I have been an avid exerciser for the past 18 years – in fact the longest I’ve gone without daily exercise was during my third trimester when I developed pretty intense sciatica from my pregnancy – had to walk with a cane and everything Other than that long break, I have been walking, running, hiking, biking, dancing, taking group fitness, yoga and pilates for years. Of course, I don’t do the same workout day in and day out. In fact it’s one of my secrets to having lost 60 lbs. so effortlessly – was that not only did I sync up my eating to my hormones, but I also synced up my workouts to my cycle! It works like nothing else you’ve tried because it’s working with the flow of your hormones, not against them which is so often why weight becomes “stubborn”.
Tweet: “It’s not the fat, it’s the way you’re working out against your hormonal patterns!” @floliving
To really get the most out of optimizing your hormones and health, you should change up your workout routine to fit your cycle phase in much the same way as you do your diet. Your body is primed for different kinds of activity across your cycle, just as its looking for different kinds of nutrition through the four phases. You’ll lose more weight and feel fitter if you tune to what feels most natural.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s best for your body in each phase:
Follicular phase: This is a great time to start a new class. You’ll have the energy and the motivation to take on a different style of workout and give it your all.
Ovulatory phase: Your body can take on strenuous exercise now like running and weight lifting. You’ll also be yearning to socialize and meet new people, which means group classes for spinning or dancing will be fun and enjoyable.
Luteal phase: When you’re heading towards your menstrual phase you might feel like scaling back on intense exercise. Pick up on some walking, vinyasa yoga and pilates to go easier on your body.
Menstrual phase: A time for rest and recovery with no guilt! Stretch a little, walk, do some light yoga to keep moving, but let your body take a few days to repair and reset. You’ll have more to give mentally and physically in your next cycle if you allow for this short break.
Fitness and yoga instructor and FLO Living fan, Emily Sonnenberg, created some special cycle synched routines just for FLO Living, which we are sharing with you all today.
Her four workouts make it easy for you to keep moving and stay in your FLO from the comfort of your own living room.
She also is sharing her story of how she got off the pill, found her soul mate, lost 25 lbs, cleared up her cystic acne by changing her diet and workouts according to the FLO protocol .
When did you begin living in your FLO?
I signed up for the Flo Living program for 2 months from August to October 2014 and registered for the forum portion of the program. I had already come a long way at that point from reading Woman Code and from reading the Flo Living blog. I wanted to take my progress to the next level and I wanted to have access to the forums to see what was working for the other women in the program.
What health issues brought you to FLO Living?
I had come off of the birth control pill in November 2011, then I broke up with my boyfriend of four years that I lived with (funnily enough I also couldn’t stand the way he smelled or anything about him after coming off of the Pill, just like studies suggest!). Between November and early March 2012 I moved in with a new roommate, started taking on way more at work and started dating a new guy (who is unbelievable and we’re getting married in June!). I was feeling so high on life that I kicked up my workouts and wasn’t eating nearly enough.
By early February I had gained 10 lbs (which would later increase to 25lbs) I was swollen (none of my clothes fit) and my previously flawless skin broke out with painful cystic acne. My cycle had also become irregular most of the time, lasting for 45 days
Nothing had changed by August and I was depressed, exhausted, and felt horrible and hopeless.
I had come across Woman Code and Alisa Vitti through The Fat Burning Man podcast. I bought the book and in September I did the 4 Day Reset. I lost 10 lbs and 12 inches off of my body in 4 days!! That month my cycle went back to 29 days. Over the next year my weight stayed down and my skin slowly cleared up. But then I felt like I hit my plateau.
I still would get annoying pimples on my cheek and sometimes my cycle would jump back to being 45 days long.
So I emailed in asking a question regarding that and it was recommended to me that I sign up for the FLO Living Online Program so I can have all of my questions answered.
How did the FLO protocol help you?
FLO helped me TREMENDOUSLY! Hearing from all of these different women and what they were going through made me feel like I was no longer alone in my hormonal suffering.
I asked about how to shorten my follicular phase – (it would go on forever and I would have false peaks) and it was recommended to me that I change my foods for the phase that I’m supposed to be in. What do you know? It worked again. That month my cycle was a perfectly painless 29 days long.
How did you make it work for your lifestyle?
My method was juicing. I would buy the vegetables that I was instructed to eat for that phase and juice primarily those to have along with my breakfast in the morning and switch to the next list of vegetables to juice on the first day that my cycle was supposed to shift to the next phase. I became more selective and disciplined with what foods I put in my body and when.
Along with changing my diet I scaled back at work, my living situation changed to a less stressful one, I spent more time outside, turned my phone off a lot more and went to bed earlier in a blacked out room. As a result my body quickly slipped back into its pre-hormonal meltdown state.
How did you incorporate cycle syncing with your workout regime?
I’m a fitness and yoga teacher. I teach about 20 classes a week. So I was always really into fitness. My problem was probably too much so to the point where I would over do it. I would push through period pains and times when I was tired and avoided listening to my stressed out body out of fear that cutting back I would not be able to maintain my current lifestyle.
So I was forced to make some changes in the Spring/Summer of 2014.
I had learned from Flo Living that if I wanted to keep my cycle regular I would need to honor my body, and workout in a way that would support my cycle, not work against it.
It started out by me taking the first day of my menstrual phase off from teaching classes. This day I would do gentle stretching and very restorative poses. Then I started to pay more attention to how I felt while I was moving during my classes and my own workouts. I noticed that my body craved different movement styles, speeds and intensities based on where I was in my cycle.
It was a combination of my intuitive wisdom regarding my own body and the amount of trainings I’ve done in a variety of different fields of fitness that I was able to pull together different movements or exercises that would leave me feeling awesome after.
I found that when I worked out for my strengths based on my cycle, I became stronger, more body aware, had greater range of motion and felt energized instead of totally deflated after exercising.
I’ve come to a place where I feel balanced and like I’ve stepped right into the FLO (great sleep, great skin, strong and toned body, shiny hair, energetic, positive outlook on life). I don’t weigh myself ever because I can feel when I’m out of alignment with my FLO – things just don’t fit right, my skin isn’t as luminous and I feel a bit testier.
Movement is medicine. For me it was more about scaling back on my workouts, but I feel that very similar problems can show up for women that are not moving enough. It’s about finding a balance between effort and ease, strength and flexibility, movement and stillness.
We want to hear from you!
How are your workouts affected by your hormonal changes over the month?
How are you going to start cycle syncing your exercise?
Post in the comments below to share your story!
Hormones shouldn’t be a private struggle, join the FLO conversation and get back in your FLO by learning from other women who are doing the same!
If you’re ready to get your hormones balanced, it’s as easy as one click!
Want to find more of Emily’s Flo-inspired work?
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/emilysonnenbergyoga
Yoga Tune Up (R): https://www.yogatuneup.com