Birth Control and Athletic Performance
As author of The Women’s Book Volume 1 a common question I get is about hormonal birth control and athletic performance. Every day more and more women are entering sport or simply becoming more active. And statistics show a large percentage of those women are using birth control. This makes the topic of birth control and athletic performance an important one.
I didn’t want to wait to finish the forthcoming Women’s Book Volume 2. For this reason, I choose to write a shorter booklet instead. Hormonal birth control has an enormous impact on every aspect of a woman’s physiology. Research has established many, but not all, of those effects.
Effects on nutrient use, metabolism and hormones all occur in response to the use of hormonal birth control. As a result, it has the potential to impact on all aspects of a woman’s training.
Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of information, certainly not outside of specialized medical research or textbooks that examine birth control and athletic performance. Certainly nothing comprehensive exists which is why I wrote this book.
Topics Discussed in Birth Control and Athletic Performance
In it, I examine a number of topics related to athletes and active women. The first chapters examine the menstrual cycle along with the effect of a woman’s hormones. A detailed examination of hormonal birth control follows those chapters. The sheer complexity of this topics makes this one of the most complex chapters.
With that physiological background, I examine birth control as it pertains to female athletes/active women. First I look at the well established positives and negatives along with the impact on factors such as bodyweight/body composition, injury risk and others.
Following that are chapters examining the research on the impact of hormonal birth control on aerobic and anaerobic activities along with strength training and muscular gain. In each, I discuss both acute changes and long-term performance adaptations. In many cases, there is ample research (although much of it is poorly done), in others very little.
The book ends with an overview of birth control recommendations based on the research to date. This includes examining different situations a woman might find herself in. This impacts on whether or not a woman might choose hormonal birth control along with what is optimal.
My goal in this book is not only to help female athletes make an informed choice regarding hormonal birth control and athletic performance. In writing this book, I tried to find a balance between technical and applied information. I also provided a full reference list for readers wishing to delve further.
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.