Cycle syncing for the busy woman
Lemme burst your bubble...
Women aren't meant to work out like men. We cannot and should not be doing the same exercise every day of the month (unless your goal is to burn out, have adrenal dysfunction, and actually gain weight ... then okay do HIIT every day).
Whilst it can be hard for most of us to work out less during our luteal phase...the results are ASTONISHING when you start doing this.
Women have approximately 450 menstrual cycles in their lifetime, so it's about time we work WITH our bodies rather than against them.
I started 5 years ago, and my life hasn't been the same since.
Marketing sells us the story that we have to eat less, do more cardio and be at the gym 3 hours a day to look good but it's an absolute load of shit that makes us continue to hate our bodies, periods, and womanhood.
NOTE: This is not a perfectionist's guide to cycle syncing. I will give you some basic guidelines, which I have been able to follow for the last five years because, you know, sustainability is the number one thing people often forget. With this guide, please allow yourself to make exceptions and be flexible. It's not the end of the world if you don't follow this to a 'T.' Remember, for this to benefit you, the number one thing to keep in mind is to reduce your stress, so don't stress over being perfect. That's only going to hinder you long-term.
KEY INFO (SAVE THIS)
🩸 Your menstrual phase is your bleeding days. I typically won't do much of anything on the first day of my bleed.
- Exercise: I might go for a walk. I might do a bit of stretching, but no exertion of energy. And on day 2-3 and onwards I will choose workouts similar to in my luteal phase (see below), but if I notice it becomes strenuous, I will take a break and start again when I'm ready. I do not push my body during this phase.
- Diet: Try to eat warm, nourishing foods (warm salads, root veggies, stews, etc.) and avoid raw foods. Remember the key thing here is to try! If the option is there, take the warmer option, but don't deter your entire date plans if it happens to be at a sushi restaurant.
- Work: During your menstrual and luteal phase you will have a bit less energy and your articulation will be a bit more challenging (again, not impossible - we're just noting small changes). You might feel like you want to be a bit more introverted or get some creative tasks done, where you don't have to verbally express yourself and you can turn inwards.
🌷 Your follicular phase starts after the last day of your bleed, your energy levels start to increase, and your cervical fluid starts to change.
- Exercise: During the beginning of your follicular phase you can being to pick up the pace of a slow burn type of class, still low impact (don't just jump into a HIIT class or endurance workout immediately after you finish your menstrual phase). And once you're well into your follicular phase you can really start to pick up the pace and get a good sweat going.
- Diet: It is normal during your follicular phase and ovulation to have less hunger and want to choose lighter options like raw food and salads.
- Work: During follicular and ovulation phases, your estrogen is peaking, which means you are better at articulating yourself. Try to create content, book meetings, say yes to social events during this time, because it's going to feel really easy for you.
💦 Your ovulation phase makes you feel READY FOR LIFE, and your cervical fluid changes again as you become fertile.
- Exercise: During this phase you can lean into energetic workouts. I personally will never push myself to the point of exhaustion, though, even in my ovulation phase. It just adds more stress to the body, and we face enough stress throughout our day apart from exercise.
- Diet: See follicular phase.
- Work: See follicular phase. Think tasks like: recording a podcast, filming, giving a presentation.
🌶️ Your luteal phase for 7-10 days (a 10-day luteal phase is good cause it means you have lots of progesterone!), where your energy decreases, and you need to focus on reducing your stress levels - this is often where people get PMS and let's remember PMS is common but NOT normal!!
- Exercise: In terms of exercise, you will want to do low impact and nothing that is going to get your heart-rate up too high, or get your adrenaline pumping (adrenaline = cortisol = stress). Think 'slow burn' type of exercise. Rest more and do less.
- Diet: It is normal to get very hungry during this phase. Please do not restrict yourself. Again, if you can, lean towards warmer, nourishing dishes. Note: Cravings are common, but not normal.
- Work. See menstrual phase. Think tasks like: planning and writing.
Remember the biggest takeaway here is to be flexible with this. Do not try to follow this perfectly. See what choices can be made, and flow with the rest. The whole point is to reduce your stress and increase your productivity and health.
Want more info? I have a podcast that explains it all, LISTEN HERE.
If you're keen to learn more about your cycle, check out my program Your Perfect Period. And if you would like to safely come off of hormonal birth control, check out this course.