Since writing The Women’s Book Volume 1 possibly the most common question I get is about whether or not hormonal birth control (i.e. the pill, patch, ring, Depo-provera shot, etc.) will impact on training. Sadly, this is a topic for which there is little to no information (and some bad information) around.
While this is a topic I intend to cover in The Women’s Book Volume 2, with no current release date on that book, I didn’t want to wait that long to get it out so I decided to throw together a short booklet on the topic.
In it, I take a fairly comprehensive look at the topic of hormonal birth control for female athletes/active women. This includes an examination of the menstrual cycle, the effects of the reproductive hormones, an overview of birth control and the general effects it has on women.
From there I looked at the known and established effects of hormonal birth control on various topics related to female athletic performance such as body composition, injury risk and others. In specific chapters, I looked at the research on the effects of birth control on aerobic and anaerobic exercise along with strength training and muscular gain. In all cases I examined both the acute effects of birth control along with any effects it might have on longer term training adaptations.
The book ends with an overview of my hormonal birth control recommendations along with a chapter examining different situations women might find themselves which impact on either their choice to use or not use birth control or what type to use. I tried to strike a balance of providing enough information without getting too mired in unnecessary details. The book is fully referenced for those who want to delve further into the research.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Birth Control and Female Athletes
Chapter 2: The Menstrual Cycle
Chapter 3: Reproductive Hormone Effects
Chapter 4: Hormonal Birth Control
Chapter 5: Birth Control Effects
Chapter 6: Birth Control for Athletes Part 1: Benefits and General Effects
Chapter 7: Birth Control for Athletes Part 2: Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise
Chapter 8: Birth Control for Athletes Part 3: Strength Training and Muscle Gains
Chapter 9: Birth Control Recommendations Part 1: Hormonal Birth Control Summary
Chapter 10: Birth Control Recommendations Part 2: Context Specific Recommendations
The book costs $9.95 and, due to it’s length is only available digitally, in PDF or Kindle format.
10% from every purchase from will be donated to The Women’s Sports Foundation, a 501c3 charity founded by Billie Jean King and dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring all girls access to sports.