Pre-Menstrual Phase Diet & Training?

What does the menstrual cycle have to do with fat loss?

In addition to having reproductive function, estrogen and progesterone have an impact on fuel storage and fuel use. In other words, these two hormones can determine what type of fuel is burned (sugar versus fat).


This is mainly because they can mildly influence two primary fuel regulating hormones, insulin and cortisol. And, if you think for a minute, this makes sense. The reproductive capacity of a women and the viability of her offspring depends on the ability to store resources. During the follicular phase the egg is not yet released, but after ovulation the possibility of an egg being fertilized means the body shifts into more of fat storing physiology and becomes more reliant on sugar burning.

So, very simply the follicular phase is a time of relatively better fat burning, while the luteal phase shifts the body into more sugar burning (carbs).

Estrogen directly opposes the action of insulin on the major fat storing enzyme LPL essentially making the body less prone to fat storage and more prone to fat release.
Estrogen is also anti-cortisol (as is progesterone). This means women may be able to better tolerate a little more starch and burn greater proportions of fat during exercise with less consequences of stress hormone production. This is a great time to focus more on steady state longer duration moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise (since women burn higher proportions of fat at all exercise intensities during this phase).

Progesterone opposes the action of estrogen and may make the body more reactive to starch/sugar (i.e. more insulin resistant).
So, based on these metabolic changes women would want to watch their starch/sugar intake during the luteal phase.
Progesterone, like estrogen, is anti-cortisol as well. With progesterone relatively higher than estrogen in the luteal phase, the female metabolism becomes more of a “sugar burner” and more reminiscent of the male physiology with enhanced glycogen storage.

The afterburn of exercise MAY be accentuated in the luteal phase because of this, allowing women to take advantage of this unique aspect of exercise. This is a great opportunity to use higher intensity short duration metabolic conditioning and/or interval training. That’s our Tabata training sessions.

The Luteal Phase detail.

Luteal phase increases both energy intake and energy expenditure in women as well as increases cravings for sweet and fatty foods.
The cravings are likely a result of the falling estrogen and progesterone levels premenstrually, both of which have receptors sites in the brain and influence both GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. I suggest the recipe below of unsweetened cocoa powder & Branch Chain Amino Acids will raise neurotransmitters (cocoa raises serotonin and dopamine & BCAA increase GABA). Ironically chocolate, most especially dark chocolate, is a proven craving in women at this time. Cocoa powder allows a calorie free treatment specific to this issue.

Pre menstrual phase (Days 14-28)

The luteal phase is more of a catabolic time for muscle tissue making long-duration cardio less beneficial and higher protein diets more prudent. There is some evidence the luteal phase has a greater EPOC and afterburn effect associated with it.


Studies suggest that women should adjust their training schedule and food choices during this phase of their cycle to take advantage of the natural hormone changes that occur.

Diet – Carbs: Protein:Fat
20:40:40 or 10:45:45 macronutrient intake.
You will notice that carbohydrates are lower than a normal diet, protein increased a little perhaps and fats increased.

Training – strength & conditioning
4-5 days per week metabolic conditioning , mixed weight & cardio interval training, the kind of Metabolic rest based and Tabata sessions I include in my indoor Fitcamps.

Daily leisure walking (as much as able) this style of walking slow and relaxed and aimed at reducing stress including cortisol.

Cardio – aerobic training
This is removed from the training schedule completely. No treadmill, rowers or ellipticals or any other firm of long duration training.

Watch out for the next post covering the first phase ( days 1-14) of the menstrual cycle, and notes for post menopause too!

Eat Clean, Train Smart, Expect Results.


Crush Pre Menstrual Cravings

How your Menstrual Cycle effects your Metabolism and Fatloss potential.

The Pre-menstrual craving phase.
You will notice increases in both hunger and work intensity, as well as increased cravings for sweet and fatty foods. The cravings are likely a result of the falling estrogen and progesterone levels premenstrually, both of which have receptors sites in the brain and influence chemical balance.
Craving Killer Recipe
– unsweet cocoa powder
– BCAA supplements mixed in water
Will deal with this as it will re-balance those chemicals. (cocoa raises serotonin and dopamine & BCAA increase GABA). Ironically chocolate, most especially dark chocolate, a popular craving at this time. Cocoa powder allows a calorie free brain chemistry treatment specific to this issue.




So, plan for your cravings, mark your cycle on your calendar and have your ingredients ready.

Eat Clean. Train Smart. Expect Results.


Green Smoothies- Why?

Improve Nutrition
Improve Fatloss
Reduce Sugar intake too!


Earlier this year I bought a MagicBullit and I love it. Ever since seeing a demonstration I’ve wanted one. I chose it because it came with 6 ‘carry with you’ cups with lids. So, no looking for a glass or extra washing up. You can also make a soup and heat it in a micro at work with the clever steamer cap. Another way to avoid sugar and sweetener filled energy/ protein bars when you don’t fancy a packed lunch.

My main nutritional weakness is not eating enough green vegetables. I buy them, but get sick of simple steamed cruciate veggies, I prefer a good leafy salad with shredded beets, but it doesn’t fill me up!

With my new goal of reducing processed sugars, I wanted to do that by drinking a daily green smoothie. And I also wanted to upgrade my big, noisy blender. So, I bit the bullet (pun intended) and searched Amazon for a Bullitt mixer, and it’s been great. It’s so easy to clean, you can’t make too much so no worries about gaining weight – which many people do when they turn a healthy green smoothie into a pudding by adding much fruit.


I’ve been keeping my recipes fairly simple and very low sugar. Here is the recipe I’ve been using most.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 serving Vanilla Low Carb protein powder
2 cups chard/kale/spinach mix (or sometimes just spinach)
1/2 avocado
2-4 ice cubes to thicken/chill

This green smoothie is delicious and keeps me energised all day.

You can get bigger Bullits – but the temptation is to increase your portion size, or try to save it (these mixes must be enjoyed immediately) otherwise you will waste the leftovers!


Eat Clean. Train Smart. Expect Results