Cycle Synching: How to Exercise Through Your Cycle

Menstruation is a difficult yet necessary biological process for women. Each and every month a woman’s body is primed for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur during this specific timeframe, the uterus or womb sheds its lining by discharging blood and other tissue from the body. Although it may be more difficult to get your workout in, women can choose specific exercises and routines catered to their specific needs each time of the month.

Although you may experience various symptoms throughout your menstrual cycle such as cramps, fatigue, or emotional fluctuations – exercise doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, working out can help you feel better during these times of distress.

Cycle synching your exercise routines can be a useful tool for helping you feel better during the menstrual cycle. Let’s take a look at how you can properly cycle your exercises.

What is Cycle Synching?

The concept of cycle synching is relatively simple in theory. Instead of performing your typical workout routine, each day is specifically tailored to the current phase of your menstrual cycle. The four phases of the menstrual cycle include: menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase. Hormone levels can vary during each phase, so it can be beneficial to cater workouts towards your body’s specific needs.

Workouts can impact your hormonal balance, therefore you should be mindful of how your body is feeling to maximize your performance.

  • Menstruation (Days 1-5): Many people have claimed that exercising during menstruation can actually make periods less painful. Since progesterone and estrogen are low during this time period, you may experience less energy and motivation. As a result, high-intensity cardiovascular workouts or heavy lifting may not be optimal. Lower intensity workout choices such as cardio, yoga, Pilates, or casual bike rides can be easier on the body while still providing movement for your body.
  • Follicular phase (Days 6-14): The menstruation and follicular phases can overlap at times. During this time, hormonal stimulation and estrogen are high. Exercise intensity can be gradually increased during this phase. You can start performing HIIT cardio, heavier strength training, running, and other cardiovascular exercises.
  • Ovulation phase (Days 15-17): During ovulation, a mature egg is released from the surface of the ovary. Energy and endurance levels will be elevated during this phase so you’re still free to participate in higher intensity sports and workouts such as boxing, running, and heavy weight lifting.
  • Luteal phase (Days 18-28): During this period, the follicle is released from the egg. Energy levels may be heightened during the beginning of this phase, however, fatigue will kick in after a few days. It’s recommended to scale back extensive training and focus on recovery during this time period. Doing lower impact exercises can help the body regenerate instead of overexerting it.
  • What Types of Exercises Should You Do?

    Here are some examples of exercises you can focus on throughout each phase of menstruation.

  • Menstruation: low intensity options such as walking, yoga, Pilates, light weight lifting, and casual bike rides are recommended.
  • Follicular phase: higher intensity training such as HIIT workouts, boxing, heavier weight training, and sprinting are recommended.
  • Ovulation phase: higher intensity training is once again recommended with circuit training, HIIT workouts, and heavy weight lifting being potential options.
  • Luteal phase: lighter workouts consisting of yoga, Pilates, and walking are great choices during this timeframe.

  • Tracking your period is critical to maximizing your workout performance throughout the month. Using cycle synching can help you cater your workouts and individual goals towards specific time periods of the month. Becoming cognizant of your energy levels, mood, and exercise performance will go a long way towards helping you stay active and healthy.

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