Do you struggle with exhaustion, PMS symptoms, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, or just a general lack of motivation that interferes with your workout schedule? You are not alone.
Most women have a fitness routine that consists of a similar schedule, week-to-week and month-to-month. We go to the same workout classes, run the same outdoor routes, lift the same weights at the gym, and push ourselves to do the same workouts without listening to how our body feels and what it needs.
We love doing what is familiar to us and avoid stepping outside our comfort zones, but unlike men, women need a lot more variety in their workout and nutrition routines. We push ourselves to do the workouts we don't necessarily have the energy for, but feel we should be doing anyways. We feel consistently exhausted and find no release in completing another HIIT class, except that we checked it off our to-do list for the week. As hormonal beings, women enter a different hormonal phase each week, requiring adaptability in the types of movement we do. In order to best support each phase, it's important to tap into how we are feeling and how much energy we have, to decide what movement we should engage in.
If you are looking to boost your energy levels, repair hormone imbalance, live a more intuitive lifestyle, and quit the everyday HIIT routine, cycle syncing is perfect for you!
The 4 Phases of our Menstrual Cycle
1. Menstrual Phase
The first day of your period marks Day 1 of your menstrual cycle and lasts anywhere from 3-7 days. During this phase you may experience more fatigue due to your body putting in a ton of work to eliminate the lining of your uterus. Your focus during this phase should be on rest and recovery, especially with your workouts. Schedule rest, yoga, and more restorative movement, such as walking and stretching, towards the beginning of your cycle, and as you near the end of this phase, you may notice an increase in energy as you near the follicular phase. You can begin to ramp up your workouts according to how you feel. It's important to always listen to your body.
2. Follicular Phase
When you finish your menstrual cycle, you enter the follicular phase which lasts 7-10 days. Your physical energy increases and this is perfect timing to engage in cardio movement or challenge yourself to a new group class! You may feel restless in this phase, so finding stimulating activities is important in and outside the gym. Your workouts can include cardio, fun group classes, hiking, resistance training, or workouts that challenge you both physically and mentally! Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone this week!
3. Ovulatory Phase
I call this the "All Out" Phase! Your energy levels are at their peak so you are primed to take on the most strain physically and mentally. This is the perfect time to engage in HIIT, strenuous strength training, bootcamp classes, yoga sculpt, or setting new PR's! Make sure you are supplementing with nutritious foods and plenty of water to ensure you are also supporting the development of a healthy egg. Remember: just because you are in the Ovulatory Phase does not mean you will always feel 100%, if you still have low energy, adapt your workouts to best support your mind and body.
4. Luteal Phase
The longest phase of our cycle is the Luteal Phase, which occurs right before your period and lasts around 10-14 days. Every female cycle is different, so some women may experience shorter Luteal Phases than others. At the beginning of this phase, you may still have more energy as we leave the Ovulatory Phase. It's important here to still engage in workouts that utilize this high energy. As we enter into the second half of this phase, energy levels will decrease so scale back your workouts to more low-intensity, restorative movements such as walking, pilates, yoga, and slow/controlled strength training. Your body is being primed for the Menstrual Phase, so try to connect to how your body feels and not what you think you should be doing in the gym.
You can track your menstrual cycle through a variety of apps, my favorite is the Health app on the iPhone or you can use a traditional calendar to take note of the first and last day of each cycle. By understanding where you are in your cycle, you will become more familiar with your body and its' natural energy levels. This may lead you to a more gentle relationship with self and help you better understand why you may feel different week-to-week. Through cycle syncing and eating foods according to each phase you are in (I will touch on this later), you can begin to tap into a more intuitive lifestyle that feels supportive and aligned with your female body.
If you want to learn more on cycle sycning and how to live a more intuitive-based lifestyle, make sure to check out my free training HERE! I will show you exactly how I stopped restricting and found freedom with food and movement. And of course, make sure to follow me on Instagram (@backpack_belle), where I post a ton of informative content on finding balance while getting fit!
I hope you have the most energized, productive, and peaceful week ahead.