THE 411 ON CYCLE SYNCING (FROM A CYCLE SYNCING ENTHUSIAST)
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THE 411 ON CYCLE SYNCING (FROM A CYCLE SYNCING ENTHUSIAST)

by Aisle Team
THE 411 ON CYCLE SYNCING (FROM A CYCLE SYNCING ENTHUSIAST)

If you're reading this blog chances are you are familiar with period-related content. Whether that means you spend time on period-Tok or a period Instagram, either way, you have some passion or interest in menstrual wellness. So if that's the case you’ve most likely heard of cycle syncing. 

I started cycle syncing after years of struggling with endometriosis and PMDD. Week after week, month and after month I found myself struggling with severe symptoms such as pain, anxiety, fatigue, mood swings, brain fog and more. All while constantly feeling frustrated and angry at my body. I felt like I was at war with my own vessel and spent a lot of time hating and resenting my body for not functioning better. 

Cycle syncing provided me with the opportunity to work with my body. It taught me how to listen and understand its cues and signals so I could work with it instead of against it. Cycle syncing helped me turn my body into a home that I feel connected to and in tune with my body in ways that hormone-balancing treatments and therapies did not. 

So whether you’re new to this, or you're like me and cycle syncing has literally saved your life, - or really wherever you are on your cycle thinking / menstrual wellness journey - here is the truth about cycle syncing that you need to know.

Disclaimer: This article is written by a period wellness and cycle-syncing enthusiast based on her own personal experiences. She is not a doctor or a period coach/specialist. The information in this article is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. 

The Background

Cycle-syncing was originally popularized by Alisa Vitti and her famous and remarkable book In The Flo. It was released in 2020 and has since revolutionized the way that women and people with periods understand, view and treat their bodies as it relates to their menstrual cycle. 

Through her research, Alisa was able to bring forth the knowledge that your menstrual cycle has a drastic impact on your overall health and well-being and the way you should approach daily activities. Activities such as work, sleep, exercise, sex, relationships, children, etc 

She argues that it is not only ok but completely natural for your energy levels to shift based on the hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout a menstrual cycle. She explains that the menstrual cycle reflects an infradian rhythm and that that rhythm only makes sense to serve as an indication of how one should go about their days. 

The infradian rhythm is a biological rhythm that occurs for longer than 24 hours and accommodates the menstrual cycle. Biologically, it is natural for people with periods to have vastly different hormone, behavioral, and energetic, levels based on different days, weeks, months, and seasons because of this rhythm. 

Throughout her work, she successfully makes menstruation and infradian rhythms into something beautiful and empowering for people with periods and something that can be used to optimize health and wellness. She also offers a strategic analytical blueprint for how you can do this. 

Phases and Changes

Essentially cycle syncing is changing different areas of your day-to-day lifestyle as you change through the four phases of your menstrual cycle. Here’s a quick reminder of the four phases:

Phase 1 — Menstrual Phase

Your first day of bleeding is day one of your menstrual cycle. Progesterone decreases, and the uterine lining sheds (which is your period).

Phase 2 — The Follicular Phase

This phase starts right after menstruation. The pituitary gland releases FSH (follicle Stimulating Hormone) which stimulates the follicles in your ovaries. 

Phase 3 — The Ovulatory Phase

This is the best phase of all. An egg is released from its follicle in your ovary and will survive for 12-24 hours.

Phase 4 — The Luteal Phase

Follows ovulation and occurs when estrogen and testosterone decline and your body starts producing progesterone. 

Then you start again with your menstrual phase! 

In order to cycle sync, you can make adjustments to your lifestyle to flow more with your body’s natural cycles, rhythms and flow. Such as food, exercise, sleep, work and productivity, relationships, sex etc. Here are some examples: 

Food 

No matter where you are in your cycle, it’s important to focus on consuming overall whole and nutrient-dense foods for your health and well-being. It’s also important to manage cravings that come during your cycle (for example when PMS’ing) and recognize that it’s due to hormonal fluctuations. Instead of giving in to unhealthy cravings, opt for healthier alternatives. 

Cycle syncing when it comes to food means fine-tuning your nutrient ratios to support hormonal balance. 

During your menstruation, opt for foods rich in iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, potassium, and overall anti-inflammatory properties. Some examples are spinach, dark chocolate, salmon, lentils, bananas, ginger, turmeric, pumpkin seeds, oranges and herbal tea that support extra relaxation. 

During your follicular phase, consider incorporating more foods with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein. For example, berries, leafy greens, whole grains, beans and lentils, and avocados.

During your ovulatory phase, emphasize healthy fats and increase protein intake. Try foods like salmon, eggs, broccoli, yams and sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds, avocados, and turmeric herbal teas to boost body functioning. 

During your luteal phase, focus on balancing blood sugar levels by including fiber-rich foods, healthy fats, and moderate protein. Try foods like cruciferous vegetables, healthy fats, berries, legumes, omega-3 fatty acids, dark chocolate, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, complex carbohydrates and magnesium-rich foods.

My friend, nutritionist, and cycle-syncing coach Arin Moonli is an amazing resource for all things menstruation as it relates to food. 

Exercise 

Exercising in sync with your menstrual cycle can have several potential benefits for your overall health. By adapting your workout routine to the different phases of your cycle, you can optimize your energy levels, enhance performance, and support hormonal balance. 

During your menstrual phase, prioritize rest and recovery to honor your body's natural rhythms. 

During your follicular phase,  focus on activities that enhance stamina and build strength. Engage in cardio exercises like running, cycling, or dance workouts to boost endurance.

During your ovulation phase, engage in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or more challenging workouts that push your limits.

In the luteal phase, as progesterone rises and energy levels fluctuate, opt for workouts that emphasize stability, flexibility, and stress reduction. 


Other Lifestyle Changes

In addition to food and exercise, here are some other aspects you can consider changing to support cycle syncing:

  1. Sleep and rest: Pay attention to your sleep patterns and prioritize getting sufficient rest. Aim for consistent and quality sleep throughout your cycle, as it plays a crucial role in hormone regulation and overall well-being. Adjust your sleep routine as needed during the different phases to accommodate energy fluctuations.
  1. Stress management: Implement stress management techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or journaling, to support hormonal balance. Find activities that help you relax and reduce stress levels, as excessive stress can impact your menstrual cycle and overall health.
  1. Time management: Be mindful of your energy levels and plan your activities accordingly. Adjust your schedule during the different phases of your cycle to accommodate higher energy levels during the follicular and ovulatory phases and prioritize rest and self-care during the luteal and menstrual phases
  1. Menstrual products: During your menstrual phase it’s important to use products that make you feel comfortable and also work for your flow. Some people will consider free bleeding to help soften symptoms like cramps and bloating. Opting for a pair of period underwear is a comfortable and absorbent option or you may prefer to use a cloth menstrual pad or menstrual cup as an alternative to plastic pads and tampons.  

Body Agency 

I think that a lot of people choose not to cycle syncing or feel overwhelmed by the possibility of trying to cycle sync because it can seem complicated. While following a strict cycle syncing regimen as we outlined above can have so many amazing benefits it's definitely not for everybody.   

I think that the root and the most beautiful takeaway from cycle syncing are just being inflow with your body and working with it instead of against it.  It's learning to rest when you're tired and giving yourself permission to do yoga instead of pushing through hard workouts. 

It's understanding that some weeks you can thrive off of 7 hours of sleep and other weeks you may need 10. And that all of this just makes you well, strong, and healthy and is a beautiful path to deeply connect with and align with your body. 

Remember, cycle syncing is a personal journey, and it's important to find an approach that works best for you. If you have specific health concerns or conditions, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who can provide personalized guidance.

Domunique Lashay (she/her) is a menstrual health advocate, content creator and writer. Follow her on TikTok: @domuniquelashay 

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