A fresh breakup, not enough sleep, overexercising, and the stress of a new puppy - it doesn’t take much to realize this is the recipe for total hormone imbalance. The whirlwind of stress was showing up in just about every aspect of my life.
My skin was sensitive, dry and oily at the same time with no relief from any products I tried. My body was completely exhausted; and despite doing HIIT six times a week, I was still struggling to find the ripped arms and the J-Lo booty my $200 gym membership promised me. To top it off, I was struggling with some of the worst sleep and brain fog I’ve ever dealt with. Apologies to my coworkers who received innumerable “umm…let me circle back with you on that” responses during this time.
After watching Veracity’s IG Live with Alisa Vitti, reading her two best-selling books Woman Code and In the Flo, and simply being in awe of her almost-offensively-flawless skin, I decided to drink the Kool-Aid that millions of other women are drinking: The Cycle Syncing Method®.
What is The Cycle Syncing Method®?
In short, The Cycle Syncing Method® aligns your diet, exercise, supplements, and lifestyle habits to meet the needs of the phases of your monthly cycle so that you can support your hormones as they change throughout the month. In essence – working with your natural fluctuations instead of fighting against them.
The benefits of cycle syncing include increased energy, fewer symptoms of PMS, less mood swings, better workout results, and optimizing your productivity throughout your cycle without feeling burnt out.
How Do You Do It?
Like any good wellness guinea pig would do, I started with testing my hormones. The verdict? To no surprise, my hormones were out of whack…like, all of them. I gave myself a three month time frame to commit to The Cycle Syncing Method® and then would retest and see if it made a difference in my hormone levels.
Follicular Phase (the 7 to 10 days after your period ends)
Food: Opt for healthy fats like salmon and flax, cruciferous vegetables, and high fiber carbohydrates, like sweet potato.
Exercise: Your metabolism is slower and your cortisol levels are naturally lower in this phase. Now’s the time to ramp up your cardio by running or taking a HIIT class.
Lifestyle: Estrogen production begins to rise during this phase, making you more interested in planning new things and exploring new ideas.
Ovulatory Phase (the 3 to 4 days in the middle of your cycle)
Food: Prioritize fiber rich, detoxifying foods to help flush out excess hormones from your body. Stock up on cruciferous vegetables, fermented foods, fruit, and leafy greens!
Exercise: Testosterone and estrogen are high during this phase giving you plenty of energy to conquer the toughest workouts. Opt for heavy weight or high intensity training.
Lifestyle: A big work presentation, tough conversation, or girls night out? Mark it on your calendar during your ovulatory phase! The surge of hormones during this short window in the month activates the social areas of your brain optimizing your social and communicative skills.
Luteal Phase (The 10 to 14 days after ovulation and before your bleed)
Food: It’s important to eat more calories and maintain stable blood sugar in this phase. Continue eating your cruciferous vegetables and add on healthy complex carbohydrates to encourage the production of progesterone.
Exercise: With your metabolism speeding up and cortisol naturally at a higher level, turn down the intensity of your workouts and focus on slow and heavy strength training or pilates.
Lifestyle: With progesterone levels rising during this phase you will have less energy and feel more inclined to turn inward. It’s okay to turn down social events and stay in. This phase primes your brain for wrapping up projects, focusing on small details, and prioritizing your self care.
Menstrual Phase (during your bleed)
Food: Your hormones are at their lowest, so it’s important to eat enough calories and focus on healthy fats, which aid in the production of hormones.
Exercise: Keep your workouts low key. Outdoor walks or restorative yoga is great during this phase.
Lifestyle: The left and right side of your brain communicate the most during this time. Dedicate time during this phase to reflect and journal.
Would I Do It Again?
It’s been over nine months since I started The Cycle Syncing Method® and I can confidently say, I am hooked. After one month I noticed my skin was less sensitive, less congested, and brighter overall. I was sleeping better and my brain fog was almost entirely gone by the end of the 3 months. Though I don’t typically struggle with PMS, I did notice I was having less cravings the week before my period. A J-Lo booty? Not quite, but my workouts were finally delivering results and I wasn’t completely drained afterwards. But the true verdict was that my hormone levels after 3 months were all in the normal range.
The Cycle Syncing Method® isn’t a challenge, like a boot camp or 3 day water fast where you white-knuckle your way through it to reap benefits. I was actually surprised at how easily and naturally I leaned into each phase simply because I am giving my body what it craves and not adding to the stress our lives already inflict.