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Cycle Syncing, what is it and why might it be affecting your progress


What is Cycle Syncing?

Cycle syncing is the concept of aligning workouts to the phases of your menstrual cycle to become fitter, faster, and stronger, and to reduce the risk of injury. It has gained popularity recently, with leading workout apps offering phase-specific exercise plans. This approach suggests gentle movement during the luteal phase and menstruation, and ramping up workouts at the end of the follicular phase.


This week I am showing women that we can do hard things whilst we are on our periods, as I smashed a CrossFit competition with Sam. According to some coaches and social media posts about cycle syncing, I should be curled up on the sofa, focusing on light stretches and deep breathing. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the pain that can come with periods. Just the day before the competition, I told Sam that if the pain was as bad as it was that day, the competition would be a flop because I was in agony and feeling dizzy. I took it slow, rested, and spent the night with a hot water bottle on the sofa after an easy walk in the park.





So, What Am I Getting At?

There’s a difference between listening to your body and rigidly following cycle syncing. There might be days in the first week of your cycle when you can't complete your program due to low energy, but that shouldn't mean writing off the whole week. Similarly, your training program doesn't need to be split into yoga/pilates for week one, running for week two, and strength training for week three, with a relaxation phase in week four.

Cycle syncing isn't necessary and could put you at risk of under-training in the areas needed to reach your goals. Tracking helped me understand how I felt and how to adapt my training accordingly. We work with an expert who provides tips on the best foods, drinks, and training for each phase.


Everyone's Menstrual Cycle is Different

Some people may be sensitive to hormonal changes, while others may not. I definitely know exactly what phase I am in due to emotions, symptoms, my strength, fitness etc. Cycle syncing programs typically suggest aiming for personal bests during the late follicular phase into ovulation, but some individuals might not feel their best during this time. They may not notice a difference in strength or energy regardless of their phase.


Programs often recommend lifting weights or high-intensity movements only once weekly, with lower intensity exercises like yoga the rest of the time. However, lifting weights and resistance training are crucial for women’s bone health. Muscles apply stress to bones, prompting them to renew and strengthen, so it should be done at least twice per week.

Not to mention that cycle syncing can lead to undertraining, as following the recommendations might mean doing only gentle movement for 10-14 days a month, without adequate strength training and high-intensity movement.


In conclusion, while cycle syncing has it's merits, it’s essential to listen to your body and adapt your training as needed without strictly adhering to a prescribed plan. Strength training and high-intensity workouts are vital for overall health and should not be neglected.

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