By Leilani H
What is Cycle Syncing?
Cycle syncing is aligning your diet, exercise routine, social engagements, and work engagements to the different phases of your monthly menstrual cycle. Essentially, cycle syncing is self-care.
The female body is beautifully dynamic. With hormones constantly changing over the month, you may be more prone to stress and anxiety at certain times of the month. However, you may also feel extremely productive and mentally focused the following week. Syncing your daily habits to your menstrual cycle and natural rhythms to achieve a state of balance and harmony.
Why should I Cycle Sync?
- Fertility - Tracking your period and cycle syncing for fertility awareness has been practiced for centuries. If you and your partner are trying to conceive (or not), being aware of your cycle is valuable information.
- Weight Loss - Planning your exercise routine and adjusting its intensity based on your energy levels throughout your cycle. It may help staying active to be more enjoyable.
- Productivity - Cycle syncing allows you to schedule, predict and optimize days to be productive, have tough conversations, grow relationships, get work done, and launch new ideas. You may find that your brain is sharper and more alert at certain times of the month.
- Diet - You are what you eat. Nourish your body with vitamins and minerals by eating certain foods during the different phases. Your body has different needs during different times of the month.
- Rest - You may feel more tired certain times of the month. That's because your hormone levels vary widely. Understanding when to take it slow and relax can make your period more enjoyable.
The Four Seasons
Menstrual Phase - Winter
What's going on? The first day of your period is the first day of your cycle. During the menstrual phase, your uterus is shedding its endometrial lining. Progesterone and estrogen levels have dropped as there was no fertilized egg that was implanted this month. Prostaglandins are peaking cause cramping.
Diet Foods rich in Iron and Zinc (red meat, beets) to restore lost blood and warm soups/stews to soothe your winter. Incorporate some anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, ginger, curry, cinnamon and garlic in your cooking. Drink the most water during this time of month about 2L a day to stay hydrated.
Exercise During this phase, you may feel low in energy. Low intensity, walks, yoga, Pilates, stretching and rest are the best for this week.
Productivity Your period week is a great time to reflect, set goals and make plans. You may not feel enthusiastic or energized to take on commitments and demanding projects during this phase.
Taking it Easy Your energy is at its lowest during this week. During the menstrual phase, you typically feel more inward, reflective and slow.
Follicular Phase - Spring
What's going on? Your body is preparing to release an egg. FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) levels increase to grow up to 30 follicles, each containing an egg. Later in the follicular phase, only one of these follicles continues to grow and release estrogen. Estrogen levels also rise to stimulate thickening of the uterine lining for implantation of the fertilized egg.
Diet Consume foods high in healthy fats, minerals and vitamin E to nurture follicular (egg) growth and support estrogen. These include sweet potatoes, eggs, avocado, carrots and leafy greens to nourish your ovaries.
Exercise Your energy levels are rising. This is a great time to do more intense workouts. This includes strength training, HIIT, running, cycling and cardio.
Productivity Your brain feels sharp and ready to use its creativity! This is a great time to try new things, start new projects, and brainstorm. Schedule work and strategy meetings during your spring.
Spring in Your Step Your energy is increasing during this phase; get ready to set and achieve your goals. You may also experience a boost in creativity, optimism and joy!
Ovulatory Phase - Summer
What's going on? Estrogen and testosterone levels surge and reach their peak. During this phase, LH (luteinizing hormone) triggers egg release into the fallopian tubes at about days 12-16. Progesterone rises after ovulation.
Diet Consume cleansing, refreshing, energizing foods for your summer! Foods such as raw fruits, salads, nuts and strawberries. Increase your intake of vegetables like bok choy, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts - they contain glutathione, an antioxidant that can help your body remove toxins, including excess estrogen.
Exercise Your energy levels are at its peak! This is a great time to do some strength training, HIIT, running, cycling and cardio. High impact and high intensity workouts such as spin classes.
Productivity You're feeling confident and your stamina is at its peak. Plan your social engagements, embrace your high levels of productivity and launch new projects. You may find it easier to be around people, work in teams and network during your summer.
Summer Lovin' Have fun with the extra boost of energy and take advantage of the positive, extroverted feelings. After ovulation, you may feel less energetic and it's time to prepare for your autumn.
Luteal Phase - Autumn
What's going on? Progesterone and estrogen rise then drop if the egg is not fertilized, triggering period/menstruation. In the latter part of the luteal phase, as estrogen drops, serotonin drops too causing you to feel a little sad. You may feel less energetic and more emotional.
Diet The rise in progesterone, may cause cravings for fatty, high carb foods and an increased appetite in general. Consume warming, grounding foods high in fiber and healthy fat to beat PMS cravings examples include root vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, ginger and apples. As your body prepares for menstruation, it consumes nourishing foods high in iron, such as beef, bone broth and shellfish.
Exercise Lower intensity workouts are appropriate for the luteal phase. Try pilates, yoga, walking and other low impact movements. It may also be a good idea to start individualizing your exercise during this phase - but remaining active as exercise can boost your mood and reduce bloating.
Productivity Embrace your autumn. Take time to review, edit and refine the projects you took on during spring and summer. Self-care is important during the luteal phase as you begin to direct your energy inwards.
Taking it Easy Expect your energy levels to decline and support your body through slowing down your exercise, and consuming nutrient-dense indulging foods.
Cycle syncing may sound daunting as it does require a lot of planning at first. However, once you get in the flow and reap the benefits it will become second nature. Be forgiving and listening to your body, cycle syncing is not meant to be restrictive.It's different for every woman, but we are based on 28 days (the average menstrual cycle length for the average woman).