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Can ‘Cycle Syncing’ Improve Your Productivity?

It’s true that hormonal fluctuations occur throughout one’s cycle. And with that comes periods of time with high energy and periods of time with low energy. 

Now any vulva owner will tell you that these fluctuations are entirely annoying, to say the least, and that they affect one’s routine, motivation, and productivity.

But what if we told you that there is a way to make your cycle work for you? And instead of trying to adapt to the different phases of your menstrual cycle, you could make the most out of every phase?

Cue: cycle syncing 

Cycle syncing is when one adjusts their routine around the phases of their cycle. 

It’s to take note of how one’s hormones fluctuate and when, and knowing how they feel during the different phases, such as their energy levels, emotional status, thought processes, appetite, levels of fatigue, and more. 

For example, a study found that women felt high levels of self-esteem and wellbeing during the middle of their cycle. And feelings of anxiety, hostility, and depression were more common right before their period. 

Today, the idea is far more widespread and has been said to be very effective in all spheres of one’s routine such as work, socializing, and fitness.

And as Nicole Negron, a functional nutritionist and women’s health specialist says, “Once women understand these monthly hormonal shifts, they can avoid becoming casualties to their hormones and begin to maximize their hormonal power.

The benefits of cycle syncing 

According to Dr. Susan Albers, PsD, cycle syncing can help one be in-tune with their monthly hormonal changes.

And if you choose to embrace cycle syncing, you could reap the following benefits:

  • Less period cramps
  • Improved mood
  • Lower levels of stress 
  • Reduced PMS symptoms
  • Balanced hormone levels in people with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)

How to practice cycle syncing

To find out how to practice cycle syncing, we asked women’s health specialist Nicole Negron.

Negron says that if you are curious about cycle syncing, you should first become familiar with the four phases of your menstrual cycle and how each phase makes you feel. This process may take a few months but once it’s done, you can begin to maximize your hormonal power.

To quote Negron on what she does with her patients during cycle syncing:

“Once women have become comfortable tracking their cycle in calendar form, I then teach them to track what they’re feeling each week of their cycle in real time. We create a calendar together of phases and plan what projects to prioritize, what workouts, social engagements, self-care, and relationship activities to engage in.”

Cycle syncing for optimal nutrition

Your body’s nutritional needs change throughout your cycle, and there are specific foods that can actually support you during these phases. 

The challenge however is to eat a diet that is tailored to your specific menstrual cycle instead of sticking to what you know and like for the entire cycle. 

Oftentimes, women tend to eat the same foods on a regular basis to save time and frustration. But the different ratios of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone throughout the month require different nutritional and detoxification needs,” says Negron.

“Shaking up what we eat on a week-to-week basis is imperative to support our cyclical body,” she explains.

Different nutritional needs throughout your cycle

As a guideline, you could consider following this kind of diet throughout your cycle. 

But remember: this advice is not tailored specifically, it is merely suggestive.

During the menstrual phase

  • Iron-rich foods such as green vegetables, lean red meat, lentils, and beans
  • Foods containing vitamin C such as citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, and red pepper
  • Foods containing vitamin K such as leafy greens, blueberries, cheese, and eggs 
  • Foods containing omega-3 fatty acid such as salmon, flaxseed, and tree nuts

During the follicular phase

Foods that balance estrogen in your body such as:

  • Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale
  • Fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut
  • Foods with health fat like avocados, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds
  • Leafy greens

During the ovulation phase

Because estrogen is high during this phase, continue to eat estrogen-balancing foods that’ll help you get and maintain energy and stamina (such as the food suggestions in the follicular phase).

During the luteal phase

During this phase, you may experience cravings and be more hungry than usual. To assist you in this, you can eat:

  • Sweet potato
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts 
  • Cauliflower

It is also during this phase that you may feel like a sweet or salty snack. If so, you could eat:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Fruit
  • Nuts 
  • Pumpkin seeds

Cycle syncing for optimal fitness 

As our hormones fluctuate, so do our moods and energy levels. This will, of course, influence the way you look at and do exercise. 

So instead of doing the same exercise day-in and day-out, week after week, try to change it up a bit to make the most out of your cycle. 

Here’s a short summary of ways you could approach your fitness regime throughout your menstrual cycle:

During the menstrual phase  

Focus on light movements during this phase because rest is key. You could enjoy:

  • Yoga
  • Leisurely walks
  • Meditative walks

During the follicular phase

Testosterone is particularly low during this phase, so focus on light cardio. Try things such as:

  • Hiking
  • Flow-based yoga
  • Light runs

During the ovulation phase

This is a great phase to practice high intensity exercise such as:

  • Spin class
  • HIIT
  • Circuit training 
  • Weight training 

During the luteal phase

During the luteal phase, energy levels may be low. Consider the following light exercises:

  • Pilates
  • Strength training 
  • Yoga 

And last but not least, a super important bit of information for those on the birth control pill… 

Can you practice cycle syncing if you’re on the birth control pill?

Because the birth control pill uses synthetic hormones to stop ovulation, cycle syncing wouldn’t really work. 

So no, there is not much point in practicing cycle syncing if you’re on “the pill”.

And there you have it—cycle syncing is actually quite an effective way to reach your full potential throughout your cycle. Make your menstrual cycle work for you, not against you.

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