Our hormones fluctuate throughout the month at each different stage of your menstrual cycle, and cycle syncing is the practice of changing your nutrition, exercise and lifestyle habits to align with these hormonal changes. When you’re living more in tune with your body, you may experience fewer symptoms around your period, and feel more productive and energised.
Before we get into the ins and outs of cycle syncing, let’s review the phases of the menstrual cycle and what they entail.
Menstrual Cycle Phases
Your menstrual cycle starts on day 1 of your period and ends on the first day of your next period. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days, but can vary from 21 to 35 days. The menstrual cycle is made up of four phases:
Also known as bleeding or menstruation, this is the part of our cycle we are all familiar with! This phase usually lasts between three to seven days and your body sheds its uterine lining which makes you bleed, which means energy is at its lowest and you will need extra nourishment and rest.
Beginning on the day after your period ends, and lasts until ovulation. Our hormones are low, and slowly begin to rise by the end of this phase. The increase in estrogen thickens the uterine lining, and encourages the body to ovulate.
This is the phase of our cycle where we are most likely to get pregnant due to ovulation - where an egg is released from the ovaries. If pregnancy doesn’t occur within 24 hours after ovulation, the unfertilized egg disintegrates and estrogen levels fall. The body then prepares for menstruation again in 14 days.
Once ovulation has ended, we move into the luteal phase. If all is well with your hormones, progesterone becomes our more dominant hormone during this phase as it rises slowly and then falls by the end of the luteal phase to shed the uterine lining and begin menstruation. This drop in progesterone can also cause a drop in energy.
Move, eat & live with your menstrual cycle
Menstrual Phase (Days 1-5):
Movement: Stretching, walking, light yoga
Nourish: Warm, nourishing foods - soups, broths, stews, slow cooked meats. Focus on replacing mineral losses from your period like iron and magnesium.
Mind: low energy, tired
Lifestyle: rest, meditation, journalling
Follicular Phase (Days 6-14):
Movement: spin class, running, hiking, swimming, light weights
Nourish: nutrient dense, lighter meals with lean protein and fresh vegetables
Mind: confident, social, spicy
Lifestyle: get creative, learn something new
Ovulation Phase (Days 15-17):
Movement: HIIT, circuit training, strength training
Nourish: lean protein and antioxidants (lots of fresh fruit & veg, nuts & seeds)
Mind: highest energy and libido
Lifestyle: get socialising
Luteal Phase (Days 18-28):
Movement: walking, strength training, pilates, yoga
Nourish: During this stage, you may find yourself feeling more hungry as your metabolic rate increases, increasing your caloric needs to maintain your energy levels. Honour your hunger cues by adding in extra healthy fats and protein
Mind: energy may be lower
Lifestyle: ticking off your to-do list, planning, indulge in self care
*Disclaimer - this is based off a 28 day cycle, however your cycle may be longer or shorter.