A Guide to Eating and Exercising with Your Menstrual Cycle
Hey ladies!! We all know that being a woman comes with a unique superpower – the menstrual cycle. Sure, it might sometimes be a rollercoaster, and it might seem more of a curse than a blessing at times. However, we empower you to harness the power underlying your monthly cycle and use them to your advantage!
Today, we're going to explore how you can eat and exercise according to the different phases of your cycle. Want to sync up with your body and ride those tidal waves like a pro? Read on, girl!
Phase 1: Menstruation - The "Chill & Heal" Phase
This phase marks the beginning of the cycle– I’m sure we are ALL familiar! Because of the cramps, cravings, and potential moodiness, it is ESSENTIAL to give ourselves a little extra TLC.
During this phase, your body is shedding its uterine lining, so don't be shy to lean into grounding, nourishing, and comforting foods as well as foods that help replenish your iron levels due to blood loss!
Nutrition for menstruation: Grass-fed beef, sweet potatoes, dark chocolate, and lots of leafy greens like spinach or kale for added nutrients!
As for exercise, this is a great time for gentle movements. Think restorative yoga or leisurely walks in the park with your dogs or kiddos. Your body needs a little extra rest during this phase, so don't push yourself too hard – Netflix and chill can feel just as good! :)
Phase 2: Follicular Phase - The "Rising Energy" Phase
As you enter the follicular phase, your energy levels are on the rise, and you're ready to conquer the day head-on. Your body is preparing for ovulation so focus on healthy fats to support hormone production!
Nutrition for follicular phase: salmon, avocado, olives, nuts & seeds. Weave in some fermented foods like kimchi for gut health!
For exercise, embrace the surge of vitality and opt for activities like dance classes, Zumba, or even trying out a new sport with friends. Enjoy the heightened sense of creativity and energy during this time!
Phase 3: Ovulation - The "Empowered and Playful" Phase
It's time for ovulation! Your hormones are peaking, and you're radiating confidence. Focus on lighter foods to compliment your increased energy and focus on foods that optimize detoxification.
Nutrition for ovulation: fiber-rich veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, protein-rich seafood, and plenty of water!
In terms of exercise, this is the time you’re most equipped to hit those PR’s in the gym! Your body is more receptive to building muscle during this phase, so it's an excellent time to hit the weights at the gym and maybe even push yourself a little more than you normally would!
Phase 4: Luteal Phase - The "Preparation & Self-Care" Phase
As you enter the luteal phase, your energy levels might dip slightly, and that makes this phase the perfect time for self-care. Foods rich in B vitamins will help with progesterone production, while magnesium will ease PMS symptoms. Boost your mood with complex carbohydrates!
Nutrition for luteal phase: salmon, eggs, sweet potatoes, whole grains, dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds.
Pro tip: The Miracle Worker is a powerful magnesium supplement to ease period cramps & headaches!
When it comes to exercise, opt for calming activities like Pilates or swimming. These types of exercise can help soothe any premenstrual tensions and keep your mind (and body) relaxed.
Embracing Your Unique Needs
Learning to work with your body instead of against it by eating and exercising with your menstrual cycle is a crucial aspect of women’s health!
In addition, it is ALWAYS important to support your gut during your cycle, because we all know that if we support our gut, we also support our overall health!
Want more information on Women’s health, hormone balance, and gut health optimization? Check out our library of on-demand courses, led by functional medicine registered dietitians!
Because each body is unique, make sure to listen to yours and adapt your eating and exercise habits accordingly. And above all, embrace the beauty of your menstrual cycle – it's a monthly reminder of the incredible power of womanhood!!