Hormone changes and our workouts – how they can work to benefit each other
I may have found a new obsession, and that is involving researching and learning more about how cycle syncing for women can truly help us lose more weight, regulate hormones which can help with decreasing inflammation, and help us feel better, decrease period symptoms and increase our metabolism AND improve workouts!
You may be wondering what the heck is cycle syncing?
I had no idea until I discovered Alissi Vitti’s book “In the Flo”.
Essentially you are working to support your cycle. Your cycle meaning the 28 day or so period we are supposed to rotate through. (here’s your biology talk) It is made up of four phases; Follicular, Ovulatory, Luteal and Menstrual. Each phase consists of a few days where our sex hormones should fall and rise (hormones meaning estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone mainly among others). The first half is composed of the follicular and ovulatory cycles which are aimed more at increasing estrogen and testosterone to help prepare for ovulation when they are at their peak and to make us ladies fertile. The second half consists of the luteal and menstrual phases where progesterone starts to rise and the other two start to drop before menstruation where the lining sheds if no egg is fertilized. With our hormones fluctuating our bodies are going to need different nutrients and things to support them at different times. We should also have highs and lows of energy at different times depending on this. For example it is better to rest during the last part of your cycle (Menstrual) vs. the beginning when you have more energy (Follicular phase).
Cycle syncing works to support these changes we should go through each month.
But what if you are irregular, have been diagnosed with any sort of disease like PCOS, amenorrhea or endometriosis to name a few. That is even more of a reason to try this method. By supporting your cycle when these hormones should rise and fall with foods, the right workouts and movement and self care we can optimize getting these things regulated. We want to get regular, we want to reduce PMS symptoms, by doing so we will increase our ability to optimize our metabolism function among other things.
So now to the good stuff, how does it work with our metabolism and how can our workouts help us???
When our hormones are regulated and working efficiently we are able to absorb the right nutrients, burn more fat, and feel better with less stress on our bodies. We know that less stress leads to less inflammation like I have talked about many times before. If we can get our workouts to aide us in this by timing them correctly within our cycle (or when we should be at x part of our cycle) then we should be able to recover better and get more out of them when timing is right. Here is the low down on that- each phase should rotate between different focuses/energy output for the most part to help alleviate excess stress on us at the wrong times or when we are lacking certain nutrients to recover. Follicular Phase : During this beginning part of your cycle estrogen and testosterone should be on the rise so should you have more energy, meaning you can do more HIIT and intense heavy lifting. This is a time to work harder and push yourself more because you will be able to recover better. Ovulatory Phase : This is when everything is at its peak so you can really work harder here. Luteal Phase: The first half of this cycle (it is longer almost 10 days) can be harder workouts but when hormones start to drop towards the end that is when you want to start doing more yoga, active recovery like long walks, stretching, non intense cardio to preserve your energy. Menstrual Phase – There is a reason sometimes you are fatigued during this part of your cycle.. You have lower levels of everything as your lining may shed (bleed) and if you push yourself too hard then in turn you will feel even worse during this time. Really try to use this time to lay lower doing low intensity stuff and really resting your body. When you preserve your body during this time it will allow you to have even more energy next phase (follicular) where you can go harder again. Try things like stretching, infrared sauna, gentle yoga, easy walks, massage etc. So how can you start implementing this? Easy if you are regular, just pay attention to where you are in it and start adding in these types of workouts accordingly. But what if you don’t know?? If you are like me and are irregular or have been or on birth control and have recently stopped and have no cycle then go with the moon…. yup I said moon… no this is not crazy stuff there is research behind it oddly enough. You can sync with the moon phases (follicular – first quarter , ovulation – full moon, luteal- third quarter , menstrual – new moon) and do week to week and follow those guidelines. I am working with this as a guide, and I am going to be sharing my experiences so stay tuned! Next up will be how foods affect your cycle and what can help 🙂 So if you are going to try this lets aim to have patience, start slow and work on adding in things versus restricting. Keep stress low!
If you want a free guide to help you know the right workouts for the right time of your cycle – get it below!