Synching Movement to Phases of your Cycle
Lauren Lacanlale, B.S., Health and Movement Professional
CLINICALLY REVIEWED BY: DR. SARAH ANZOLA
Have you ever been curious as to why- one week, you are in your super intense HIIT workout class- jamming out, hitting your reps and feeling so alive, and literally the next week you feel like you are moving at the pace of a snail, so sluggish and just not at all motivated to do what the instructor is telling you to do? You may feel so confused and beat yourself up internally because of this. But guess what? It’s not just in your head! There is a proven science as to why your body fluctuates in its energy levels week to week.
For those that menstruate, there are actually four phases to their cycles. In these four phases, your hormones rise and fall, hence why your energy, mood and motivation will too. Cycle Synching is a term coined by Alisa Vitti, which is the synching of your movement, lifestyle and nutritional needs to your cyclical body. The four cycle phases are: Menstrual, Follicular, Ovualtory, and Luteal. If you are to compare them to the seasons the Menstrual phase is your Winter, the Follicular phase is your Spring, the Ovulatory phase is Summer, and the Luteal phase is Fall. Just like how the seasons change in weather, our bodies also change. Our bodies are more inclined to certain movement that not only aligns with what feels good, but also improves results in your exercising and training.
Here are some movement recommendations to do within each phase of your cycle:
Menstrual- This is starting day 1 of your period- hormone levels fall, so the lining of the uterus sheds. You might want to turn inwards and focus on slowing down. Rest is still so productive! However, if it feels right to move throughout this phase, then of course do what you are pulled to do. Just remember to take it more slowly.
Movement to practice can be- Gentle Yoga, Meditative Movement, Walks at a medium pace, and Rest.
Follicular- This stage starts around cycle day 6 to 7 of your cycle to your ovulation period. All hormones slowly start to ramp up and FSH increases to help follicles mature. You will find yourself feeling more creative and wanting to push yourself in your workouts. Be mindful to not over-exert yourself as the rising hormone, Estrogen, can make you more susceptible to injury. This is because your tendons and ligaments are a little looser due to the hormonal change.
Movement to practice can be- Spin Classes, Barre classes, Sculpt Classes, Strength Training, or try something new like Hiking or Roller Skating.
Ovulatory- This phase can range from cycle day 13-15 in a 28 day cycle, but can vary person to person. You are most fertile at this time, as estrogen and your other hormones peak as well. You might feel higher confidence in yourself during these couple of days. Now is the time to do your more intense workouts, as well as increase in the weight you are lifting.
Movement to practice can be- Dance Cardio, HIIT Workouts, Strength Training with medium to heavy weights.
Luteal- This phase lasts about 14 days before your next period. All hormones start to decline and progesterone will peak and then drop. This is typically when PMS symptoms start to come about. You might have more energy for the first week of your Luteal, and then feel more pulled to slow things down.
Movement to practice can be- Power Yoga, Pilates, Biking, Long Walks outside in sunshine.
Try aligning your next couple of workouts to where you are in your cycle and see how it makes you feel. It might be surprising just how aligned you may feel. You can start to really connect deeply internally instead of pushing through certain things that feel uncomfortable and could be harmful.