As women, we are innately powerful. Learn how to optimize your menstrual cycle for more energy, more productivity, and more happiness.
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I’ve always been interested in women’s health and the concept of cycle syncing since I first started learning about it. Our hormones (and females in general) have always seemed to be a little bit “confusing” to the world, but since more and more females are becoming doctors and other health leaders, I feel like our health and well-being have been taken more seriously. And in return, we’re learning more and more about ourselves, how to function at our best, and use our innate wisdom and power for success.
I also believe that many women, myself included, can lose touch with their own feminine nature while trying to succeed in a masculine-driven world (more on this topic later in another blog post!).
And this is why I love cycle syncing. It helps us to tap more into our bodies and see our menstrual cycle as a way to empower us, instead of seeing it as an obstacle.
I recently finished an absolutely amazing book called In the Flo by Alisa Vitti which talks all about this topic and I wanted to share the valuable information I learned. I think this is an incredibly important subject and something all females should learn and understand. As women, we are unique – we don’t follow the same hormone patterns as our male counterparts and naturally, we do things differently. And this is a beautiful thing!
So what is cycle syncing?
Cycle syncing is modifying your diet, exercise, work tasks, social + personal life to certain phases in your menstrual cycle.
Why is cycle syncing helpful to me?
When you can utilize the different phases of your menstrual cycle, you’ll end up feeling less drained by your to-do list and more fulfilled in life! Not to mention healthier, too!
Does cycle syncing apply to ALL women?
Cycle syncing applies to any woman having a regular menstrual cycle free from hormonal birth control. The point of hormonal birth control is to expose our body to certain hormones throughout the month to suppress ovulation, therefore not allowing us to have a natural cycle. Because of this, any females taking hormonal birth control will not have the same ebbs and flows and natural hormone surges that cycle syncing utilizes.
Let’s break down the menstrual cycle real quick:
We have 4 different phases in our menstrual cycle.
- Menstrual phase – the time when we are bleeding. During this phase, all of our hormone levels are relatively low. This lasts approximately 5-7 days.
- Follicular phase – the time between bleeding and ovulation. During this phase, estrogen levels are slowly beginning to rise. This lasts approximately 7-10 days.
- Ovulatory phase – the time where an egg is released and made available to be fertilized. During this phase, our estrogen and luteinizing hormone peaks. This lasts approximately 3-4 days.
- Luteal phase – the time between ovulation and bleeding. During this phase, our progesterone is peaking and our estrogen has another, but smaller, wave. Towards the end of this phase, our progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone fall to their lowest points (this is where PMS is common but totally unnecessary!). This lasts approximately 10-14 days.
Women follow a 28-day hormone cycle (on average).
However, it’s interesting to see how we compare to men’s hormone cycles. Yes, they have their own cycles, too!
Men’s Hormone Cycle:
A male’s hormone cycle is 24 hours. Lucky for them, this is easy to naturally follow because our daily routines fall in line with this cycle. Here is how a male’s 24-hour cycle works:
Morning: Testosterone and cortisol levels are at their highest point of the day. This makes him more energetic, competitive, and focused and this is a perfect time to exercise and get important tasks done. And just in case you were wondering, this is most likely his ideal time to have sex!
Afternoon: Testosterone starts to decline and he will feel a bit calmer. He is more likely to want to socialize and connect.
Evening: Testosterone is at it’s lowest. He may feel tired, mellow, and more passive, and his libido will be at his lowest. This is a good time for low-energy tasks and relaxing.
This repeats for them every single day. Following a specific daily routine is therefore easy and helps them to feel their best! This is not the case for women since every day in our 28-day cycle looks a little bit different. I think it’s important that men and women are aware of each other’s natural hormone cycles so we can be supportive of the other.
Now I want to get into specifics – what to eat, how to exercise, how to be our most productive, and how to support our relationships. This will help us to reach our fullest feminine potential!
Eating For Your Cycle:
It’s best to adjust what we’re eating depending on what phase we’re at in our menstrual cycle. This can help give our body the nutritional support it needs.
While we’re bleeding, it’s best to stick to warm and comforting foods that are easy to digest. This means less raw salads and more soups + stews and other cooked and easy to digest foods. It’s best to increase our intake of proteins and healthy fats during this time. We also want to make sure we’re eating nutrient-dense and low-glycemic foods since our body is doing a lot of work! This Rosemary Cauliflower Walnut Soup, Coconut Curry, or Butternut Squash Soup would be perfect for this time.
During this phase, our hormone levels are rising and we’ll likely find ourselves wanting lighter and more vibrant foods. Steamed and sauteed veggies are great during this time, and salads are good too if this sounds good to you. This Dairy-Free Creamed Kale might be right up your alley.
At this point, our estrogen is at it’s highest and our energy levels should be, too. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the ovulatory phase is a “hot” phase, meaning we can eat plenty of cool + raw foods. Fresh veggies + fruit is ideal, and we may need fewer carbohydrates, too. This is a time where things like smoothies, juices, salads, and lighter steamed foods may feel best. Try this yummy Green Dream Smoothie in the morning to wake you up.
During this phase, our body actually needs more calories as our metabolism naturally speeds up. If we don’t eat enough, or force ourselves to only eat the same amount as we did during the follicular and ovulatory phases, we may find ourselves with some unhealthy cravings. This is a prime time for roasted or baked root vegetables and slow-burning carbohydrates. High fiber foods are also incredibly helpful during this time to help flush out estrogen and avoid estrogen dominance (aka PMS). I personally love sweet potato during this time! Try these Sweet Potato Sliders, Sweet Potato Toasts, and if you feel that chocolate craving, these Sweet Potato Fudge Brownies.
Exercise For Your Cycle:
Our exercise levels should change, too, depending on where we’re at in our cycle. Even though men can thrive from the same daily workout routine, this generally doesn’t work for us. Forcing ourselves to stick to a certain workout that doesn’t innately feel good to us encourages us to ignore our own guidance and disconnect from our bodies. Instead, let’s listen to our own natural ebbs + flows so we can feel our best.
Read below to find out what type of exercise is best during certain phases of your cycle.
While we’re on our period, it’s best to take some time for rest, especially the first day or so. If you want to move your body, then a long walk or a restorative yoga flow would be a great option! Use your own judgment and do what feels best. DO NOT workout just because you feel like you need to keep up with your exercise routine. But if you feel like working out, then just keep it lighter!
This phase is great for cardio-based workouts – running, dancing, biking, etc. are all great options! It’s also the prime time to try a new workout class since we’re more open to trying new things during this time.
Since estrogen and testosterone are at their highest, we have the most energy during this phase. If you enjoy HIIT or other intense workouts, this is the time to do it! Since it’s very common to feel more social during this phase, it may also be a good idea to participate in some fun group fitness classes.
This period is best for focusing on strength training and transitioning into low impact workouts. Weight lifting, pilates, barre, and yoga are all fantastic options. However, as our luteal phase continues, we will start to feel lower and lower in energy and it’s important to honor this. As our period approaches, it’s best to keep it lighter and more restorative.
Productivity For Your Cycle:
Let’s be clear, we can do any sort of work at ANY point in our cycle. But prioritizing our work tasks based on our cyclical strengths can help us from feeling totally drained by the end of the day. Instead, we’ll feel accomplished, get MORE done, and our work will feel more satisfying, too.
Organizing our work tasks by our cycle is not always do-able. But it’s still important to understand and try to utilize as we go about our workday. And if you’re an entrepreneur or have some sort of flexibility to your job, then adapting your monthly schedule to fit our natural cycle can do wonders!
As we know, this is the time to take it a little easier, and instead of working yourself ragged, it’s important to take some time to rest, reflect, and evaluate. What worked well this past month? What didn’t work out well? How do you want to proceed going into the month ahead? Take some time to journal and create intentions for your next cycle. It’s also important that we listen to our intuition and trust our instincts during this phase (we should always do this, but especially right now!).
Focus this time on creative pursuits. Creativity is at an all-time high, so dream big, determine strategy, or spend time on any sort of creative tasks you need to do. During this time, the ideas will be flowing, so take advantage of this!
This is the best time for work that needs strong communication and social skills. Need to go network? This is your moment to shine! Seriously though. During this phase, we’ll be more talkative and also more naturally appealing to people (especially the opposite sex…haha). This is the time to be seen, pitch ideas, attend meetings, write, connect with others, and then grab happy hour with your girlfriends after work for some fun.
During this phase, it’s best to focus on bringing our projects to completion and wrapping things up. We’ll likely have a stronger attention to detail and a desire to be organized. Any sort of admin tasks we’ve put off should be done during this phase, too.
Sex + Love For Your Cycle:
Let’s not forget another important aspect to our happiness and well-being – our romantic relationships! Also, pro-tip: send this blog post to your significant other because them understanding this valuable information will be a game-changer.
During this time, it’s common for our interest in sex and intimacy to decrease. Of course, this isn’t always the case, so do what feels good to you! If sex feels good during this time then more power to you! But if it doesn’t, don’t be ashamed to take a few days off. It’s also important to take some time during this phase for self-care and some quality alone time.
Because of our energy increase and our openness to new experiences, it’s a great time to have a date night somewhere new and try something different. Go to that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try, attend a cooking class, and get creative. This will help create a stronger bond between you and your partner. This can apply to sex, too! If you want to try something new in bed, this could be a fun time to do it!
During this phase, prioritize spending quality time with your significant other. If we don’t, we’ll likely start to feel lonely, unsatisfied, and bored. And since our communication skills will be at a high, use this time for deep conversations, too. Our need to socialize during this period is strong, so this is a great time for group dates, hosting a party, and attending large gatherings together. If you’re single, this is an amazing time for first dates.
In regards to sex, this is a fun time since we’re naturally in a “wet phase” and orgasms are easier, but of course, it’s also prime fertility time so use caution. Focus on receiving and having fun. We’re naturally more appealing during this phase anyways so use it to your advantage and enjoy!
The first half of this phase can feel very similar to the ovulatory phase. But the second half is when we will start to feel a more dramatic shift in our hormones. Anything that isn’t working in our relationship will likely show up during this time. If our hormones are balanced, don’t chalk it up to PMS – it’s important to listen! We’ve been conditioned to ignore our thoughts and emotions during this time because it’s just “hormonal,” but that’s not the case. Instead, we become more aware of our needs and the issues in our life. However, if you do suffer from hormonal imbalance and feel like you have strong PMS symptoms, then try working on balancing your hormones, and in the meantime, take note of how you feel in this phase during the next several cycles.
This is also a wonderful time for chill date nights in – order takeout, watch a movie and snuggle. It’s likely we won’t feel as social as our period approaches, so group dates or new social settings might feel energy draining.
We’ll still have a fairly strong sex drive at the beginning of this phase and quickies might feel good! But as it continues, our libido will start to diminish. Focus on slower sex and more foreplay.
That’s a quick overview of the important points, although you can go so much deeper with this. Remember this is just meant as a guide and you should always listen to your own body and intuition. However, I find that this is naturally what my body craves during my cycle. If your hormones are unbalanced, you may not feel these ebbs + flows as clearly. This leads to my next important point.
Does cycle syncing help to balance hormones?
In short, yes it does! However, if your goal is to balance your hormones, then I suggest optimizing your food + lifestyle choices first to support your cycle.
But feeling the benefits + strengths of each and every phase in your cycle is easier to do when our hormones are already relatively balanced. So if your hormones are off, you may not feel the power of each phase you’re in.
Focus on eating healthy nutrient-dense foods, minimize toxin exposure, stick with low impact workouts preferably under 30 minutes, and get enough rest. This in itself will help dramatically, but improving your hormones and the health of your cycle can take time so be patient and don’t give up!
Overwhelmed with the whole concept of cycle syncing? Here’s where to start.
Okay, so I just gave you a LOT of information and I understand it might be a bit overwhelming. I get it. So here’s my advice: pick one small thing to start syncing with your cycle and try that for a month. Then, next cycle, add on one more small thing and keep building. Eventually, after several months, you will have made lots of positive changes! Personally, I started adjusting my workouts first since I’ve had a history of exercise intolerance (exercise would give me flu-like symptoms) and it’s made me feel amazing.
Where does your gut say you need to start? Start there. Mastering our hormones and our natural cycles is a lifelong journey, so try not to get caught up in doing things 100% correctly right away.
Have some female friends who can benefit from learning about cycle syncing? Share it with them!
Be sure to share this with the important females in your life so they can benefit from this information and learn how powerful it is to be a cycle syncing female! And you might want to share it with your significant other, too, so they can understand you on a deeper level. I hope this was as fascinating to you as it is to me!
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