I just read an excellent blog post over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, on the topic of the menstrual cycle, how it affects athletic output, and how female athletes should harness it to positively influence training. It’s great stuff. Click on the link if you’re interested.
I’m growing more and more interested in this topic for two reasons: (1) hormones are one of the two main interfaces between the brain and the body (the peripheral nervous system being the other), and (2) there’s very little consideration given in exercise prescription to how hormonal cycles in women differ from men, and how that can affect athletic output, injury rates, and training routines. Although there’s plenty of science on the matter out there, I very rarely see it consciously incorporated into women’s training programs. It’s mostly left to women fitness enthusiasts (and not their coaches) to study this colossally important cycle and then apply the knowledge themselves.
That’s a problem. Why does it exist? I’m sure the reasons are at least as sociopolitical and structural as they are about the science and women’s physiology. Asking why this isn’t in EVERY SINGLE TEXTBOOK AND EVERY SINGLE DISCUSSION on periodization of training is just as important as discussing what is missing.
Ben Greenfield also discussed the topic in this podcast. I haven’t looked at it yet, but I’m sure it’s got some great info. I’ll probably address this topic initially in two blog posts: (1) what the science is and what is being done with it, and (2) where the science should go and what we should do with what we’ve studied.
Cool. Guess that’s it!