Lose Fat For Women: Estrogen and Menstrual Cycle
After several days of “disconnect” from work, I got to interact with my fans on Facebook, answering questions and comments that had pending. Something I discovered and brought me a big smile, was to observe the large number of girls (young and not so young) who follow me and are interested in improving your body composition, looking for other ways than diets 800kcal and 2h cardio a day.
So I`m taking advantage of some free time, I decided to write a guide for those girls who want to improve their body composition (muscle and fat).
Women and Menstrual Cycle
The first thing to know is that the hormonal fluctuations women is very different from that of men:
- For boys, we have stable levels of testosterone throughout the month, so we should not worry. That is, just training, rest and eat properly the results will come …
- For girls, our beloved menstrual cycle occurs, resulting hormonal, metabolic disorders and even changes in behavior.
When we talk about the menstrual cycle, we can divide it into two phases:
- Follicular phase, which as its name suggests, is characterized by the development of follicles, where one of them will mature to release the egg that will address the fallopian tube.
- Luteal phase, where the corpus luteum develops and if fertilization does not occur, the release will produce menstruation.
Why do I mention this?
Simply because the hormones vary greatly between the two phases where I will focus mainly on two in this article: Estrogen and Progesterone.
As we can see in the picture above, prior to ovulation, women have higher levels of estrogen, whereas after ovulation release large amounts of progesterone, partly to prepare the body for a future pregnancy.
Well, estrogen, but always been seen as the bad hormone film, helps improve insulin sensitivity in muscle, in addition to oxidize more carbohydrates, have less appetite (Czaja & Goy, 1975) and generally have more energy for activities.
Perhaps, this effect may occur by its interaction with leptin, a hormone that plays a fundamental role in controlling the amount of calories you eat and burn. What has been observed is that when estrogen levels are low, the effect of leptin centrally decreases (particularly in the arcuate nucleus of AgRP and POMC).
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
Furthermore, during PMS (premenstrual syndrome) appetite increases (Asarian & Geary, 2002), carbohydrate sensitivity worsens and women have less physical activity, therefore an ideal environment is created to increase body fat. Some studies, observe how during the pre-menstrual phase, women increase their caloric intake through foods high in fat and refined sugar, and protein intake down. Yeah, maybe you`re not discovering America when I say that before menstruation girls prefer a piece of cake rather than a chicken breast grilled (if you prefer the latter, please call me)
A reminder mode, women tend to store more fat in the lower body, especially hips and buttocks. It is in these areas where there has been adipocytes (fat storage cells) larger, and greater amount of alpha and lower beta receptors, which makes it difficult for the body to use such cells to release fatty acids power source.
To that you do not guess that two hormones also regulate the amount of “fat” we store? Exactly, estrogen and progesterone.
Very briefly, estrogen reduce LPL activity, an enzyme (protein) that promotes the storage of body fat, whereas progesterone increases the activity. It is no wonder then, that the distribution of body fat varies with the menstrual cycle.
How to take all this into practice?
Diet and trained during the menstrual cycle
Our planning dividing into two parts:
- High carbohydrate with greater intensity exercises
- High fat more or less wear aerobic exercises.
Obviously, this will be marked by the menstrual cycle, getting more carbs pre-ovulation and post-ovulation more fat (which would pre-menstrual week).
During Phase Follicular
Thus, in the follicular phase (post-menstruation) will put weight training, high intensity workouts that will recover with ease thanks to the high-carbohydrate diet (and largely to better insulin sensitivity estrogen). At this stage will put around 1.8g protein / Kg body, and foods such as rice, potato, sweet potato, honey, fruits or quinoa, etc. Without forgetting the moderate fat intake, and vegetables.
During the luteal phase
After ovulation, do aerobic exercise, we will increase protein intake 2-2,5g / Kg body (for its satiating effect) and we will base our diet on foods rich in fiber and low caloric density (vegetables and vegetables) and monounsaturated fats or rich in omega-3 (anti-inflammatory). With this, we get that woman athlete does not accumulate fatigue, increase your calorie intake and especially that it easier to bring this part of the cycle.
Supplements for PMS
As for the PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), there are supplements that help reduce symptoms such as anxiety, stress, moodiness or fatigue. My recommendation is to ingest about 400-500 mg magnesium, omega 3 (2-4g fish oil), or even foods rich in vit. B6.
I hope you find it helpful, and above all, to help you to make it easier to maintain adherence to your nutritional plan.