Updated: May 9, 2020
Growing in popularity, cycle syncing has become a huge women's health trend. And it's here to stay. More young women are seeking a natural and holistic way to support their mind and body. Whether you're looking to ditch PMS, regulate your cycle, boost your energy and fertility, or just feel great, cycle syncing can help.
Women today are fired up to learn more about how our body works and how we can use our natural energy patterns to succeed at work, in our relationships, and with our health goals. Far too many research studies have been done centered around men, where the findings are passed down to women. As you'll learn in this post, we are not the same and women need to support their bodies differently, which is where cycle syncing comes in.
Cycle syncing is a functional medicine concept where a woman partners her food, fitness, work, and social calendar to her monthly cycle.
We have four phases our body flows through each month and we feel and may act differently from week to week.
Cycle syncing is a great aid for women who do not want to be on the birth control pill or IUD to "balance hormones". I put this in quotes because these devices don't balance your hormones, they mask ovulation or make your uterus an undesirable environment for a potential baby.
What's the difference between men and women?
The major difference to understand between men and women is that men's hormones function on a 24-hour cycle. This means at the end of each day his hormones reset. He's able to metabolize caffeine and alcohol at a faster rate. And if you were to ever do a weight loss challenge with him, he'll see results much faster than you.
A woman's hormones must go through her entire monthly cycle to reset. This means she has to go about 28 days (the average cycle length for women), and not just one day like a man. It feels a bit more complicated with women, as each of us have different cycle lengths. Some may have a 28 day cycle, while others might be at 33. A normal cycle for women is anywhere between 21-35 days.
When I first heard of cycle syncing I felt overwhelmed and thought it would be too hard. But the more I learned about my cycle phases and how I was designed to think, feel, and act, I noticed I already gravitated toward this way of living. Most of the time I was like many other women and would just "push through" the fatigue or think I wasn't suppose to be tired.
It made so much more sense to why some weeks I'd be able to crush a HIIT workout or spin class, while right before my period I'd feel overwhelmed doing the same workout. Or when I'd want warm and comforting foods during my period and salads and smoothies a week later. Your body already knows how to cycle sync, keep reading so your head can catch up!
Here's a snapshot of your four monthly cycle phases and how you feel week to week:
1. MENSTRUAL PHASE
Your cycle begins the day your period starts. This phase lasts between 3-7 days. Your brain feels the most reflective here as your left and right brain hemispheres become the most aligned they'll be all month long.
What this means is that your body is trying to set you on the path that'll make you the happiest. If you suppressed your true feelings all month long, you will notice they come at you full force when you get your period. You can thank your natural brain chemistry for this insight.
Your period becomes less about having your period and more about tuning into your true desires. What I noticed was the more space I'd give myself to journal, honor my emotions, and truly feel sad, mad, happy or whatever, the easier and more enjoyable this phase became.
We get our period, and most women know this, because we aren't pregnant that month. Your body was designed to reproduce so your period is the result of shedding the lining of your uterine wall, which gets build up each month to support a potential pregnancy.
2. FOLLICULAR PHASE
After your period ends, you enter your follicular phase, which lasts for 7-10 days.
You should feel your energy pick up and your brain strategize on all the ideas you came up with during your period. This is the best time of month to create an action plan!
What's happening in this phase is your body is releasing your follicular stimulating hormone to prepare your body to release an egg. Your body does this each and every month, which you know of as either preparing for pregnancy or having your period if the egg is not fertilized.
3. OVULATION PHASE
Your body ovulates for 3-5 days. Most women know of this phase as the one in which we can get pregnant. Mother Nature designed our bodies to be energetic and social so we’d be more likely to find a mate. An egg has been released and is waiting to be fertilized. If you're trying to have a baby, this is when you want to focus your efforts. If you don't get pregnant, then you'll have your period in about two weeks.
4. LUTEAL PHASE
After ovulation ends, your body enters the luteal phase, which lasts for 10-14 days. In the first half, your energy is still really high as estrogen levels start to decline. This means you can still move forward with your normal life.
The second half is your premenstrual week. Your body increasingly becomes less resilient to stress as your period nears, which can intensify PMS symptoms. Progesterone is rising in your luteal phase to thicken your uterine wall, for the possibility of creating a baby. If you become pregnant, then you won't get your period for those nine months you're creating a baby. If you're not pregnant, your period will come at the end of this phase. Progesterone will drop and signal the start of your period.
Ok, this was cool to learn, but want to take it a step deeper? Like how to make your four monthly phases actually work in your real life? Sign up for our free Hormones 101 Masterclass! From food, fitness, work and relationships you're set to start your cycle syncing journey.