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Cyclical Fitness: Pilates at all 4 stages of your cycle

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Have you ever wondered why you feel strong and mighty during reformer Pilates one week and then tender and fragile the next? It’s time to learn everything you need to know about syncing your workouts with the natural hormonal changes your body endures every month! 

Get ready to discover how Reformer Pilates fits into this approach, offering adaptable class styles designed to support your body’s changing needs. Join us as we explore the science behind cyclical fitness and uncover the perks of integrating Pilates into your routine for strength, balance and overall well-being. Let’s embark on this journey together and explore how listening to your body can elevate your fitness experience.

Pilates in your menstrual cycle

Understanding Cyclical Fitness

Cyclical fitness is all about syncing up your workouts with your menstrual cycle! It’s about tuning into how your energy levels and mood change throughout the month and adjusting your exercise routine accordingly. 

So, what does the menstrual cycle look like for your body? Your menstrual cycle isn’t just about your period – it’s a natural hormonal process that impacts your energy levels, mood and physical performance. We’ll go into more depth about this below but to put it simply; 

  1. Menstruation: a bleeding cycle to shed the uterine wall.
  2. Follicular: a rise in estrogen which boosts vitality, motivation and confidence. 
  3. Ovulation: in your peak of fertility, your body will release an egg and estrogen levels will reach an all-time high.
  4. Luteal: as your body prepares for pregnancy or your period, your estrogen levels will start to decrease and your progesterone levels increase, often inducing a state of calmness and reflection.

So, whether you’re feeling like a powerhouse during ovulation or craving some gentle movement during your period, cyclical fitness is about embracing those fluctuations and working with your body, not against it.

Navigating Exercise For Menstrual Cycle

Now that you understand what each of the phases looks like for your body on a hormonal level, let’s take a closer look at how you could create a plan for your menstrual cycle and exercise options.

Menstrual

Ah, the good ol’ menstrual phase, aka your period. While this phase can be pretty different for everyone, you’ll likely experience a range of bodily changes such as cramps, fatigue, tenderness and mood swings. During this time, you should take it easy and give your body as much rest as possible. With this in mind, your cyclical fitness plan should be focused on gentle and low-impact exercises like stretch and release Pilates classes, Yin yoga and walking. This is also a great time to rest and recover your muscles and joints from your usual high-intensity exercises.  

Follicular

As your body gears up for ovulation, you may notice a surge in energy and motivation during the follicular phase. This is a great time to ramp up the intensity of your workouts and explore more dynamic forms of exercise. Think jumpboard Pilates classes, strength training, or hot yoga classes to make the most out of your increased stamina and endurance.

Ovulatory

Congratulations – you’ve reached the ovulatory phase! With estrogen levels at an all-time high and energy levels soaring, now’s the time to embrace activities that make you feel powerful and vibrant. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) Pilates classes, dance workouts or outdoor bike riding can all be exhilarating options to explore during this phase.

Luteal

As you move into the luteal phase, progesterone levels rise and your body prepares for potential pregnancy. This phase often brings out feelings of calmness and self-reflection, but it can also come with PMS symptoms like bloating and irritability. Similarly to when you exercise for menstrual cycle, try workouts that offer gentle yet effective relief, such as stretch and release Pilates classes, slow-flow yoga or walking. 

Reformer Pilates: Exercise For Your Menstrual Cycle

Flexible Exercise

Reformer Pilates stands out as a flexible exercise choice, tailored to the ever-changing phases of your menstrual cycle. It adapts seamlessly to your body’s needs, offering a dynamic workout experience regardless of whether you’re feeling energetic during ovulation or seeking gentle movement during menstruation.

Holistic Approach

This holistic approach to fitness boasts a variety of benefits, with core strength being a primary focus. Through targeted exercises, Reformer Pilates strengthens your core muscles, enhancing stability and alignment, which means improved posture and resilience in daily activities. It also works on your flexibility by elongating and strengthening muscles, enhancing overall mobility and reducing the risk of injury.

Nurturing The Body

Beyond physical gains, Reformer Pilates nurtures body awareness through precise, controlled movements. This heightened awareness extends beyond the studio, empowering you to move mindfully in all aspects of life. With its adaptability, Reformer Pilates offers a comprehensive fitness solution that not only strengthens your body but also fosters a deeper connection with yourself, no matter where you are in your menstrual cycle.

Pilates for your Cyclical Fitness Plan

Whether you need a slow stretch, an energising all-rounder or a sweaty HITT class, reformer Pilates offers a range of class styles to support your body and cycle throughout the month. 

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise during your menstrual cycle. Listen to your body’s cues, honour what feels right for you and don’t be afraid to adapt your workouts as needed. By embracing the ebb and flow of your cycle, you can create a fitness routine that supports your overall well-being and empowers you to thrive in every phase of your menstrual journey.

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