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Navigating Perimenopause

This is a group of my notes and tips that have been compiled from various resources. I intend it to be a working document that I will add to as I find more relevant information to share. 

If you have anything you have discovered that would be of benefit to others please do send it through as the more we share and learn the more we can move through this time in our lives with confidence, empowerment and support. 


  1. Track your cycle/ symptoms!

First things first. Track your cycle! I cannot stress this enough! 

There are many apps that you can use, or go simply use a calendar. 

Garmin connect make it super easy, if you are a Garmin user, otherwise check out others such as:

  •  “Wild AI”. On Wild you can customise and track your symptoms and the App will make recommendations on your training focus for the day. The more you track, the better it gets. https://www.wild.ai/

  • Balance-menopause App. This is Dr Louise Newson App. There is more on her website and information below. https://www.balance-menopause.com/balance-app/


  1. Resources:

There is a lot out there, once you start looking but here are a few to get you started! 


  • Dr Louise Newson. Louise recently spoke on The Imperfects Podcast and it was incredible! She has a Website & App with loads of information to learn from. A great resource to work your way through. 


This website has a number of free & paid webinars which are helpful, reading material and also a directory to find an AMS Doctor - https://www.menopause.org.au/health-info/find-an-ams-doctor


Free webinars on Testosterone and Perimenopause - 




  • Dr Stacy Sims is who I have been doing my studies with and will continue to learn from over the coming year. Her passion and research focus is the female population and while she has worked largely with the athletic population, it is transferable to all women who more their bodies! (note: Stacy quotes that all people who train with purpose are athletes!)

- Roar, Women are not small Men - 

- Next Level - Your guide to kicking ass, feeling great and crushing goals through 

Menopause and beyond.

  • Jean Hailes for Women’s Health  - a website (and Melbourne based office) that has an abundance of resources on all things womens health - https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/


  1. Podcasts: 


  • The Jean Hailes Womens  Menopause Podcast:



  1. Training to your cycle: 

There are a couple of different philosophies on training to your cycle, but with a month or two of tracking symptoms and training response you will discover pretty quickly how your body responds. Even if your cycle is becoming erratic, short or long tracking symptoms and training response is a valuable tool to get the most from your training. 


Theory one (Dr Stacy Sims work)

The below is based on a 28 day cycle, but with can be easily modified to suit the length of your cycle (questions? Just ask!)

Note: It is actually not that common to have a 28 day cycle! Many on 21 days while others are closer to 35-40 days! 


The aim is to work with our physiology not against it, particularly as it moves through perimenopause. 



Day 1-6 - Early Follicular Phase - lowest hormone phase. Focus on higher intensity work and strength training where period symptoms allow. 


Day 6-11 - Mid Follicular Phase - estrogen starting to rise - Moderate to high intensity strength or endurance based training. Immune system is typically higher at this time.

** Generally during the follicular phase you can hit training hard, recover better, lift heavier weights, cope better with multiple higher intensity days in a row, sleep and recover better.

 

Day 11-14 - Ovulation - for some women this is the time to aim for high intensity, low volume work and go for a PB in the gym or with HIIT or SIT (Sprint interval) training. Other Women feel a bit rubbish at this time, hence why it's essential to track and monitor symptoms! Immune system can be lower at this time. Note: can add in a zinc supp at this time (30-40mg) to support the immune system


Day 15-22 - Mid Luteal phase - focus on higher volume sessions during this phase, longer circuit workouts or increasing repetitions while lowering the overall workout intensity. If doing endurance training look for an easy-moderate pace. Post training protein rich nutrition is even more important during this phase. Don't delay it! 

Sleep quality may decrease during this time due to increase in core temp and estrogen. 


Day 22-28 - Late Luteal phase - Low-moderate intensity strength training, focus more on technique and mobility. If endurance training low-moderate work and movement drills. 

Increase protein pre-training during this phase and starchy carbs and protein post training. If still doing high intensities or long duration training during this phase up your carbs pre and post, and during if longer than 75 mins. Immune system may be lower at this time.

Note: If symptoms are increasing and PMS challenging consider - 1g of omegas, 250mg magnesium, 40mg zinc, 80mg baby aspirin (if no contraindications) and vitamin D. 

** Generally during the luteal phase lots of shifts happen and don’t respond as well to high intensity work. Estrogen spares carbohydrates, core temperature is higher, there is less leucine (amino acid) going to our brain so we can lose our mojo and it affects our recovery along with the fact that progesterone is a bit catabolic. 


Reference: Dr Stacy Sims, 2023


Theory Two

Unfortunately I can’t remember where I found this but this is an alternative view on training to your cycle and is how around half of the women I work with respond. While I personally fit more into theory one, I do like the food examples and the labels! 


** Bleed phase - ‘Winter’

Foods to Eat: Iron-rich foods (spinach, red meat), dark chocolate (in moderation), fruits and vegetables for essential nutrients, herbal teas (ginger, chamomile).


Exercise: Gentle exercises like yoga, stretching, or light walks to promote circulation and relieve cramps.


** Follicular phase - ‘Spring’

'Time between end of bleed and ovulation when the follicle (egg) is maturing in the ovary.'


Fierce and Fabulous: The Menstrual Marvel


Foods to Eat: Whole grains, leafy greens, berries, lean proteins (chicken, fish), nuts and seeds (flaxseed, almonds), and plenty of water for hydration.


Exercise: Engage in moderate-intensity activities such as jogging, cycling, or dancing to boost energy levels and support hormone balance.


** Ovulation Phase - 'Summer'

'The time each month when pregnancy can occur.'


Time to Shine: The Ovulation Celebration


Foods to Eat: Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil), ome



ga-3 rich foods (salmon, walnuts), leafy greens, citrus fruits, and herbal teas (peppermint, raspberry leaf).


Exercise: Opt for strength training exercises, Pilates, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts to build strength and enhance endurance.


** Luteal Phase - 'Autumn'

'Post-fertile window before commencing bleed again.'


Empowerment in Motion: The Luteal Journey


Foods to Eat: Complex carbohydrates (whole grains, sweet potatoes), leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), pumpkin seeds, and herbal teas (chamomile, lavender).


Exercise: Focus on low-impact exercises like swimming, and brisk walking.



  1. Supplements and HRT/ MHT: 

I certainly recommend talking to a specialist health professional about what may benefit you, but here are a couple worth noting. Please note, it is absolutely worth it to find a Doctor who specialises in peri and menopause. Like in any profession, not all GPs are well versed in the area and sending you for a single blood test is not enough. Use the above resources to find the right doctor or ask for recommendations! 

Adaptogens - These are herbs which work with your body to help it adapt and respond. 

This cheat sheet is a great breakdown. 

While it's tempting to try all of them I recommend 1-2 at a time and see what you notice after 30 days. Please feel free to speak to me directly to help navigate this resource! 


Collagen - A supplement that is well worth understanding - Check out my blog on the topic here! www.fitwellyou.com.au/blog


Creatine - In the early 2000’s it seemed to be the buzz supplement for male athletes. Further research has shown it to be highly beneficial for athletic performance in females to increase strength and power. It has also been found to benefit brain health and even your mood. Daily dose suggested is only 3-5g per day. For further check out Dr Stacy’s blog -   


Hormone replacement therapy/ Menopause Hormone Therapy - Absolutely the topic to speak to your trusted Doctor about. There are several types and they are something I recommend not being afraid of! Dr Louise explains them beautifully in her Pod! 


** As noted this is a working document so please come back to it to find further updates!





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