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How To Sync Your Workouts With Your Cycle



How To Sync Your Workouts With Your Cycle

When it comes to finding the right time to exercise, we might consider everything from whether we’re a morning person or we prefer to exercise after work, to when we’ve last eaten vs exercising on an empty stomach. 

But another thing to consider, that you might not have done, is planning exercise around your menstrual cycle. For some of us, if our periods are particularly painful or heavy, it can be difficult to exercise to the same level as when we’re elsewhere in our cycle. 

We might feel too uncomfortable or in pain, and we might simply want to relax with a hot water bottle. We might also feel too tired sometimes, and that could be to do with our cycle. For example, after a heavy period, we might be lacking in iron, which can make us feel lethargic and too exhausted to exercise. 

So working out around our cycle can be helpful for getting the most from our exercise at certain times of the month. 

The concept of cycle syncing

A menstrual cycle consists of four distinct stages:

  1. Menstruation – the shedding of the lining of the womb if pregnancy hasn’t taken place
  2. Follicular phase - before an egg is released
  3. Ovulation – the release of an egg, usually the mid-point of a menstrual cycle 
  4. Luteal phase – after egg release

As you’re probably well aware, both your body and your mood can change depending on where you are in your cycle. For example, during menstruation you may feel tired and less energetic, with cramps and bloating and during the luteal phase, you may feel like you’re retaining water, leading to a bloated abdomen, and you may feel tearful or moody. 

This is why it can be helpful to consider these parts of your cycle and to exercise accordingly. Also keep in mind that we all have different cycles. We may have a 28 day cycle that we can set our clocks by, or we may have a shorter, longer or more varied cycle. 

How to cycle sync

Here’s the types of exercise that may guide you to creating your own cycle of exercise that syncs with your menstrual cycle…

During menstruation, you may feel like doing nothing strenuous, and that’s perfectly fine. If you do feel like doing something, walking is great for increasing movement and for clearing the head. It can also be beneficial for managing cramps, by keeping your body supple and gently active. 

After our period, we’re in the follicular phase and it’s now that we’ll feel more energetic and it’s a good time to fit in more strenuous exercise such as your regular beginner, intermediate or advanced OYG programme. 

When we’re ovulating, we’re at our most energetic, since our body is technically preparing for pregnancy by releasing an egg, even if we’re not trying to become pregnant. Now is a good time to plan for extra workouts, such as one of our fast paced Dance Party sessions or a high impact F.I.T Combat session. 

Finally, during the luteal phase before our period starts the cycle all over again, we may notice both our energy levels and our mood slump – neither of which are helpful for finding the energy for a high impact exercise class. So it could be beneficial for you to exercise more gently, such as with a Yoga or Pilates workout. 

The most important thing is to listen to your body. We might be told that we always need to push ourselves that bit harder, but if your body is telling you no, then there’s no harm in taking a day off exercise. After all, self-care is the best care of all!

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