Updated: Jan 8
Women today grew up knowing that we can do anything, be anyone, and have it all. As girls, we dreamed of growing up to have life-changing careers, wild success, beautiful relationships, and the energy and confidence to match. Those goals definitely didn't include feeling burnt out, having anxiety, beating yourself up for forgetting something on your busy schedule, fighting your body, ignoring your needs or dreams, pushing through things that make you feel like crap, cramps, headaches, bloating, fatigue, and other hormone-related symptoms that most of us know all too well. Today we have more information than ever on how to be productive, learn new skills, eat healthily, get fit, look good, and have energy…. But how do you decide what is truly the most effective and most sustainable for your health and lifestyle? As an ambitious, health-driven woman, you have goals to achieve and a life you want to fully enjoy. Your health and mindset are irreplaceable, priceless resources and you deserve to feel your best and reach your goals at the same time. Cycle Synching is a functional, adaptable lifestyle approach where you optimize your communication, work, social events, food, fitness, and self-care based on the four phases of the female hormonal cycle. It's based on science, and is still intuitive and flexible.
During this blog, you’re going to learn the reason why many popular productivity or health methods are not as effective for women as they are for men, how cycle synching can improve women’s lives, and a quick look at how you can get started.
Why Men & Women Need Different Approaches to Productivity & Wellness
Like women, men also have a hormonal cycle. The main difference is that women cycle monthly (average of 28 days), and men cycle every 24 hours. Male hormones generally follow the circadian rhythm, so they wake up with the highest levels of testosterone, which then gradually level off throughout the day. This optimizes the morning as being a time when men can have an intense workout early in the morning, have sex, or dive straight into work, while women may not always be able to do the same. As testosterone decreases, estrogen increases, making an afternoon lunch meeting or happy hour perfectly scheduled for the male hormonal cycle. Overnight, testosterone is replenished, and then the cycle starts over again. Having the same daily schedule, the same 5 am morning routine, or trying certain diets may work wonderfully for men-- but you may have noticed from routines or diets you’ve tried, or even the times you pushed yourself to perform the same every single day, that this isn’t quite as sustainable for women.
Women’s hormones are often giving a bad rep. We’re called “hormonal,” moody, and dismissed because of the changes our bodies go through, but the truth is that women also go through hormonal changes that optimize deep work, socialization, communication, fitness, and rest. Unlike men though, we stay in each of our phases for several days at a time instead of cycling through them daily. It’s unfortunate that we've been conditioned to hear “female hormones” or “monthly cycle” and think period, cramps, mood swings, and that this was somehow an inconvenient, shameful, or embarrassing burden this was placed on us. There is so much more to our monthly cycles than having a period or even fertility, we just weren’t taught about all the strengths and functions that are determined by our hormones-- which means that many of us fight our bodies and experience painful, miserable monthly cycles. I'm passionate about using the resources we have to optimize our lifestyle, and I love how cycle synching allows us to learn how to navigate life and work towards our goals in a way that doesn’t add to our stress, deplete our energy for weeks or even months at a time, cause burn out, and throw our minds and bodies out of balance.
Here’s Where Cycle Synching Comes In!
Any woman who has a monthly hormonal cycle and wants to find a natural, functional way to balance her hormones that doesn’t involve can use cycle synching! I’ve been using the Clue app since 2014, which is still the only cycle tracking app I'll recommend! I originally started using it just so I could track my period, but when I learned about having 4 cycle phases, it was so useful to be able to look at my cycle length with Clue and figure out exactly where I was. When I actually started navigating the ebbs and flows of my energy, mood, thought patterns, food, and how I felt working out according to my cycle, the results came within just 2-3 months! Soon I was able to know what I should be working on during which phase and began to feel more intuitive with my energy and what my body was trying to tell me. My energy improved tremendously (hallelujah!). I knew exactly when to have an important conversation, when to attend a big social event, when to start a new project, as well as when to get extra rest or spend time reflecting instead of jumping into another commitment. I understood my inner self-critic better and gave myself more compassion. My anxiety and overthinking greatly subsided. My period even actually got lighter and my skin looked the best it ever has. No diet or other approach had ever given me both the results and freedom I was experiencing, and it's only gotten better. Many women all over the world are choosing natural ways to optimize their hormones and experiencing less pain, less frustration, more energy, and more harmony in their lives. The best part is that it’s not a diet, isn’t about restriction, and works well with intuitive eating and intuitive lifestyle choices.
Cycle Synching at a glance:
Phase One: The first phase of the female hormonal cycle is the Menstrual Phase, aka your period. It lasts 3-7 days, and Day One of your cycle is the first day that you bleed. During this time, your estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest, but you also have incredible alignment between the right and left hemispheres of your brain. That’s right-- your brain chemistry actually changes! Many cycle synching women come up with their best ideas during the menstrual phase. You’re at a prime time for remembering details, reflecting, and introspecting. During this phase, I teach my clients to connect to their intuition and nourish their bodies to keep inflammation and stress at bay.
Phase Two: The first day you are no longer bleeding is the beginning of the Follicular Phase, which lasts 7-10 days. During this phase, your body begins releasing follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to prepare your body for ovulation and your estrogen levels gradually begin to rise day by day. This is the time when I like to create actions plans and invest my time into what I want to work on! Your energy levels will gradually rise, so you can begin to put yourself and your ideas out there and really invest that energy into making things happen. I teach my clients to use this time to take action on their goals, begin boosting their energy, and nourishing gut health.
Phase Three: As estrogen and testosterone peak, you become fertile for about 24 hours, but when it comes to the energetics of Ovulation Phase, you'll feel this for about 2-5 days. This is the phase where women who are trying to conceive know they’re able to get pregnant. Also, thanks to nature, that also means this is the time where we’re our most social, magnetic, and communicative. During ovulation, I teach my clients to put their communication skills to use and properly metabolize estrogen to avoid PMS later.
Phase Four: Finally, you enter the final phase, which is the Luteal Phase, lasting 10-14 days. As ovulation ends, your estrogen will begin to decline. Your body will produce luteinizing hormone, and then your progesterone will start to rise, then if you're not pregnant, it will decline again. During this phase, you're more sensitive to stress, which can create PMS symptoms. However, this can also be a really great time for finishing projects, tying up loose ends, and getting organized, like a mini "nesting phase" right before your cycle begins again. My clients use specific self-care strategies and focus on good mood foods during this time.
Check out this chart with the 4 phases & power words that describe the theme of each phase:
Cycle synching does take practice for you to become more aware of your symptoms and changes in body and brain chemistry, but it also doesn’t mean you have to do anything strict or extreme for these changes to be successful. Begin making small, sustainable steps according to your cycle phase, and see how you feel!
I recommend keeping a journal where you reflect on the changes you're making, any symptoms that come up, your energy levels, activities, and mood. You’ll be amazed at how aligned you become with your body and mind!
Thank you for reading my first blog post on my new website! I thought it was important to lay out a foundation for more content in the coming weeks ahead. If you loved what you read, send it to a friend who needs to learn about balancing her cycle and follow me on Instagram at @audreysgeyer
References: 1. https://helloclue.com/articles/cycle-a-z/the-menstrual-cycle-more-than-just-the-period 2. Vitti, Alisa. 2020. In the Flo. Harper One