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If you’re like most ladies, you might notice that you have a tendency to turn more inward and can even feel like crawling under the covers and watching a movie towards the end of your luteal phase (right before your menstrual period). Fast forward a week or so and I bet you feel like those 25 pound weights you just lifted were nothing. Why is that? And, with work, kids, travel, meals, events, and other obligations going on, who even has the time to truly notice and think about this? Here’s where this handy dandy “cheat sheet” may come in. I created this because syncing your levels and types of exercise with your menstrual cycle may actually help you feel a ton better, help your energy, hormone, cortisol, and stress levels, and help you get the most out of a workout. Instead of feeling “gassed” and depleted, it’s so much more pleasant to actually work out and feel like you accomplished something.

Did you know you’re physiologically the strongest on the first day of your menstrual cycle? This is actually a great time to take on heavy cardio or weights if you’re not experiencing heavy bleeding or aren’t more tired than usual. During your following follicular and ovulatory phases, you’ll be able to continue the heavy cardio and weights, but after ovulation, once you get into your luteal phase, you’ll want to start dialing things back if you don’t feel optimal and stick to low and medium impact workouts. Yoga, walking, hiking, jogging / light runs, and biking all work well in these phases.

I highly recommend cross training because of this reason: You don’t have control of the weather and can’t perfectly control your menstrual cycle either, so having options available for light, medium, and intense workouts will ensure that you’re still working out on most days (with at least 1-2 days of full rest recommended each week). Intense exercise when your body really needs more rest (during your late luteal and menstrual phases) can have a negative effect on your cortisol levels, causing you to feel more stressed. Along with more stress, you may find yourself stress / emotional eating, which in turn, can lead to poor diet choices, acne, bloating, and aggravated PMS symptoms. Of course, if you are training for a race or are preparing for a competition, you may not have much choice – just do the best you can and get some extra rest in that case! Here are the types of exercise which work well for each phase of your menstrual cycle:

 

Cycle synching goes beyond just exercise and many women have reported benefits from incorporating seed cycling into their diets. Although seed cycling isn’t necessarily rooted in science, exercising according to your cycle can have more apparent benefits. I also highly recommend reading through “Five Strategies for Battling Adrenal Fatigue, Chronic Stress, and Weight Gain.” Have you ever tried working out according to your cycle? How did it go?

 

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