What is cycle syncing and how can it improve your workout results & optmimize your fertility!
By Ali Handley - Bodylove Pilates
Do you remember when you used to spend entire summers with your best gal pals and eventually your cycles synced in a sign of female solidarity? In the huge landscape of fitness, a topic gaining increasing attention is the concept of 'cycle syncing”, and it has nothing to do with your mates. It’s about every woman understanding their unique hormonal fluctuations and modifying the way you chose to workout over the month depending on each phase of the menstrual cycle. It's an innovative way to harness the power of our body's natural rhythms. But besides optimizing workouts, can cycle syncing also have implications for fertility? Let’s delve into this intriguing possibility.
Examining the characteristics of our menstrual cycles:
Before understanding the correlation between cycle syncing and fertility, it’s paramount to have a grasp on the menstrual cycle itself. The menstrual cycle, spanning roughly 28 days (though it varies for every woman), is split into several distinct phases:
Menstrual Phase (Days 1-5):
This is when menstruation begins, and the body sheds the uterine lining.
Follicular Phase (Days 1-13):
Begins on the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation. The body prepares to release an egg by growing follicles.
Ovulation Phase (Day 14):
The most fertile day, where the egg is released from the ovary.
Luteal Phase (Days 15-28):
Starts post ovulation and lasts until menstruation begins. Progesterone increases, preparing the uterus for a potential pregnancy.
How do the different phases impact your workout choice?
The idea behind cycle syncing is aligning your workouts with the ebbs and flows of hormones throughout these phases. Each phase comes with its energy levels, moods, and physical strengths or weaknesses.. There are many factors at play that can throw out a women’s cycle, but as a Pilates instructor I’m going to talk about how you can make changes in your exercise routine to ensure you’re nourishing the hormonal profile of the different phases of your cycle so you can thrive in preparation for motherhood.
Gentle yoga, stretching, light pilates, walking, and restorative exercises are recommended due to lower energy levels and potential discomfort.
A surge in energy marks this phase. It's an excellent time for cardio workouts, strength training, and trying new exercises - Pilates, Barre, Boxing and Running is great during this phase.
As the body's estrogen peaks, you'll feel your strongest. Engage in high-intensity training, longer runs & sprint training, and strenuous activities.
Energy starts to dwindle. Transition to moderate exercises like pilates, light jogging, and stretching.
Cycle Syncing and your fertility
Now, let's navigate the interesting connection between cycle syncing and fertility.
By syncing your workouts with your menstrual phase, you can potentially promote a more balanced hormonal environment. This balance is critical for fertility, ensuring the menstrual cycle functions optimally. By considering the hormonal shifts over the course of your cycle and syncing this to the way you workout, you will be in flow with your body. The nourishment of your cycle is crucial to support a woman’s fertility & reproductive system.
High-stress levels can disrupt the menstrual cycle and interfere with ovulation, potentially affecting fertility. Tailoring workouts to the menstrual cycle can reduce physical stress, contributing to a more regular and healthy cycle.
Optimal Physical Condition:
Fertility isn't just about hormones; it’s also about the physical condition of the body. Engaging in exercises that are aligned with your body's current state can potentially lead to better overall health, setting a conducive environment for conception.
Awareness and Connection:
Cycle syncing fosters a deeper connection with one’s body, making women more attuned to changes. This awareness can be beneficial for those trying to conceive, as it can guide them in recognizing their most fertile windows.
Cycle syncing is one only one part of your overall well-being and fertility.
It's essential to note that while cycle syncing offers many benefits, it isn't a guaranteed formula for boosting fertility. Fertility can be influenced by numerous factors, including genetics, age, underlying health conditions, lifestyle, and more.
Moreover, not every woman's cycle fits neatly into the '28-day' mold. Women with irregular cycles might find it challenging to sync their workouts perfectly. However, the principle remains—listening to one’s body and adjusting workouts accordingly can only be beneficial.
For those specifically looking to improve fertility, it's recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or fertility specialist. They can provide insights tailored to individual circumstances and guide women towards the most appropriate actions.
Cycle syncing is more than just a trend; it's a paradigm shift in how we approach fitness and wellness.
Our very own Sam Kerr has been in the news over the last year when her Chelsea football team began training and game scheduling with consideration to the players’ cycles. By aligning workouts with the menstrual cycle, women can potentially harness a host of benefits, from improved performance to enhanced well-being and optimizse their fertility. However, as with any wellness strategy, it's essential to approach cycle syncing with an open mind, a dose of skepticism, and, most importantly, a keen sense of self-awareness. Remember, the goal is not merely to fit into a mold but to understand, respect, and nurture one's unique body rhythms and needs.