Why Workouts Don't Work for Most Women
We are going to talk about the benefits of cycle syncing in just a second but first I want to ask you a question:
Does it feel like no matter what type of workouts you do or what type of advice that you follow that you aren't seeing results in the gym or with your workouts?
Does it feel like the workouts just don't work for your body?
Do you feel like there must be a better way?
If you answered yes, then you are in the right place.
Cycle syncing may be the answer to the problems you are facing, but we have to talk about why that is.
When it comes to the fitness industry, it turns out that scientific literature and most recommendations are based on studies done on men.
Obviously, I don't need to point out that men differ quite a bit from women, especially when it comes to their hormones.
Women have hormone levels that fluctuate wildly throughout the month (1).
Men do see some hormone fluctuation (2), but nowhere near the same degree that women experience it.
So why would you take advice which is designed for one set of hormones and apply it to someone who is completely different?
This is exactly what happens with women and standard fitness advice.
The standard workout advice can certainly work for some women, but it doesn't work for all women.
And what's worse is that it can actually cause problems such as hormone imbalances, a lack of menstrual cycle, the inability to lose weight, and so on.
Just think about it:
What happens to a woman if she trains too much? She loses her cycle or it becomes faint (3), scare, or altered in some way.
This represents CHANGES to the hormone system that governs the female body.
And as these hormones change, you may start to lose some of your more feminine features including things like fertility, glowing skin, soft features, thick hair, and more.
With this in mind, let's talk about cycle syncing.
Today you are going to learn:
- What exactly cycle syncing is
- What type of people should consider this type of workout
- The benefits of cycle syncing, ranging from weight loss to hormone balance
- And how to actually put it into practice
Let's jump in...
What Exactly is Cycle Syncing?
Put simply, cycle syncing is the practice of matching the intensity of your workouts to the changes that occur in your menstrual cycle.
As I previously mentioned, and as I'm sure you are intimately aware, hormone levels fluctuate in women throughout the month.
So what we are really trying to do here is match up the intensity of your workouts to the fluctuations of your sex hormones.
Testosterone (4) and estrogen can make you feel powerful and feel like you have tons of energy.
Progesterone, on the other hand, can make you feel calm or "zen".
If progesterone is peaking during your menstrual cycle and you just really aren't feeling an intense workout, why would you push your body to do the very thing that it's telling you it doesn't want you to do?
If you follow the practice of cycle syncing, you would instead match the intensity of your workout to how you are feeling day to day.
So as progesterone peaks you would focus on more relaxing types of workouts which give your body what it wants:
Movement with low to moderate intensity.
And don't let this sound complicated or extreme, because it isn't.
It's actually quite easy to match the intensity of your workouts to your menstrual cycle and we will go over that in just a minute.
Who Should Consider Syncing Their Workouts to Their Cycle
Is cycle syncing worth it for every woman?
I think the argument could be made, but you should also be aware of what actually works for you.
For instance, if you are currently working out using the standard advice and you are seeing results then you wouldn't necessarily need to change.
But if you are working out, burning yourself out, slamming weights around in the gym with little to show for it, then you are probably someone who would benefit from giving it a shot!
Beyond that standard advice, there are some other groups of patients/women who tend to benefit from cycle syncing more than most.
This list includes:
- Women with PCOS - Women with PCOS suffer from hormone imbalances to estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Any therapy which balances these hormones will help treat PCOS.
- Women who are overweight or who struggle with obesity - If you just don't seem to respond well to the standard high intensity interval training then cycle syncing is something you should seriously consider.
- Women who are fatigued - Do you feel more run-down than usual? It could be your hormones telling you something.
- Women with low sex drive - Many women (and men) suffer from low sex drive. Therapies which balance estrogen and testosterone can have a libido enhancing effect.
- Women who are interested in conception - Are you planning on trying to conceive soon? If so, you want your hormones primed so that you can get pregnant as fast as possible. Cycle syncing can help with this.
This isn't an exhaustive list, but it can help give you an idea of the type of women who benefit from cycle syncing.
When in doubt, just give it a try.
It certainly won't hurt you and only has the potential to help.
Benefits of Cycle Syncing
What type of benefits can you expect if you jump into cycle syncing?
The benefits vary from person to person but one thing remains consistent:
Most women who cycle sync notice a significant improvement and balance to their sex hormones and all of the benefits that come along with it.
This could mean improved sex drive, a less intense menstrual cycle, more regular menstrual cycles, a more balanced mood, and so on.
Beyond the improvements to your sex hormones, some women also experience weight loss benefits.
It may sound counterintuitive that working out LESS (or with less intensity) can result in better weight loss than hitting high intensity interval training 5x per week, and yet here we are.
Other benefits may include a better sense of well-being, better sleep, and so on.
How to Sync Your Cycle to Your Workouts
We've spent a lot of time talking about WHAT cycle syncing is and WHY you should do it, but how do you actually do it?
That's what we are going to dive into next.
And it's not as complicated as you might think.
Below you will find information that outlines the typical 28 day standard menstrual cycle (5).
Before you say anything, I am fully aware that many of you probably do not follow the standard 28 menstrual cycle!
Many women, especially those with PCOS, have cycles that are much longer.
On the other hand, some women might have shorter cycles, longer bleeding times, and so on.
So when you look at the information below just remember that it represents a general outline.
It's not meant to be a hard and fast set of guidelines that you need to rigidly follow.
But use it as a rough guideline that you can follow to get a sense of what you should be looking for.
The main goal here is to let your BODY guide you.
As you learn to listen to your body and honor how you feel day to day, you will see improvements in how you feel and in your sex hormones.
Below you will find the standard menstrual cycle split into 4 phases.
Each phase is associated with a different set of hormones that are either falling, peaking, or rising.
As the various hormones rise, fall, or peak, you will feel more or less energy (depending on which hormone is changing).
- Menstrual phase (days 1-5) - This represents the aspect of your cycle when you are actively bleeding. During this phase, you will want to focus on light movement! Exercises like walking or very light yoga are great for this phase. It may sound counterintuitive to walk and NOT exercise here but you do not want to put extra stress on your body or your adrenals. Allow your body the time it needs to recover and shed the uterine lining which is what is happening during this phase of your cycle. Both estrogen and progesterone are LOW during this phase of the cycle.
- Follicular phase (days 6-14) - During this phase of your cycle, both estrogen and progesterone are slowly starting to rise. As they rise, you will notice you have slightly more energy. During this phase, you will want to focus on LIGHT cardio type exercises. Exercises such as running, hiking, or even flow-based yoga are great here. Keep your exercises in the light to moderate area. Higher intensity than just walking, but not enough intensity to get you sweating profusely.
- Ovulatory phase (days 15-17) - This is the phase that you are ovulating. From an evolutionary standpoint, this is the phase that women typically have the highest libido, highest energy, and most power as their body gets ready to potentially have a baby. You obviously don't have to get ready for baby-making but you can definitely take advantage of your hormones during this period! As testosterone peaks, you should focus on high intensity exercises such as high intensity interval training, circuit training, spin exercises, and so on. Don't be afraid to push your body during this time, to work up a good sweat, and to get a great workout. The ovulatory phase is typically the shortest aspect of the cycle, so make sure to take advantage of this period!
- Luteal phase (days 18-28) - The last phase of the cycle is the luteal phase and during this phase both estrogen and progesterone levels are high. During this phase, you will want to focus on light to moderate intensity workouts but focus more on restorative type movements and routines. Exercises like yoga, pilates, and even strength training. *Strength training can actually be done throughout the entire cycle and can be combined with the various other workouts.
Cycle syncing is a method of working out which is more specifically designed for women and for the changes that they experience day to day with their hormones.
Using this method of exercise may help with better weight loss, may help improve hormone balance, help with sleep, help improve sex drive, and so much more.
If you haven't seen results with the type of information and advice you are receiving from personal trainers or other fitness gurus then what do you have to lose?
Not a lot, but you potentially have a LOT to gain.
Now I want to hear from you:
Is this the first time you've heard of cycle syncing before?
Are you considering giving it a try after hearing about the benefits it can offer?
Are you someone who has tried cycle syncing in the past? If so, how did it work for you?
Leave your questions or comments below!
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