How To Exercise According To Your Cycle

In partnership with New Moon Wellness

As women, many of us have pushed through menstrual symptoms to exercise, regardless of how we are feeling. We have accepted that's just how it is. But our bodies aren't designed to work like that, and thankfully there is another way. By tracking our cycle and working with, rather than against, hormonal fluctuations we can adapt our workouts to benefit our bodies.

Luisa Scilironi, founder of New Moon Fitness breaks it down for us.



Working With Your Cycle

One of the most life changing pieces of information I have learnt in recent years is how to work with my cycle. Many of us have pushed through cramps, PMS and heavy bleeding and have just accepted that this is just the way it is. But thankfully there is another way. By tracking our cycle and working with our body, rather than against it. Exercise, along with nutrition and self-care, can make such a difference to help balance hormones and manage these symptoms. 

As women, our bodies do not function on a 24 hour clock like the men in our lives (the male hormonal cycle lasts 24hrs). Our bodies operate in a completely different way and work around our monthly cycle. This is because throughout our cycle our hormone levels rise and fall affecting our energy levels, moods and generally how we feel in ourselves. Because of these hormone fluctuations, doing the same workouts throughout our cycle are not likely to benefit our bodies whereas adapting our workouts to the various cycle phases will.  For example, in the follicular and ovulation phase of your cycles, your body can burn fat more easily and gain lean muscle meaning this is the best time for higher impact exercise.  

Now, this can all sound very confusing if you are hearing it for the first time, especially as to many of us it is the norm to push our bodies even if we are not feeling up to it. So let’s try and keep it simple and break it down. 


1.  The Follicular Phase  

Following your period, your energy levels will start to rise, so this is a great time to ramp up the pace and introduce some cardio into your workout. As this phase continues your body will react more efficiently to harder workouts boosting your metabolism and helping you build lean muscle.  


2.  The Ovulation Phase

This is the high energy stage in your cycle, as your oestrogen and testosterone levels are at their highest. So it is the perfect time to take your workout to the next level. Think HIIT, spinning or bootcamps to make the most of the burst of energy you have. It is also a great time to be social, so group exercise and classes are perfect.


3.  The Luteal Phase

Many women (including myself) find this phase the most difficult. This phase can be split into two. In the first half of the luteal phase your oestrogen and testosterone are still at higher levels, with progesterone creeping in, meaning your energy levels are still reasonably high. Strength training to gain lean muscle is the perfect focus at this time. Since all three hormone levels are lower during the second half of the luteal phase, mat-based workouts, such as pilates, are the most beneficial for our bodies. This is the time to get your muscles working and feel the burn with lower impact training.



4.  The Menstruation Phase

There is one common theme this week and that is REST. Your energy levels will be at their lowest, so really tune in with your body and what it needs. This is a perfect time for restorative yoga, walks and gentle stretching. It may feel counterproductive, but less really is more at this time. IN fact, high impact exercise can often place stress on your body, which can turn on your fat storage by means of protection. 

As always, it is important to listen to your body. If you are struggling with a hormonal imbalance, depression or anxiety, it is recommended to keep your workouts to less than 30 minutes to avoid over-stressing your body.  


Exercise and The Menopause

Exercise doesn’t have to just be used to balance out your cycle, it can also help to manage menopause or peri-menopause symptoms. There is a lot of new research now suggesting strength training can be used as a key tool to improve sleep and mood, improve energy levels, build strength and muscle, and lose body fat. Strength training can also help to slow or reverse age-related decreases in muscle and bone mass - something tha naturally happens over 30 in women.

When it comes to Knowledge is power. We are so lucky that these subjects are becoming more openly discussed and women are learning to harness the super power that comes with working with your cycle and body.  



Meet Lu...

Luisa, founder of New Moon Wellness offers personal training with a holistic approach to your fitness and wellness journey.

The birth of her daughter was a catalyst for change for New Moon Fitness founder Luisa, who always loved exercise but admits to having had quite an unhealthy relationship with it. She now exercises because of how it makes her feel rather than worrying about how she looks, and she wants to help empower women to feel strong and confident in their own skin. Read her story here.

Find out more with our Weekly Moon Guide, your local guide to the moon cycle and energy in Guernsey.

In partnership with New Moon Wellness


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