Hello my friends!
Before we get into this topic, let’s take a minute to appreciate our amazing bodies and everything they have done for us. As women, we often forget just how strong we are to go through menstruation whilst continuing on with life as if our bodies are not feeling different. So, let’s wrap our arms around ourselves and give ourselves a warm hug, close our eyes, take a deep breath in and feel the pulse of your heart which indicates life; this is your home. That beating represents life.
Great! Now that we’re feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, it’s time to chat about our cycle. Men – this may not be the blog for you; but if you have a special woman in your life, it would be beneficial for you to learn more about her hormones and how they affect her, so keep reading!
Your body is dictated by hormones; every feeling you experience is due to the flow of hormones your body releases in response to an experience. I think that we often forget just how essential normal hormone function is to our health and happiness. In a planet littered with endocrine disruptors, it may be difficult for us to connect with the body in a meaningful way; thus, removing the connection we need to assess whether our hormones are functioning properly.
As a female, our bodies undergo a cycle which ranges between 23-35 days long (differs from woman to woman) and can be a cause of great stress; ranging from mood swings to health issues like Endometriosis, PCOS and so much more. On average, most women have a 28-day cycle so we’re going to be using that as our example today. This 28-day cycle is then broken into 4 distinct phases, namely: Menstrual (days 1-5), Follicular (days 6-14), Ovulatory (days 15-20) & Lutheal (days 21-28). Each of these phases have an important role in our health and affects our bodies in different ways.
In the past 2 months, I’ve challenged myself to become healthier by exercising daily and eating a better diet; but I really struggled when I was in the Lutheal and menstrual phase of my cycle. My body felt weak, I wanted to forget about my diet and I felt strangely disconnected to my body, despite aiming to build a better body and to live healthier. That was when I discovered the concept of cycle syncing and I began to work with my flow. The improvement in my overall health was INCREDIBLE. Suddenly, I had more energy, focus, and I just felt happier. Now you’re probably asking how I did it, so here is your cheat sheet…
This little cheat sheet is a great tool that you can refer to when making decisions on your workout for the day, but please remember this is a very summarized table and your individual cycle may be different; so be sure to read more about cycle syncing and try to adapt it to your needs.
If you’ve ever struggled with your cycle, experienced brain fog and/or felt emotionally drained around your bleeding days, cycle syncing may be the solution you’ve been looking for. This method allows you to keep track of your hormone fluctuation through your cycle and to support your endocrine system through diet, exercise and rest. Ultimately, adapting the modern world to the natural process of menstruation is a beautiful way to accept that our limitations at certain times of the cycle and to use our hormones to improve our overall health. Simply put, cycle synching is allowing your natural, hormonal cycle to guide your health practices.
The fluctuation of hormones causes us to feel lethargic at certain times and energetic at others; so why do we feel that we can maintain a certain level of focus and physical strength throughout the 28 days? Well, because the modern world has pulled you further away from your natural process.
In the 1980s, scientific studies (Law, 1986) suggested that our cycle linked with the phases of the moon – making menstruation a powerful phase which was ruled by earthly elements. However, a 2021 study (Helfrich-Förster, 2021) found that our cycles are no longer dictated by moon phases due to artificial light and the modern world. In the 21st century, the female body is no longer governed by the beautiful (although sometimes menacing) cycle, it is now governed by hormonal birth control, endocrine disruptors, stress, artificial stimulation, and the false narrative that we can function at 100% throughout the 28 days. We are slipping further and further away from the natural beauty of the cycle and the power of harnessing our cycle to reach new personal records in, and out, of the gym.
Please don’t mistake me as someone who doesn’t appreciate the benefits of the modern world. Frankly, I love nothing more than having access to the internet 24/7, the incredible advances of modern medicine and the ability to strum up my favourite music album at the stroke of my fingertip on my smartphone (thank you Spotify!); however, there are some things the modern world has gotten wrong. Undoubtedly, pulling women away from our natural cycle is one of them.
When we care for our bodies and encourage the natural synchronisation of our cycle with our daily life, we allow ourselves to live with our hormones, building an environment where our cycle doesn’t feel as daunting and dreadful; and encouraging ourselves to live healthier. We acknowledge and accept that our bodies may experience limitations, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s better than okay; cycle synching allows us to rest when we need it and to exceed our expectations when we can. It provides our bodies with the fuel to produce the hormones we need at various times of the cycle; but above all, it allows our menstrual phase to be a beautiful, mystical season once again – as nature intended.
As I end this blog, I want to leave you with one thought.
Do you feel at home in your body, as a woman? Do you feel that you can sink into your vulnerability and feel safe, supported and connected?
If you have any doubt in your mind about what I’ve just asked you – start to cycle synch and try to limit your exposure to endocrine disruptors (you’ll want to research this!). Make your body, YOUR home again. You are an amazing woman, and you deserve to accept your womanhood in a magnificent and uplifting way; despite the world telling you otherwise.
Maya Angelou said it perfectly when she said, “…phenomenal woman, that’s me.”
Light and love always,
*Note: Please remember that before you make any changes that may affect your health, you should consult a health professional (especially if you are suffering from any gynaecological issues).
Law,. S,P, (1986) The regulation of menstrual cycle and its relationship to the moon. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1986;65(1):45-8. doi: 10.3109/00016348609158228. PMID: 3716780.
Helfrich-Förster, C., Monecke, S., Spiousas, I., Hovestadt, T., Mitesser, O., Wehr, T., (2021). Women temporarily synchronize their menstrual cycles with the luminance and gravimetric cycles of the Moon. American Association for the Advancement of Science. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abe1358