If you follow wellness trends, you’ve probably heard about the importance of a morning routine. It seems like everywhere you turn a biohacking expert is telling you to get up at the crack of dawn every morning, do a hard-hitting workout, maybe meditate or journal (or both), plan out the rest of your day, and then…repeat the same routine the next day, and the next, and the next.
These blogs and videos assure you that doing the same routine every morning is the key to success. But every time I run into this advice, it drives me crazy!
Because this advice assumes that men and women follow the same biological rhythms everyday of the month and therefore will benefit from the same morning routine everyday. But this isn’t the case! Yes, both men and women follow the 24-hour circadian cycle each day, but women follow a second biological rhythm — the infradian rhythm — that follows a 28-day pattern. This means that a woman’s biochemistry is different from week to week and her morning routine should be different each week, too. (The standard advice also assumes that while one person gets up early and does the ‘success-boosting’ morning routine, someone else — aka the woman — is taking care of the kids. Argh!)
Why do many biohackers and wellness experts recommend a one-size-fits-all approach to starting the day? Because, historically, women have been excluded from medical, fitness, and nutrition research. In other words, so much of what science knows about setting up each day for optimal success is based on men’s biology — not women’s.
How The Right Morning Routine Helps Women Leverage Their Hormonal Advantag
Having a morning routine isn’t a bad concept. But the “same way everyday” approach ignores a woman’s second clock — the infradian rhythm — and actually stacks the deck against having a successful day. I’ve worked with so many women of all ages and backgrounds who say that having the same morning routine everyday leaves them feeling like failures before the day even gets started.
Women need accurate, biological rhythm-specific information on which to base their self-care practices. I know this firsthand. For a long time, I tried many of the male-centered coaching routines… and I felt miserable. Once I understood the science of female biochemistry and the unique cadence of the infradian rhythm, I was able to optimize my morning routine and my entire approach to self-care. It was clear to me that, as women, we will look, feel, and perform our best when we change what we eat during each phase of our 28-day hormone cycle and when we adjust our workouts to adapt to our natural cortisol and metabolic changes throughout each month. I discovered that women need key micronutrients to support our hormonal fluctuations throughout their cycle. I understood that women can use the predictable brain changes we experience during the different phases of the infradian rhythm to select projects that feel effortless and reduce stress.
In short, I learned how to leverage the science of the infradian rhythm to help women eat, exercise, supplement, and live in a way that actually sets them up for success. No more trying to fit into a male-centered model and failing. I created The Cycle Syncing Method™ to live in total support of the infradian rhythm and optimize my approach to work, sex, relationships, motherhood, and more. It has changed my life, maintained my health, and is the basis of my new book In the Flo. It can change your life for the better, too.
If you’re ready to leverage the power of your unique female biochemistry and make the most of your hormonal advantage, the place to start is by using The Cycle Syncing Method™ to optimize your morning routine.
Understanding Your “Second Clock”
Why do men and women need totally different routines in the morning?
Men’s hormones follow the same pattern everyday. The internal rhythm that governs testosterone production for men is synced up with the 24-hour circadian cycle. Here’s how it works:
Men wake up with the highest concentration of testosterone and cortisol early in the morning. Hence it makes sense for them to organize their days around this surge in early morning hormones: a relatively early bedtime (around 10pm), an early wake up time (around 5 or 6am), followed by a workout, meditation session, and frontloading as much work as possible before 3pm, when male hormones downshift and their stamina, mental focus, and energy start to wane. This cycle happens the same way, every single day. One of my clients calls this TTD – the Typical Testosterone Drop.
Women have a circadian rhythm too, of course. But every menstruating woman has a second internal timekeeper, the infradian rhythm, that governs six key systems of the body:
Here are some of the changes that happen to these six systems over the course of a woman’s 28-day infradian rhythm cycle:
Our culture is organized around male biological rhythms. And women are getting sick trying to fit into male patterns. Wellness content has surged in recent years, but women are sicker than ever. Fifty percent of women suffer with hormonal issues! Autoimmune conditions disproportionately affect women. It shouldn’t be this way, and when women begin to embrace their unique female biochemistry, we will reclaim our health, energy, creativity, productivity, and happiness.
The Best Phase-Based Morning Routines For Women
Here’s what I do as a morning routine during each of the four phases of my cycle (and this is done alongside my morning mom duties). The physical activity I suggest below can be done at any time of day that feels good and works optimally with the intersection of your circadian and infradian rhythms. If you want to work out in the morning, that’s fine, but it is not essential and optimal to work out in the morning like it is for men:
A good morning routine has 2 parts:
 Stress Management. This involves meditation and movement, but does not always include a workout
 Thought Management. This involves directing attention/intention with visualization, journaling, and intention setting
To leverage your hormonal advantage in each phase of your infradian rhythm, you’ll want to engage in phase-specific stress management AND thought-management techniques in each phase of your 28-day cycle.
You can get all my recommendations for building a phase-based morning routine in the Morning Routines resource guide (download information for this guide and eight other guides are in the resources section of In the Flo).
Meanwhile, the first step in building a truly supportive start to each day is to think of your cycle as having two parts: a first half (the follicular and ovulatory phase) and a second half (the luteal and menstrual phase).
During the first half of your cycle, you can do an earlier morning routine with more intense cardio or HIIT. In the second half, due to shifts in cortisol, you would want to focus on meditation in the morning, as it is proven to reduce cortisol levels. You can do a non-cardio workout later in the day whenever it suits you.
If you suffer from hormone-related health concerns—like heavy periods, severe PMS, bloating, acne, fibroids, PCOS, irritability, insomnia, low libido, infertility, irregular or missing periods, and/or hormone-related migraines —you can biohack your way to fewer symptoms and better health by leveraging the power of your unique female biochemistry. Adapting your morning routine is the first step. Changing how you start the day will unlock your hormonal advantage.
To learn more about the Infradian Rhythm and Alisa’s Cycle Syncing Method™, pick up her new book In the FLO! www.intheflobook.com
FLO 28: THE CYCLE SYNCING® MEMBERSHIP
A Revolution in Nutrition, Fitness, and Time Management for Women
FLO 28: The Cycle Syncing™ Membership is a revolutionary method for women to care for their bodies and find more flow in their lives. You’ll learn how to shift your self-care to support your cycle and play to the unique strengths you have in each phase. When you begin Cycle Syncing, you’ll start to have more energy for everything that matters the most to you. And, you’ll feel more energized, relaxed, happier and more free in all areas of your life.