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Tap into Your Feminine Power - Tips for Cycling Females

Updated: Mar 13

Females are naturally equipped to be effective leaders. Acknowledging and optimizing routines based on the menstrual cycle is an essential consideration. By understanding and accommodating these biological factors, female leaders can enhance not only their productivity but also their overall well-being.

Instead of a consistent routine that works for males, cycling females would benefit more from optimizing their routines based on the four phases of the menstrual cycle. Shifting through these phases involves not just hormone changes but also influences a broader system, leading to significant variations in biochemistry and brain function. Thus, the same routine will not work all the time. It's crucial to understand your biology and tap into the benefits throughout the month.

Menstrual Cycle Phases:

  • Menstruation

  • Follicular phase

  • Ovulation

  • Luteal phase

While everyone who menstruates may experience these phases and hormone changes differently, the overall process remains the same.

menstruation female women health hormones
4 phases of the menstrual cycle

Let’s discuss how these hormones could impact your biohacking routine — and how to optimize your brain function, training, and fasting by tailoring it to your menstrual cycle:

Menstruation Phase - Intuitive Insights

Menstruation, also known as your period, is the first phase of your menstrual cycle and can last anywhere from three days to a week. During this phase, we naturally have the slowest metabolism. Additionally, lower levels of energy result from reduced mitochondrial function and ATP production. There is also decreased activity of certain neurotransmitters affecting our mood. Our body, brilliantly and beautifully designed, encourages us to tap into the cognitive benefit—cognitive empathy, also known as intuition. This enhanced ability allows us to understand or know something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning. It proves beneficial in problem-solving and tasks requiring creativity.

During the menstruation phase, low hormone levels may impact motivation, not to mention the cramping, headaches, and discomfort you might be dealing with. Engaging in exercise, however, can effectively alleviate these painful symptoms.

Workout Tip: Stick with a low-intensity workout like walking, yoga, stretching, or Tai chi. Don't put pressure on yourself to train on days you're experiencing heavy symptoms, discomfort, or pain.

Fasting is my favorite biohack during the menstruation phase. It is safe during this phase because our metabolism is slower, and our energy needs are lower.

Follicular Phase - Navigation

The follicular phase starts on day one of your cycle and ends around day 14 when ovulation begins. During this phase, your body restarts the process of thickening the lining of your uterus in preparation for a possible pregnancy. The brain releases several hormones, including gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulate the growth of follicles in your ovaries. Estrogen steadily rises to a peak, increasing ATP production, metabolism, and some mood-boosting neurochemicals, namely serotonin. As a result, you start to feel good and energetic. Brain function during this time modulates, heightening navigational skills and abilities. Utilize this heightened ability to navigate and strategically allocate resources.

The follicular phase is an excellent time to turn up the intensity in the gym. Estrogen promotes glucose availability and uptake, meaning that during this phase, your body is better able to build and maintain muscle, driving metabolism and promoting longevity.

Workout Tip: Try higher intensity workouts like HIIT training, hot yoga, heavy weights, hiking, cross-fit, aerobic training, and training with resistance bands.

During the follicular phase, I do not recommend fasting or a low-carb diet, as they can harm your hormones.

Ovulation Phase - Charismatic Influence

Around day 14 of your cycle, a sudden increase in luteinizing hormone (LH) causes your ovary to release an egg that then travels along your fallopian tube to your uterus. It’s during this time, and up to five days before ovulation, that pregnancy can occur. It is a very short phase, about 1 to 3 days depending on the woman. Estrogen peaks along with luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This is when we experience the peak amount of mood-boosting neurochemicals. During this phase, we have a charismatic influence, feeling our best and being most outwardly energetic. Take advantage of this to schedule public speaking or networking where you want to positively influence potential partners or clients.

During the short ovulation window, your energy levels will feel similar to those of the follicular phase. So, if you’re feeling up for it, this is a good time to push or challenge yourself. Some may experience side effects like spotting or discomfort in the abdomen during ovulation, so you might want to adjust your exercise routine if you’re not feeling 100%.

Workout Tip: Keep the intensity up with cardio and strength training. This phase can feel different for everyone, so listen to your body and adjust your intensity.

During the ovulation phase a 14/10 or 16/8 intermittent fasting is recommended.

Luteal Phase - Acuity

In the luteal phase, your estrogen falls as progesterone rises to a peak, increasing levels of progesterone to help prepare your body for a possible pregnancy. This is the brain phase, a neurological magical phase, providing cognition or cognitive benefits. As estrogen falls, our energy levels and metabolism start to slow. However, the key player in this phase is progesterone, and with the highest progesterone comes a peak—a boost in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neuronal growth factor, and GABA neurotransmitter activity. Our mental capacity is heightened in terms of sharpness and ability to learn. The brain is literally growing during this phase because neuroplasticity is heightened. So, this is a great time for studying, learning, and completing tests.

Progesterone inhibits glucose availability and uptake, meaning that during this phase, your body is less effective at providing energy or fuel for your muscles. In other words, workouts are going to feel harder than usual, and your endurance might suffer as a result. Additionally, your body temperature rises during the luteal phase, making exercise in hot or humid conditions more challenging.

Workout Tip: Try light, no-weight exercises, walking, swimming, pilates, and barre. Build in more rest days and enjoy high-protein snacks. Healthy sleep is very important during this phase.

During the luteal phase, I do not recommend fasting or a low-carb diet as they can harm your hormones.

Premenstrual Symptoms

Premenstrual symptoms that occur during the luteal phase or about 1 or 2 weeks prior to the period can vary in severity from one woman to the next. Some women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which is a mixture of symptoms that are both physical and emotional. Regarding PMS, it goes away after menopause and during pregnancy but returns after pregnancy.

PMS occurs more often in women with high levels of stress, a family history of depression, or a personal history of either postpartum depression or depression. Additionally, as a woman ages, hormones are more prone to fluctuations; therefore, PMS can become worse with age.

Physical symptoms can include swollen or tender breasts, constipation or diarrhea, bloating or a gassy feeling, cramping; headache or backache; lower tolerance for noise or light; clumsiness.

Emotional or mental symptoms include irritability or hostile behavior, feeling tired, sleep problems, appetite changes or food cravings, trouble with concentration or memory, tension or anxiety, depression, sadness, or crying spells, mood swings, less interest in sex.

Due to the estrogen and progesterone increases during the luteal phase, food cravings increase, especially for sweet foods like chocolate, and foods containing carbohydrates and fat. This is natural. However, make conscious choices of healthy food.

Furthermore, focusing on foods with certain nutrients helps with typical menstrual cycle symptoms before a period.

  • Calcium may help with fatigue, cravings, and depression. Green Spectrum by Purium consists of organic superfoods rich in Calcium, Iodine, Folate.

  • Magnesium may help with cramps. Ionic Element by Purium consists of ocean and plant-derived trace minerals, including Magnesium.

  • Make sure you are getting enough iron; it helps with the iron lost during menstruation. Women with inadequate iron intake can get anemia, which includes symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness, just to name a few. Food sources of iron include lean meat, seafood, poultry. I also suggest adding Spirulina by Purium. Spirulina is nature’s ultimate wholefood multi-vitamin. It is nutrient-dense, packed with Iron, vitamin C, B vitamins, Protein, and loaded with marine Omega fatty acids. Vitamin C and B are also important for blood cell production. Additionally, Vitamin C helps absorb plant sources of Iron. Organic Spirulina by Purium is energizing superfood capsules that are easy to digest and assimilate.

The Takeaway

The menstrual cycle is a unique hormonal journey that every menstruating adult undergoes every 24 to 38 days, marking the body's preparation for potential pregnancy. Commencing around age 12 and concluding with menopause in the late 40s or early 50s, this cycle, though consistent in its four phases, manifests differently for each individual. Symptoms and experiences vary, and the journey may evolve over the years due to life events or lifestyle changes.

While some degree of discomfort is typical during menstruation, adapting your routine to align with the menstrual cycle can help mitigate unwanted symptoms. It is important to recognize that severe menstrual pain could signal an underlying issue. Thankfully, many of these causes are manageable with natural approaches: proper nutrition, exercising, stress reduction, and rest.

Consulting with a healthcare professional will help identify the root cause of your discomfort and guide you toward an appropriate course of action. Feel free to Book a Consultation with me if you want to run a functional assessment with selected labs and receive a holistic wellness protocol customized according to your unique metabolic fingerprint.

🌹 Join Ultimate Wellness retreat at Faena Hotel, Miami Beach to learn science based strategies for Health Optimization and Longevity.

Sending Optimal Health & Ultimate Wellness,

Julia Smila, FDN Practitioner & Pranic healer

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