The ebb and flow of your hormones throughout the month can often feel like you’re riding a rollercoaster of physical, mental, and emotional ups and downs. That’s because our hormones play such a huge role in how we feel from our appetite to our sex drive to our energy levels and mood.¹
Cycle Syncing is a smart way of following your body’s natural rhythms so you can feel your best no matter what part of your cycle you’re in. Different hormonal fluctuations throughout your cycle can (and should!) inform the way you eat, move, and live. When you are more in tune with your body’s ups and downs, you can adjust your lifestyle to suit every phase of your menstrual cycle leading to better energy, better mood, and a better life overall.
Just about anyone can benefit from cycle syncing, but it can be particularly powerful for those living with PCOS, trying to conceive, struggling with fatigue, or battling with their weight.
In our first installment, we showed you how to optimize your routine for the menstrual phase of your cycle. Now it’s time to talk about how to adjust your lifestyle for the follicular phase of your cycle.
Cycle Syncing: Follicular Phase
Once menstruation is over, you begin to move into your follicular phase where both estrogen and progesterone are on the rise, as well as your energy levels. This is the perfect time to start ramping up in all areas of your life. Fill up your social calendar. Get to work on the projects that require extra brain power. It’s also a great time to amp up your exercise routine, especially since your follicular phase corresponds to a drop in metabolism during this time.²
What to Eat
Since your follicular phase is when your metabolism is running at its slowest, it’s important to fuel strategically during this time of your cycle. You’ll want to focus on keeping estrogen levels in check during this time, which means lots of lean protein and low-glycemic vegetables. Think wild-caught fish, pasture-raised eggs, and pasture-raised, grass-fed meats for protein. When choosing your greens, opt for cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and brussel sprouts which offer the most estrogen-balancing benefits.
Fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut also help your body metabolize estrogen. Certain seeds, such as pumpkin and flaxseed can also keep your estrogen levels balanced throughout this phase of your cycle.
How to Exercise
When you start to move into your follicular phase, your energy levels are on the rise along with your hormones, so it’s the perfect time to dial up your workouts. After the rest phase of your menstrual cycle, your body is primed and ready to hit the gym hard. Now is the time for High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which can help offset your slightly lower metabolism during your follicular phase.
This can also be a great opportunity to try something new! If you’ve been wanting to try a spin class or hit up your local crossfit gym, now is the time. Take advantage of your adventurous side while you’re feeling yourself, you might just find a new workout you love!
Higher energy means it’s time to get out there and enjoy life to the fullest during your follicular phase. When you’re planning your month, look to this week as your time to pack in more work and play. Since your brain is sharp and clear, it makes sense to tackle bigger work projects and strategic meetings. But don’t devote all your time to work! You’re most likely to feel like a social butterfly during this time as well, so schedule some time out with friends and family. Maybe you can take a new workout class with a buddy or dance the night away if that’s your jam. Get out there and enjoy the high that this phase of your menstrual cycle provides!
¹ PMID: 18592262
² PMID: 2706224