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Hack Your Menstrual Cycle: Start Cycle Syncing

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As women, many of us have accepted the toll that our menstrual cycle takes on our body. We let pain, fatigue, cramps, moodiness, and bloating control our life— there seems to be no other choice! 

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  

Cycle syncing—adjusting our diet, fitness, and libido interaction to synchronize with the menstrual cycle—is a method for taking our power back by working with our bodies, instead of against. Intentionally cycle syncing is a method for alleviating symptoms, stress, and optimizing each phase in the menstrual cycle. 

What is Cycle Syncing? 

Cycle syncing is the process of adapting your lifestyle to the fluctuations in your menstrual cycle. This can include doing less or more strenuous exercises, eating certain nutrients, or even planning your intimacy differently. 

Your menstrual cycle is not only when you are bleeding. It encapsulates the days from the first day of your period until the first day of your NEXT period.  

Why Don’t Men Have to Cycle Sync? 

Unlike men who only follow a 24-hour hormonal cycle, women also follow a 28-day (on average) hormone cycle. Meaning that mood, energy, nutrient levels, and physical strength fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle of 28 days. 

Should I Try Cycle Syncing? 

If you have a menstruation cycle, cycle syncing is worth a try! Whether you’re trying to conceive, struggle with hormone disorders, or just want to decrease symptoms, cycle syncing can improve your well-being by aligning your fitness routine, diet, and libido with your body’s natural fluctuations. 

Can I Cycle Sync on Hormonal Birth Control? 

You can cycle sync on hormonal birth control (1). However, your birth control cycle syncing will be different than someone who is not on birth control because you do not have an ovulation phase.  

How Do You Start Cycle Syncing? 

First, use your calendar or a period tracking app to determine your estimated cycle time. Once that is determined, pay close attention to how you feel your appetite, energy, libido, and symptoms change through your cycle. It’s easy to start cycle syncing, but it may take a trial and error before you are completely synchronized.  

Cycle syncing will take practice, especially if your menstrual cycle does not follow the standard 28 days. 

 

What are the Phases of the Menstrual Cycle? 

  1. Menstrual Phase 
  2. Follicular Phase 
  3. Ovulatory Phase 
  4. Luteal Phase 

 

Cycle Syncing Diet Plan 

Cycle syncing your diet focuses on nourishing your body as it loses certain nutrients. 

Menstrual Phase Diet 

Your menstrual phase is when you bleed and experience period symptoms. Magnesium rich foods —especially with fiber—are ideal for alleviating symptoms during this time (2) 

Additionally, incorporating iron rich foods supports rejuvenation after blood loss. Include vitamin C for optimal absorption! 

Magnesium rich foods with fiber include: 

– Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, and collard greens) 

– Whole grains 

– Pumpkin seeds 

Iron rich foods with vitamin C: 

– Green leafy vegetables  

– Broccoli 

– Potatoes 

Follicular Phase Diet 

Your follicular phase includes the first half of your entire menstrual cycle (days 1-14), so it also overlaps with your menstrual phase. During this phase, your estrogen is increasing to get ready for ovulation. In turn, the increased estrogen sparks cortisol, your stress hormone. 

Since your cortisol is increasing, you are experiencing the psychological symptoms of menstruation like anxiety, stress, and depression. Diet in this phase should be stress-relieving. Now is a suitable time to keep up with your magnesium and lower your sugar, alcohol, and caffeine intake. 

Magnesium rich foods for your follicular phase include: 

– Dark chocolate 

– Avocado 

– Citrus fruit 

– Berries 

Ovulation Phase Diet 

Your egg is released to the fallopian tubes during the ovulation phase, and your testosterone and estrogen peak! Many women feel energized and in high spirits during ovulation. Therefore, this is a time to supplement those feelings with a packed diet. 

Types of foods recommended for ovulation: 

– Anti-inflammatory 

– B & D Vitamins  

Recommended food: 

– Almonds 

– Flaxseed 

– Chia seed 

– Whole grains 

– Legumes 

– Lean protein  

– Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, bok choy, kale, cabbage) 

 

Luteal Phase Diet 

Your luteal phase is when your body pumps progesterone to start pregnancy. However, if you don’t get pregnant, your levels drop drastically. The drastic fall then impacts your serotonin—the “happy hormone” —leaving you anxious, sad, and unable to concentrate. Serotonin fall is the ideal time for mood boosting foods. 

Try this diet for improved mood during the luteal phase: 

– Chicken 

– Eggs 

– Fruit 

– Vegetables 

– Seeds 

– Omega-3 Fatty Acids (salmon, oysters, sardines) 

 

Cycle Syncing Exercise Plan 

Your cycle syncing exercise plan aims for the best workout while preventing overexertion.  

Menstrual Phase Fitness Routine 

With all the symptoms that come with menstruation, you do not need to overexert yourself! Choose light exercises like yoga or walking. 

Follicular Phase Fitness Routine 

Since your follicular phase is a passage through menstruation and to ovulation, you may have varying energy levels. As you move past menstruation, increase your exercise intensity slightly. This may be a longer walk, more strenuous yoga, moderate cardio, or resistance training. 

Ovulation Phase Fitness Routine 

The ovulation phase is when you can kick it into high gear! With your boost of testosterone, try harder exercises like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or intense strength training. This is the optimal time to build muscle. 

Luteal Phase Fitness Routine 

Your luteal phase is a slowdown from ovulation and might bring low mood with moderate energy. Try lower impact strength training or moderate cardio for this phase. 

 

How to Cycle Sync Your Libido 

Cycle syncing your libido is all about being in tune with your body and understanding the biological reasons for a changing libido.  

Menstrual Phase Libido 

The menstrual phase is when you are least likely to get pregnant, however, it is possible. Since your body knows it is the lowest chance of pregnancy, your libido is also at its lowest. However, having intercourse during the menstrual phase can relieve symptoms! 

Follicular Phase Libido 

Your possibility of getting pregnant will slowly increase during the follicular phase, as will your libido. Libido supporting supplements may be helpful during this time. 

Ovulation Phase Libido 

Your ovulation phase is your peak for pregnancy possibility, therefore peak libido!  

Luteal Phase Libido 

Since you just hit peak libido with ovulation, the luteal phase brings a decrease in libido and natural lubrication. This may be a time to slow down intimacy, bring in external lubrication, or take libido supplements. 

Alive and Well’s Hormone Harmony: Women’s Health Program 

There is so much more to learn about how our bodies change through the menstrual cycle. Especially since no two women have the same hormone levels. Although we can recommend tips for cycle syncing based on a “normal” cycle, 80% of women experience hormone imbalances! These hormone imbalances may be a barrier for you to reach your optimal cycle syncing. 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive program to learn more about women’s health, enroll in our 4-week virtual Hormone Harmony: Women’s Health Program. This program is led by our women’s health experts who strive to empower cycling women with education. Hormone Harmony includes blood testing, weekly Q & A sessions, glucose monitoring, recorded lectures, and guest speakers.  

Take control of your health and enroll today! 

 

 

Sources: 

1https://www.health.com/cycle-syncing-7500732 

2https://health.clevelandclinic.org/nutrition-and-exercise-throughout-your-menstrual-cycle 

 

 

 

 

 

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