cycle syncing foods, workouts + benefits for optimal hormone health

What is cycle syncing?

Cycle syncing is the practice of aligning your lifestyle to your menstrual cycle. It is based on the idea that our hormones fluctuate throughout the month and that we can use this information to optimize our energy levels, productivity, and overall well being. By syncing our lifestyle to our cycle, we can maximize our potential and live our best lives. Becoming aligned with your cycle is the practice of becoming aligned with yourself.

cycle syncing: the 4 phases, benefits, nutrition, and exercise

* I want to mention, If you’re on hormonal contraception like the birth control pill, you’re not going to experience the same phases as you would on a natural cycle. Hormonal contraceptives release synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone that alter your natural hormone levels — this stops your body from ovulating. You can still monitor how you feel throughout the month and make adjustments, but your symptoms won’t always mirror those felt during a natural cycle.

The Benefits of Cycle Syncing

There are many benefits to cycle syncing. It can help us to better understand our bodies and how our hormones affect our energy levels, moods, and productivity. It can also help us to optimize our lifestyle to make the most of our energy and productivity. Additionally, cycle syncing can help us to better manage our stress levels and improve our overall wellbeing.

Cycle syncing can be beneficial to women in many ways. Here are some of the top benefits:

1. Improved Energy Levels: By understanding and responding to the natural rhythms of your menstrual cycle, you can better manage your energy levels throughout the month. This can help you to be more productive and energetic when you need to be, and to rest and relax when your body needs it.

2. Improved Mental Health: By understanding and responding to the natural rhythms of your menstrual cycle, you can better manage your mental health. This can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and can also help to improve your mood.

3. Improved Physical Health: By understanding and responding to the natural rhythms of your menstrual cycle, you can better manage your physical health. This can help to reduce menstrual cramps and other symptoms associated with PMS, as well as improve your overall physical health.

4. Improved Relationships: By understanding and responding to the natural rhythms of your menstrual cycle, you can better manage your relationships. This can help to improve communication and understanding between you and your partner, as well as other people in your life.

How to Get Started with Cycle Syncing

Getting started with cycle syncing is easy! The first step is to track your cycle. You can do this by keeping a journal or using an app to track your cycle. Once you have tracked your cycle for a few months, you can start to sync your lifestyle to your cycle. Here are some tips for getting started:

1. Know Your Cycle: The first step is to get to know your cycle and the different phases of your menstrual cycle by tracking your cycle This will help you understand how your hormones affect your energy levels, moods, and productivity. The first step is to track your menstrual cycle. This can be done by tracking your period, noting any changes in your energy levels, and noting any other physical or emotional changes that occur. There are tons of period tracking apps available, I highly recommend Flo period tracker or Clue. They have journals where you can put symptoms and feelings right in the app making it super easy.

2. Plan Ahead: Plan ahead for each phase of your cycle. This will help you to maximize your energy and productivity.

3. Take Breaks: Make sure to take breaks throughout your cycle. This will help you to stay energized and productive.

4. Listen to Your Body: Listen to your body and take time to rest and recharge when needed.

5. Practice Self-Care: Make sure to practice self-care during each phase of your cycle. This will help you to stay balanced and energized.


The 4 Cycle Phases

Menstruation Phase (Your Period)

You are generally not fertile during this time. This is Day 1 of your cycle – when you experience bleeding that requires a pad, tampon, or cup (not spotting!).

You may notice you start to turn inward during this week. By taking the mental and physical breaks you need, you’re less likely to feel exhausted and irritable. It’s the perfect time to examine your life and let go of the things that might not be serving you anymore.

Stews, soups, cooked vegetables, and iron-rich foods like grass-fed meat can be super warming and nourishing during this week. Eating iron and B-vitamin-rich foods can replace nutrients lost from menstruating and support healthy energy. Limit salt, sugar, and alcohol as these can make cramps and bloating worse during your period. Take an Omega-3 supplement to reduce PMS symptoms like depression, bloating, and tender breasts. Raspberry Leaf tea can also do wonders for menstrual cramps. 

Because your hormones drop to trigger menstruation, your energy is at its lowest at the start of your period. Honor your body with some of your favorite self-care rituals like a nap or meditation. If you’re up to exercising, stay away from the HIIT and cardio. Try yoga or Pilates instead.

Follicular Phase (Pre-Ovulation)

The follicular phase is the most variable phase in the cycle and determines your cycle length. The follicular phase goes from the beginning of the cycle until you ovulate. The hormone estrogen dominates this phase laying down your endometrium (lining). During this phase follicles (with eggs inside) begin to develop and mature and your body prepares for ovulation. One follicle becomes dominant ready for ovulation. The length of this phase can vary from woman to woman and from cycle to cycle. You are most fertile at the end of this phase during the days just before and including ovulation.

During the follicular phase, your energy levels increase and you’ll feel ready to tackle life again after cleansing out toxins and excess hormones during menstruation. This is the time of your cycle you’re most likely to get out of your comfort zone, you’ll feel confident and self-assured. Use this to your advantage by trying a new workout or learning a new skill. This is also a prime time for work events and strategizing goals because your mind is in action mode.

Liver cleansing foods like lemon, flaxseed, carrots, dandelion greens and green juices can help keep estrogen levels in a good range. Eat light and fresh (think: smoothies, salads, and lean meat!)

If there’s a HIIT class you’ve been eyeing, book it! Now is the time that you’ll be more likely to crush intense workouts, like HIIT and heavy weights. This is because testosterone and estrogen levels are rising.
// Try My Follicular Phase Meal Plan

Ovulation Phase

Ovulation is then triggered by a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH), the ovarian follicle ruptures and releases the ovum (egg) which can then be fertilized. In a 28-day cycle ovulation occurs around day 14 but varies greatly depending on cycle length and regularity.

This time of the month you may notice you’re feeling all the high vibes so your social calendar may reflect that. You may turn into a social butterfly, so plan a girls night out or a special date night with your boo (thanks to mama nature you’ll be feeling extra frisky!). This is also the time to tackle your to-do’s and speak with others. Is there a conversation you’ve been meaning to have? Now’s the week for it. 

Stay fresh by loading up on quinoa and cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. They’re rich in antioxidants that help you flush out excess estrogen. A magnesium supplement can also help keep estrogen and progesterone in balance.

You’ll have increased stamina this week to crush those difficult workouts. You’ll also have a desire to connect with the community, so choosing something like a group spin class could really satisfy this.

Luteal Phase (Post-Ovulation)

The luteal phase length (the second half of your cycle after ovulation) is constant, rarely changing by more than a day or two from cycle to cycle for the same woman. The luteal phase usually lasts from 12 to 14 days but may last from 10 to 16 days. The best time to conceive is just before and during ovulation. Progesterone is the hormone that dominates this phase. If you become pregnant progesterone keeps rising and it helps to maintain your uterine lining throughout pregnancy (hence no period!)

During your luteal phase, you may feel sleepier and slower. That is thanks to the hormone progesterone which increases during this phase. You are also less able to handle stress, so try to avoid putting too many things on your calendar. You’ll feel a desire to just rest and retreat. Don’t feel guilty about closing your calendar and saying no to social outings to spend time alone.

Try incorporating berries in your meals, as they are loaded in bioflavonoids and vitamin C which help eliminate excess estrogen, boost progesterone production, and curb cravings. To prepare for your period and keep inflammation low, use warming spices like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. If you need some inspiration, check out What to eat during your luteal phase: 7 simple recipes.

Honor what your body needs by tailoring your exercise to how you feel each day. I highly recommend trying a hot yoga class that will help your body release toxins, decrease water retention, and prepare you for a happier period.
// Try Luteal Phase Meal Plan


Cycle syncing has been super beneficial for me in my life, and I hope that it serves you. I found cycle syncing at a time in my life when I really needed it. I was able to improve my energy levels, mental health, physical health, and my relationships by understanding and responding to the natural rhythms of my menstrual cycle. I believe every woman deserves to feel empowered by the idea they can create a healthier, more balanced lifestyle by honoring their body, their cycle, and the fact that they are woman. We are truly amazing.