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Harnessing the Power of Your Period: The Art of Cycle Syncing

Ever feel like your hormones are in control of your life? Somedays you feel like you could climb Mt. Everest, while other days you feel too tired to get out of bed? For women, these feelings of fatigue or exuberance often go hand in hand with their menstrual cycle. This is where cycle syncing comes in.

Cycle-syncing is the term for an empowering practice that allows us to harmonize our fitness, nutrition, and overall lifestyle with the natural rhythm of our hormones. In this blog, we’ll break down what cycle-syncing is, how it works, and how you can integrate it into your lifestyle. Get ready to take control of your hormonal journey and unlock a newfound sense of balance, vitality, and empowerment.

Cycle syncing 101:

The term cycle-syncing was coined and trademarked by Alisa Vitti, a Functional Nutritionist. It involves aligning our activities and self-care practices with the different phases of our menstrual cycle.

But, before delving into cycle-syncing, let's take a closer look at what those menstrual phases are:

  • First up is the follicular phase, which occurs before the release of the egg. During this phase, estrogen and progesterone levels begin to rise, setting the stage for a sense of renewal and fresh energy. It's like nature's way of giving us a clean slate and a boost of vitality.

  • Next, we have the ovulatory phase, where the egg is released. This is when estrogen reaches its peak, accompanied by a rise in testosterone and progesterone. It's no surprise that during this phase, many women experience a surge in confidence and heightened sexual desire. It's like our bodies are saying, "Hey, it's time to take charge and embrace our sensual side."

  • After ovulation, we enter the luteal phase. Estrogen and progesterone levels remain high during this time. If the egg isn't fertilized, these hormone levels start to decrease, marking the beginning of a new menstrual cycle. However, for some women, the luteal phase can bring about mood swings and physical discomfort. That's when self-care becomes essential—practicing mindfulness, engaging in gentle exercise, and ensuring proper nutrition can help us navigate these challenges.

  • Finally, it's time for the menstrual phase. This is the time when the lining of the uterus, also known as the endometrium, is shed, which causes bleeding. During this phase, your estrogen and progesterone levels are low, which can lead to feelings of bloating and fatigue.

To effectively embrace cycle syncing, it's crucial to track both the calendar dates and our emotional state in real time throughout the cycle. This way, we gain a deeper understanding of our individual patterns and can adjust our lifestyle accordingly.

Remember, the duration of each phase can vary from person to person. The key is to tune in to our bodies, recognize the natural rhythms dictated by our hormones, and adapt our lifestyle to support our well-being. By understanding our menstrual cycle and its different phases, we can navigate the highs and lows with greater ease, leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Does cycle syncing actually work?

Cycle syncing has been proven to improve well-being and be an effective way to improve fitness, so why aren't more women adopting this emerging trend? The truth is, sticking to the practice of cycle syncing can be more challenging than it sounds. A study conducted in 2004 revealed that approximately 46% of women have a fluctuating pattern in their cycle length of about 7 days, while another 20% experience fluctuations of around 14 days. This means that each woman's cycle is unique, and following generic steps may not yield the same results for everyone.

When performed correctly, cycle syncing offers several benefits for women, as highlighted by experts. Benefits include:

  • help improve hormonal balance,

  • reduce PMS symptoms such as bloating, mood swings, and cravings,

  • optimize the effectiveness of your workout routine,

  • minimize the risk of injury during exercise,

  • alleviate period symptoms like pain and mood swings,

  • increase energy levels,

  • provide fertility support by identifying the best time to conceive,

  • and promote better quality sleep.

By embracing cycle syncing and customizing it to your individual needs, you can experience these advantages and enhance your overall well-being.

Who can benefit from cycle syncing?

Cycle syncing is a valuable practice for anyone who menstruates, especially if they find themselves struggling with symptoms or not feeling their best throughout their cycle. However, certain groups may particularly benefit from this approach, including individuals experiencing:

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

  • Obesity

  • Fatigue

  • Low libido

  • Struggles with conception

Cycle syncing offers a proactive and personalized way to navigate the fluctuations of our hormones. By incorporating self-care practices and adjusting activities according to the different phases of the menstrual cycle, individuals can find balance and harmony. So, if you're looking to feel your best and live in tune with your body, embracing cycle syncing as a transformative practice can be a powerful step towards achieving optimal well-being.

Cycle syncing + fitness & nutrition:

So, you want to begin cycle syncing? Here’s our easy guide for how to cycle sync your fitness routine during the three stages of your menstrual cycle:

Menstrual phase:

When you’re in the menstrual phase, your energy levels are likely to be at their lowest, this is due to your estrogen and progesterone being low as well. You may feel fatigued and bloated. When you’re feeling low-energy and fatigued, this is not the time to do high-intensity workouts. It’s also recommended to take a rest during this phase and skip working out altogether. However, if you feel the urge to hit the gym, try to do some low-impact workouts, such as:

  • Yoga

  • Pilates

  • Light cardio like walking or hiking

  • Stretching

During the menstrual phase, you’re probably going to be craving foods that offer warmth and comfort. It’s also helpful to eat food high in fiber, iron, zinc, and antioxidants. This will help to diminish bloating and support overall well-being. You should work to include foods like:

  • Nuts

  • Tofu

  • Eggs

  • Lentils

  • Fish

  • Protein

  • Sweet potato

Follicular phase:

During this phase, your estrogen levels are gradually increasing. This will work to improve your mood and energy levels. Your symptoms of bloating and cramping will likely dissipate and your energy levels should kick back up. Thus, the follicular phase is a good time to do some more challenging workouts, such as:

  • HIIT

  • Boxing

  • Running

  • Strength training

  • Swimming

When you’re in the follicular phase, it might be a good time to focus on eating a lot of protein-rich foods. Eating fiber can also help to support the body’s estrogen metabolism. Try eating foods like:

  • Leafy green veggies

  • Avocado

  • Fish

  • Broccoli

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Olive oil

  • Probiotic yogurt

Ovulation phase:

In the third phase, your estrogen and progesterone levels will be at their highest- leading to an added boost to your mood, energy levels, and libido. Similar to the last phase, this is a good time to take advantage of those high energy levels with some intense workouts, like:

  • HIIT

  • Running

  • Circuit training

  • Cycling

When you’re ovulating, your diet should focus on foods that promote strength and recovery. This means eating a balanced diet of healthy fats, veggies, and fruits. Try including foods like:

  • Eggs

  • Kale

  • Tomatoes

  • Berries

  • Citrus fruits

  • Leafy green veggies

Luteal phase:

In the final phase, progesterone levels will begin to increase even higher before quickly dropping, which can lead to symptoms like bloating, breast tenderness, and mood changes. PMS typically occurs in this stage. During this phase, you may still have some energy left but don’t be surprised if it drops off pretty quickly. Stick to easier workouts to prep your body for re-entering menstruation, such as:

  • Yoga

  • Low-intensity cardio

  • Strength training

  • Pilates

During the luteal phase, you should try eating foods high in complex carbs to mitigate your mood and low energy levels. You will also likely experience a lot of cravings during this phase. So it’s key to provide your body with the nutrients it needs, not just what you’re craving. Integrate in foods like:

  • Herbal teas

  • Protein

  • Spinach

  • Brown rice

  • Lentils

  • Dark chocolate

How to get started with cycle syncing?

So! You’re ready to start cycle syncing. The first step is going to be tracking your period, this has been made easy with the variety of period-tracking apps you can find for your smartphone. The next step is going to be setting guidelines for yourself on how to eat and exercise to best support your body during these phases. After these two steps, you’re ready to begin your cycle-syncing journey!

For more information on your hormones or obtaining optimal health, click here to contact us or call (276) 235-3205 to schedule your complimentary discovery call.

The Johnson Center for Health services patients in person in our Blacksburg and Virginia Beach / Norfolk locations. We also offer telemedicine for residents of Virginia and North Carolina!


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