Just a quick Google of the words “women” and “exercise” reveals that, only in this last week, the news has reported that exercise can save women from breast cancer, that women need to do resistance exercises during pregnancy, that exercise is more beneficial to women post-menopause, and that, for women, walking is better than working out. One week we hear that too much exercise or the wrong kind of exercise – be it spinning, CrossFit, running – is bad for us, and another week we hear we’re all heading to an early grave because we work out too little.
It’s head-spinningly confusing and it’s enough to make you want to spend another evening on the couch, watching TV, eating snacks, and feeling kind of hopeless.
When it comes to our hormonal health you have probably heard both that too much exercise or working out too hard can cause irregular cycles, missing periods, endometriosis, and more. You’ve probably also heard that too little exercise brings on the symptoms of PCOS, gives you cancer, and makes your periods heavy and painful. We are overwhelmed with advice, tips, and research.
So what is the perfect Goldilocks-scenario here? What is the just right amount of exercise to do and the just right kind of exercise?
Wonderfully, your hormonal patterns provide all you need to figure this out. The cyclical pattern of how our bodies work sets up the perfect architecture for us to plan out what is the best workout for us. During each phase of our menstrual cycle our bodies are primed and prepared for different kinds of exercise. At certain times – luteal phase and menstruation – our stores of nutrients and hormones go into building the lining of your uterus, making enough progesterone for example. At other times we have everything at our disposal to channel into a really strong work out.
Cycle awareness and cycle syncing when it comes to working out can save you from exhaustion, burn-out, hormonal imbalance-based health issues, injury and boredom!
Whether you’re working out to lose weight, stay fit, or keep healthy – it’s all about having a good metabolism and your metabolism is governed by your hormones. They are sensitive to unstable blood sugar, lack of sleep, too much coffee, too much stress – and all of this can prevent your hormones and metabolism from functioning well, which turns working out from something that’s good for you into something that is either ineffective or becomes actually bad for you.
So, what’s the solution? Don’t work out hard, instead, work out smart.
For the next month try this workout routine – it’s a routine that’s in sync with your body and your hormones. It will support a robust metabolism and strike the perfect balance.
Follicular phase – try something new, like the Buti Yoga trend. It’s yoga mixed with Zumba-style movement. Stretch, relax, connect to your core, and get in some cardio all in one session!
Ovulatory phase – try an interval training class or gym work out, like short sprints interspersed with fast walking, or a spinning class with slow uphills and fast racing segments – Soul Cycle.
First part of your luteal phase – this is when to get high-intensity with a bootcamp class and use up your renewed energy stores to burn fat and make muscle.
Second part of your luteal phase – ease towards menstruation with a pilates or restorative yoga class that relieves tension.
Menstrual phase – take a gentle walk and sleep, sleep, sleep! Deep, restful, uninterrupted sleep helps you to lose weight. In fact, one night of missed, deficient sleep is the equivalent to 6 months eating a diet high in bad fats. Good sleep safeguards our blood sugar stability and prevents metabolic mayhem. Take my recommended steps to sleep like a baby. To supercharge your workouts the rest of the month, take this time to incorporate other routines that support your health and fitness including dry brushing, epsom salt/baking soda baths, massages and acupuncture. All of these non-workout routines improve your lymphatic drainage, which means that when your body is primed for that bootcamp class you will see more of the benefit.
If you prefer to get your exercise at home – try out these cycle synced at-home workout videos especially for women living in their Flo. I’ve also selected the best free online routines you can watch on your laptop or TV that are perfect for each phase of your menstrual cycle.
My current workout routine: For new moms
It’s been just over a year since I gave birth and to be honest, I’ve hardly exercised at all. I go for a walk 3 or 4 times a week around Central Park pushing my baby girl in her 30lb stroller! I do some nice, easy, relaxing yoga for 30 minutes at home. And, you know what? My friends and family say I am thinner now than I was before I got pregnant! When do you ever hear that? It’s because I’m eating in my Flo, living in my Flo, and respecting my post-partum hormones.
I know conventional wisdom – or at least gossip magazines – tell us that after giving birth we ought to crash diet and workout like crazy to lose the weight. Well, I lost 40 lbs. worth of baby weight in 3 months without depriving myself and without working out. I know what my body needs right now. I’m producing milk for my baby and that’s an energy and nutrient-heavy process. I am healing from the massive nutrient requirements of making a tiny human and delivering one. I am sleep deprived from nursing. I know my body needs my support to be able to provide for my child and keep me healthy and happy. Many women suffer with adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues post-partum and that’s because they push themselves way too hard and get depleted of their stores of nutrients, energy, and hormones. Instead of depleting myself I am strengthening myself with nourishment – bone broth, homemade chicken liver pate, bison burgers and more.
When I feel fully stronger, I will start again with my cycle synced workouts just like the plan I’ve outlined for you here. I walk the talk, ladies, and it works!
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, what’s your favorite workout?
Second, are you post-partum trying to get your body back, what’s happening?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social 😉
Need more Hormone Help?
If you’re needing some health upgrading, it’s time you started you looking into what’s going on with your hormones.
I’ve designed a 4 day hormone detox and evaluation to help you understand exactly what’s out of whack and how you can start getting back to balance so that your hormones no longer have to suffer.
Click here to get your FREE detox and evaluation!