Why Cycle Syncing is for you:
Do you feel like you’re fighting against your hormones? You go from feeling like you never have enough energy and don’t want to be around anyone one moment; to jumping off the walls and feeling like a social butterfly the next. Good news – it’s not in your head, it’s actually your biology. As females, your hormones change drastically throughout the month and as a result so does your mood and energy. We can take advantage of these hormonal changes and tap into our superpower as females with a concept called Cycle Syncing.
Cycle Syncing is a life planning strategy that allows you to optimize your energy, mood, and productivity WITH your cycle.Your menstrual cycle functions on a 30-day hormonal cycle, meaning your hormone levels are totally different from week to week. As a result, your energy, social preferences, productivity, and motivation also change. As females, we often push ourselves, expecting to feel and perform the same every day, and we may even get frustrated when we feel “off” one day! I am here to tell you that this is totally normal, it’s your hormones not YOU. If you’re tired of fighting against your hormones and are ready to respect their natural ebb and flow, consider the concepts of Cycle Syncing, and you’ll learn how below.
What is Cycle Syncing?
Cycle Syncing involves curating your nutrition, exercise, and social events to support each phase of your cycle. I encourage you to track your cycle, so you know which phase you are in. I recommend apps such as Flo, and Kindara.
day 7 of your cycle.
Hormones: The 3 main hormones, estrogen, follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, are at their lowest levels.
Energy: Energy levels are at their lowest compared to the entire cycle. It is a time of nourishment and rest, there is a lot happening in your body during this phase.
Mood:It is important to be aware that you may not be as patient during this time—be kind to yourself and try to keep a distance from any known triggers.
Productivity:During menstruation your intuition is high. The communication between your left and right brain is even stronger so it is a great time for reflection and evaluation. Ask yourself: “How did I do this past month? How was my energy? My mood? What do I need to change for next month?” This is also a great time to plan for the future. If ideas come to you in this phase they will likely align closely with your values and goals, however I encourage you to hold onto these ideas and execute them during your Follicular Phase.
Nutrition: Support your body with nourishing foods that do not stress the body. A diet high in protein and healthy fats will support your mood and energy levels. Avoid sugary and refined foods, which cause a spike in blood sugar and can be taxing on the body. Consume lots of seafood and sea vegetables to replenish the iron and zinc lost during menstruation. Cook your food for a long time so it’s easy to digest and the nutrients are more bioavailable, for example soups & stews.
Exercise:Rest, reflect and recharge during this phase. Be sure to use both
food and exercise to achieve these goals. Low intensity exercises such as walking, swimming, hikes, yoga, and breathing are recommended."
Day 7 to 12 of your cycle.
Hormones: Estrogen is rising.
Energy: Energy is rising, you’ll feel more lively, playful, and curious.
Mood:Many women experience a higher tolerance for stress during this phase. Communication with others often flows better too."
Productivity: Motivation is high, so take advantage of this by brainstorming new ideas, starting projects, and trying new things. Now is a great time to start a new hobby, project, or program.
Nutrition: Metabolic needs decrease during the Follicular Phase, so this means you require fewer calories on a daily basis. It’s a great time to try intermittent fasting or eating fewer carbohydrates – maybe try the ketogenic diet this week. Focus on getting lots of protein and anti-inflammatory fats, such as avocados, to support ovulation in the next phase. Eating foods that contain phytoestrogens will support healthy estrogen production. Some great examples of foods high in phytoestrogens are flax seeds, soybeans, edamame, dried fruit, and sesame seeds Use lighter cooking methods such as steaming or sautéing.
Exercise: High intensity workouts such as HIIT, strength training, Cross-fit, and Kettle bell workouts.
Day 12-16 of your cycle.
Hormones: Estrogen, follicle stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone peak.
Energy: Your energy is at its highest, so you’ll feel very motivated and outgoing.
Mood:Confident, expressive, outgoing, and social.
Productivity:Because you are feeling more social and outgoing this is a great time for presentations, networking, and outreach. You can handle more meetings and tasks too.
Nutrition:Metabolic needs stay low, so eat a diet low in carbohydrates, high in fat and protein. Eat plenty of raw fruit and vegetables for fibre to help clear out excess estrogen which can contribute to pesky PMS symptoms. Use light cooking methods such as steaming or eating things raw.
Exercise:Keep the intensity high and take advantage of feeling social with group workouts. For example, a group spin class, running group, or team sport.
Day 17 to 28 - 30 of your cycle.
Hormones:Progesterone peaks and Estrogen spikes again.
Energy: You’ll notice a decrease in energy in the second half of the luteal phase, from day 21 onward.
Mood: Due to the higher progesterone levels, which is an anti-anxiety hormone, you’ll feel calm and relaxed. If you experience low mood or high anxiety during this phase it could be a sign of progesterone deficiency. As you approach the Menstrual Phase you may find yourself feeling more sensitive, experiencing emotions on a deeper level. Be gracious to yourself and set tighter boundaries.
Productivity:Now is the time to complete projects. Your energy and stress tolerance are lower so plan fewer projects and meetings.
Nutrition: You might experience a higher appetite and cravings during this phase. This is because your metabolic rate increases by 8-16%, so you need to increase your calories by 300-500kcal per day to support your mood and energy. Consume food rich in B vitamins to balance blood sugar and support progesterone production. Increase your intake of complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, rice, and fruit for more natural sugars to support healthy serotonin and dopamine levels to prevent mood swings. Roast or bake your vegetables to increase the natural sugar content of the food to further support your mood and energy.
Exercise: Keep your workouts intense for the first half of your Luteal Phase, then decrease intensity for the second half, focusing on restorative exercise like yoga, Pilates, and low intensity strength training.
To make Cycle Syncing easy for you visit janellevanleeuwen.com or follow Jenelle on Instagram for free Cycle Syncing recipes @janellevanleeuwen. It's time to tap into your feminine superpower!
By: Janelle van Leeuwen, BSc
Comments will be approved before showing up.