Running, biking, dancing, yoga, Pilates — you name it, I’ve done it. I’ve dabbled in just about every kind of exercise there is over the last two decades, and I consider working out to be a major must-do for physical and mental health. Not to mention, regular workouts are the perfect complement to healthy eating — they go hand in hand to create a fitter, stronger (and okay, hotter) you! But one thing I figured out over the course of my career and personal journey from hormonal dysfunction to total recovery: you’ve gotta mix it up.
Nutritionists and exercise experts tell us this all the time: our bodies plateau if we repeatedly do the same kinds of workouts and eat the same foods day in and day out, and we need new challenges and adventures in order to grow and keep our metabolism fired up. But there’s another good reason for adding variety to your food and fitness routine (besides busting the inevitable boredom): your hormones will thank you.
Think about it: your intelligent endocrine system doesn’t stay static all month long; why should your diet and exercise plan? By mixing up the foods you eat and workouts you do, you can start accommodating the natural hormonal shifts responsible for so many vital functions that take place in your body. To fuel all the essential jobs your hardworking hormones have to do, it’s important to eat and exercise in a way that optimizes their actions. And to do that, you need to pick up a handy habit called cycle-syncing.
If it feels like this might be a lot to keep track of, don’t worry, there’s an app for that called MyFLO – it will tell you which phase you’re in, why you’re having the symptoms you are having, what to eat to eliminate those symptoms, what optimal exercise to do each week, and let you track your period too.
Cycle-syncing is a fancy way to describe the process of eating and living according to your FLO. It’s modifying your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits to complement and enhance the assets of each phase of your cycle. By providing your body with key micronutrients from the right foods at the right times, and modifying your activities to allow for natural hormonal fluctuations, you’ll play to your strengths all month long. How great is that?
Ready to get started? Here’s the quick and dirty food and exercise guide for each phase of your cycle:
Follicular phase (before you ovulate, after your period)
What’s happening: Your estrogen levels are rising.
Eat more: Artichoke, broccoli, carrot, parsley, green peas, string beans and zucchini.
Try this workout: A fun new group fitness class that’s challenges you and cardio focused.
Ovulatory phase (when you’re ovulating):
What’s happening: Your estrogen is at its highest point, and your body is biologically primed for pregnancy (which means you feel extra energized and sexy).
Eat more: Asparagus, brussels sprouts, chard, escarole, scallion, spinach.
Try this workout: A mix of something strenuous and social, that’s HIIT focused.
Luteal phase (before you have your period)
What’s happening: Your progesterone is at its highest point.
Eat more: Cauliflower, collard greens, daikon, onion, parsnip, radish, squash, sweet potato
Try this workout: Focus on strength training without the cardio – Pilates, power yoga, weights.
Menstrual phase (your period)
What’s happening: All your hormones are at their lowest points of the month.
Eat more: Beet, kale, kelp, mushrooms
Try this workout: Time to scale it back. Try walking, Yin yoga, or naps to recharge your batteries.
If your period is problematic, then it’s important you find out what Period-Type™ you have. There are 5 different PERIOD TYPES, and knowing which one you have will help you get healthy now and prevent disease in the future. Learn what your period means with the FLO Living Period Type™ Quiz.
The New Potato and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or ailment.
All content on The New Potato (even when supplied by a medical professional) is intended for educational and conversational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider before beginning any new diet, exercise regime, or wellness routine.