if you and your boyfriend ate the exact same meal and you both exercise for 1 hour, you would need 30 minutes more to burn the same amount of calories he did.🔹 Cellulite is female: most of women has it because of estrogen. Include lymphatic massage and drink more to improve your circulation.

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