Cycle Sync Your Workouts: How to Exercise According to Your Cycle

Cycle Sync Your Workouts: How to Exercise According to Your Cycle

Let's face it - sometimes, getting that motivation to exercise can be a real struggle. But what if the secret to a more enjoyable and effective workout routine lies in syncing your exercise with your menstrual cycle?

Our bodies are complex ecosystems, and hormonal fluctuations throughout the month significantly impact our energy levels, strength, and recovery. By understanding these changes, we can tailor our workouts to maximize results, minimise frustration and ultimately make them more fun!

Benefits of Cycle Syncing Your Workouts

+ Avoid burnout

+ Increase endurance

+ Improve recovery time

+ Build lean muscle more efficiently

+ Tune into YOU and what makes you feel good 


The Four Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

First, let's understand what's going on in the body at each phase:

Menstruation (Days 1-5): 

This is your period, lasting on average 3-5 days. The lining of your uterus (endometrium) that wasn't used in the previous cycle sheds as blood.

Follicular Phase (Days 5-14): 

While you're on your period, this phase has already begun! Oestrogen rises, stimulating the growth of follicles (tiny sacs) in your ovaries, each containing an egg. One lucky follicle will mature into a dominant follicle with a mature egg.

Ovulation (Day 14-ish): 

Around day 14 in a 28-day cycle, the dominant follicle releases its mature egg from the ovary. This is your fertile window, the time you can get pregnant.

Luteal Phase (Days 15-28): 

After ovulation, the empty follicle transforms into a corpus luteum, which produces progesterone. Progesterone further prepares the uterine lining for a possible pregnancy. If fertilization doesn't occur, progesterone levels drop, leading to the shedding of the lining during the next menstruation and the cycle starts again.

    This is a general guide, as everyone experiences slightly different cycles.


    What Are the Best Workouts for Each Menstrual Cycle Phase?

    Menstrual Phase Workouts

    Wassen Cycle Syncing Best Workouts for Menstrual Phase

    During your period, listen to your body. If you're feeling sluggish, rest is perfectly acceptable. Gentle movement like walking or restorative yoga can help ease cramps and bloating. However, some women find exercise energizing during their period. The key is to tune in and do what feels best for you!

    • Walking 
    • Restorative yoga
    • Low impact strength training 

    Follicular Phase Workouts

    Wassen Cycle Syncing Best Workouts for Follicular Phase

    This is your high energy phase - oestrogen levels are rising, making it an excellent time for high-intensity workouts. Your body is primed to access stored energy and build muscle, so this is the perfect window to push yourself with activities like HIIT classes, weight training, or intense cardio sessions.

    • Running
    • HIIT
    • Strength training
    • Cycling / spinning 
    • Dance

    Ovulatory Phase Workouts

    Wassen Cycle Syncing Best Workouts for Ovulatory Phase

    Around ovulation, oestrogen levels peak, leading to a natural boost in energy. This is a great time to maintain your high-intensity routine or try a new activity that requires coordination and focus.

    • Running
    • HIIT
    • Strength training
    • Cycling / spinning 
    • Dance
    • Rock climbing
    • Boxing

    Luteal Phase Workouts

    Wassen Cycle Syncing Best Workouts for Luteal Phase

    Progesterone takes center stage in this phase, leading to a rise in body temperature and a dip in energy levels. Lower-intensity workouts like swimming, yoga, Pilates, or brisk walking are ideal. This is also a good time to prioritise recovery with activities like stretching and foam rolling.

    • Swimming
    • Yoga
    • Pilates
    • Walking
    • Foam rolling & stretching


    Happy women exercising in a class, cycle syncing her workout

    How to Start Cycling Syncing Your Workouts

    1. Start tracking your cycle

    This is the key! There are a number of apps, such as Flo, that you can use to help track your cycle.

    2. Plan your workouts according to each phase

    Once you've got your cycle mapped out, you can roughly plan your workouts according to each phase. Find some classes that you like the look of - for example a spinning or HIIT class during your follicular phase, or a yoga/pilates class during your luteal phase. Get your friends involved by inviting them to go for a walk during your luteal phase, or a run during your follicular phase.

    3. Listen to your body & adjust your workouts based on how you feel

    Listening to your body is the most important thing! The more you understand your cycle and which workouts make you feel good you can fine tune accordingly.


    Beyond the Phases: General Tips

    Fuel Your Fitness:

    As we now know, your body has different needs depending on which phase of the cycle you are in. This means that the nutrients that you require at each phase are different too.  You will also need to make sure that you adjust your calorie intake according to the intensity of your exercise!

    How to eat according to your cycle

    Ready to cycle sync your diet too? Read our blog post to find out how.

    Warm Up Wisely:

    Throughout your cycle, always make sure to warm up before workouts to prevent injuries.

    Listen to Your Body:

    This is the golden rule! Don't be afraid to modify workouts or take rest days when needed. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to burnout and hinder progress.

      Go With the Flow

      By syncing your exercise routine with your menstrual cycle, you can create a more enjoyable and effective workout experience. You'll find yourself harnessing your body's natural energy fluctuations to maximize results while minimizing frustration. Understanding your cycle is a powerful tool – use it to your advantage!

      Vicky, Head of Marketing and Pilates Guru
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