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PERSPECTIVE—Fasting and exercise  

(Begins at 26:33) 

This week on A Different Perspective, Doc talks about how women can exercise WITH their hormones. Doc breaks down the type of exercise to do which week of your menstrual cycle, and why. 

  • Fasting is a physiological stressor like anything else your body may come across. It creates a similar effect on the body as exercise, screaming at others, running from predators, or being anxious.  
  • Your body needs some stress. But women’s bodies aren’t made to handle it like men’s bodies.  
  • Cortisol levels and circadian rhythms   
  • No research paper says cholesterol causes heart disease. Risk factors may go up. Your risk factor of getting hit by a car goes up when you cross the street, so look both ways. All your hormones need cholesterol.

steroidal hormone principal pathways

  • Progesterone is made from pregnenolone, the mother of all hormones, while pregnenolone is made from cholesterol. Cortisol is indirectly produced from progesterone or, more precisely, its metabolite, known as 17-OH progesterone. This makes progesterone an essential precursor to mineralocorticoids such as aldosterone and glucocorticoids such as cortisol. When exposed to stress, the body increases the secretion of cortisol and adrenaline. When this happens, progesterone decreases since it is used to produce cortisol. This makes it essential to control stress response to increase progesterone levels.  
  • Cortisol is used to counter hypoglycemia. Cortisone is used to counter inflammation.  
  • Exercise and inflammation 

Weeks of the cycle and exercise   

  • Move every day, with varying levels of intensity.   

A infographic describing proper workout levels for each week of a woman's menstrual cycle

    • Week 1–progesterone is tanked. When you have your period, do you feel like going for a run?  
    • Week 2–progesterone and testosterone start to elevate. A little bit more of a “dude” state. You’ll gain weight, but it won’t be as much—estrogens begin to fill out breasts and butt.  
    • Week 3–keep heart rate and stressors down. Move, but don’t elevate your heart rate. Highest progesterone time ever.  
    • Week 4–hit it hard.
  • The lymphatic system only contracts when you move, which is why you need to move daily. Just vary the intensity. 

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