Cycle syncing to balance hormonesMay 10, 2021
It’s Time to Sync with the Power of Your Menstrual Cycle
If you’re a menstruating woman, about once a month you notice the obvious indicators of your menstrual cycle at work – a period, some discomfort perhaps, definite need for chocolate!
But what you may not realise is how the intricate dance of hormones over the course of your cycle affects EVERYTHING – your mood, energy, immunity, metabolism, cognitive skills, exercise capacity, nutritional needs, and so much more.
Your menstrual cycle is NOT just about having a period. It’s so much bigger than that!
Syncing your self-care routines, diet, exercise and lifestyle to your cycling hormones provides a whole new dimension of women’s health. Aligned with your body’s rhythms, you can balance hormones, optimise energy, lose weight, enhance performance and feel amazing every day of the month!
Let’s dive into how mastering the magic of your menstrual cycle can help you thrive!
Demystifying Your Menstrual Cycle
First, a quick review of the biology. The menstrual cycle is controlled by a beautifully choreographed dance between the hormones estrogen, progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
The cycle follows a roughly 28 day pattern, though normal ranges between 21-35 days. It consists of three main phases:
- Menstrual Phase (Day 1-6) - hormones are at an all time low
- Follicular Phase (Days 7-14)
- Estrogen rises while progesterone is low after your period.
- Ovarian follicles containing eggs develop under guidance from FSH.
- Ovulation occurs around day 14 when estrogen peaks, triggering a surge of LH to release the mature egg.
- Ovulatory Phase (Day 14)
- LH and FSH surge leads to release of the egg, aka ovulation!
- Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)
- The post-ovulation spike in progesterone alongside estrogen thickens the uterine lining to support potential implantation of a fertilized egg.
- If no pregnancy occurs, progesterone drops and menstruation sheds the uterine lining. The dance begins again!
This repeating cycle of change provides opportunities for us to optimise self-care - if we learn how to ride these hormonal waves skilfully.
Let’s explore how.
Syncing Fitness and Exercise to Your Cycle
Here’s an energising truth - your athletic performance and fitness goals fluctuate over your cycle along with your hormones!
In the follicular phase, rising estrogen gives a boost to muscle strength, endurance, power and speed. Your flexibility, balance and coordination are also enhanced by low progesterone.
So embrace high intensity strength training, HIIT and cardio intervals, plyometrics, and challenging skill-based workouts in the first half of your cycle.
In the luteal phase after ovulation, higher progesterone causes your body temperature to rise. You also retain more fluids and have increased joint laxity.
Welcome this natural shift by pulling back on intensity, sipping electrolytes, practicing gentle yoga, going for easy swims and hikes vs long runs. Give your body spaciousness when hormones call for rest.
See how tailoring training and recovery to target different cycle goals allows you to perform at your peak while preventing injury and burnout. Your workouts become more strategic – and way more effective!
Optimising Your Eating Through the Phases
Just as your exercise needs change, so do your nutritional needs! In the follicular phase, focus is on complex carbs to fuel high intensity activity and replenish glycogen stores after your period.
Once estrogen peaks at ovulation, give your body good fats like avocado, coconut oil and wild salmon to balance hormone levels, keep skin glowing and support ovarian function.
In the luteal phase, progesterone increases appetite and calorie needs. Nourish yourself with plenty of wholesome, real foods. Cravings signal what your body wishes you to eat more of like magnesium and vitamin B6 rich sources to calm PMS symptoms.
Rather than fight your cycle, you can fulfill nutritional needs intelligently at each stage. Tune in, then eat to balance hormones and energize properly. Stop restricting and start trusting the messages of your body!
Leveraging Your Cycle to Conquer Stress
You guessed it – your stress levels and tolerance to anxiety fluctuate across your cycle too. Here’s how to leverage it:
Follicular: Your feel-good estrogen helps motivate you to handle demanding projects and social commitments with lower reactivity.
Luteal: As progesterone calms your nervous system, focus on relaxation – try meditation, Epsom salt baths, gentle yoga, massage.
When you sync self-care to stress tolerance, you don’t burn out. You conserve mental energy in the luteal phase for when you need endurance. Balance effort and ease.
Boosting Productivity Through Each Phase
Whether you track billable hours or manage household duties, you can maximize productivity by working WITH your natural rhythms.
Menstrual: Rest deeply as you can. Slow down. Gather energy.
Follicular: Channel mental clarity into creative projects, social connections, bigger vision.
Luteal: Get detailed tasks done when energy dips. Your progesterone focus lends itself well to this.
Ovulatory: Capitalise on elevated confidence and charisma to pitch bold ideas or ask for what you want!
See how syncing your unique strengths and needs in each phase allows you to capitalise on energy and talents. You align work with your inner tides rather than fighting them.
In Summary, Your Cycle is Your Superpower just like I spoke about on my TEDx talk - watch it here
Ladies, your body is not broken or beyond your control! PMS, pain and hormone imbalance are not “normal” or punishment for being born female. They are signs you’re disconnected from your rhythm.
By educating yourself on the beauty and brilliance of your menstrual cycle, you can learn to flow WITH your natural tides rather than drowning in them.
I want to support you in unlocking the power of your cycle so you feel balanced and empowered – physically, mentally and emotionally. You deserve health and vitality all month long!
If you’re ready to get in sync with your body and optimise your wellbeing over your menstrual cycle, book a FREE Health consultation with me here and I will tell you how I can get you there faster.
Discover a whole new way to work in harmony with your hormones so you can reduce symptoms, boost energy, and truly thrive as the ebb and flow!