Cycle syncing is a powerful way for you, as a woman, to choose food, movement, and tasks that support where you are in your cycle. In this case, we’re talking about syncing your Pilates routine to your cycle, in other words: choosing the workouts that best suit your mood, energy, and body as they naturally fluctuate throughout the month.
Tuning into your body’s unique needs at each phase can make it easier to choose a workout that helps you meet your body where it’s at, which is a key factor in the way we move here at Lindywell.
Choosing your workouts based on your cycle can also eliminate the guilt associated with choosing a shorter or “easier” workout. It’s not about pushing yourself every single time you step on the mat, but listening to your body’s needs.
With that in mind, let’s dive into what you need to know about cycle syncing and Pilates—and how simple it is to get started.
For those of you who have shifted into menopause, please know that we see you! Stay tuned for some similar tips and strategies to work with your body coming soon!
My Cycle Syncing and Pilates Experience
Cycle syncing with your Pilates routine helps reduce burnout, fatigue and stress that might happen when you do more than your body is ready for. I pushed my mind and body to the brink for many years. But ever since my conversation with Berrion Berry on this subject, I’ve been more mindful of how my cycle impacts which workouts I choose and how I schedule my work.
Let me just say, this shift has been a game-changer for me so I had to share it with you! It’s important to remember, though, that this should not be a reason to pressure yourself into exercising “perfectly” or pushing yourself to exercise every single day.
Instead, I hope this serves as a guideline for you to tune into your body and choose what your body needs. For example, I took a day off from my workouts this week and chose a more gentle routine today knowing that other areas of my life were demanding more from me.
Like we always say here at Lindywell, it’s about progress over perfection.
The Four Phases of Your Cycle
Cycle syncing is a term coined by functional nutritionist and hormone balance expert Alisa Vitti. Adjusting your Pilates workouts (or diet or other lifestyle habits) with each phase of the menstrual cycle will help you align your routines and activities with your shifting hormonal needs.
Women’s cycles last 28-32 days, on average, and there are four distinct phases of this cycle: Menstruation, Follicular, Ovulation, and Luteal. While each body is unique, here is a basic rundown of how the reproductive hormones typically fluctuate from one phase to the next.
- Menstruation (Days 1-5): This phase occurs when your uterus sheds its lining (your period starts) and both the estrogen and progesterone levels dip. You know what this one feels like: fatigue, lower energy, and a greater sense of introspection and slowing down.
- Follicular (Days 6-14): This phase occurs right when your period ends but before your ovaries release an egg. It causes both estrogen and progesterone levels to rise. In other words, you’re feeling energized and confident.
- Ovulation (Day 15-17): This phase occurs when an egg is released from your ovaries. It causes the estrogen levels to peak, while progesterone continues to rise. This can cause a continued increase in energy levels, along with a higher sex drive.
- Luteal (Days 18-28): This phase occurs when the egg is fertilized for pregnancy, or hormone levels start to decline for menstruation to begin. During this phase, the longest of your cycle, you might feel a drop in energy and greater mood fluctuations.
Note that the days for each phase of your cycle mentioned here represent the average. Your phases may last longer or shorter, and likely change over time as well.
Syncing Pilates With Your Cycle
At Lindywell, we encourage members to move at their own pace and always offer modifications. This means, no matter what you choose, most of our workouts can support the cycle you’re in.
However, learning how to navigate our 250+ workouts based on what you’re feeling each day can help you dial in on exactly what you need each and every time you step on the mat.
Let’s break down what to look for at each phase of the cycle. I’ll also share some Lindywell workouts that would be great for each phase.
If you’re already a Lindywell member, just click the workout to open it in your app. If you’re not, sign up for a 14-day free trial and you’ll get immediate access to every workout in our library.
Pilates Workouts for the Menstruation Phase
It’s common for the body to crave gentle movement during this phase. Try some of our recovery workouts and stretching workouts that promote circulation and stretch your muscles without too much exertion. This is also a great time to slow down with breathwork, if movement doesn’t feel good or in addition to your workout. Check out our guided Breathwork Sessions.
Pilates Workouts for the Follicular Phase
For many women, this is the best time for a short cardiovascular workout. Right now you can take advantage of your increased energy levels without totally burning yourself out. While most Lindywell workouts will support this phase very well, this is a good time to explore our standing workouts and Barre workouts to give your body an extra challenge without overdoing it.
Pilates Workouts for the Ovulation Phase
If you want to incorporate more high-intensity exercises into your routine, this is typically a good time to do it! You’ll be able to capitalize on your body’s increase in hormones and energy levels. This is a good time to push yourself with harder and longer workouts, like those in our 35+ minute section. These will help you challenge your body during a time when you have the energy to complete a longer workout.
Pilates Workouts for the Luteal Phase
Now is a great opportunity to enjoy moderate exercises that use resistance to build strength without draining your lower energy levels. Make the most of this phase by heading to our Props section, where you’ll find lots of workouts that allow you to boost the resistance. If you need props for your Pilates workouts, head to the Lindywell Store to get your mat, hand weights or even resistance bands!
Support Your Pilates Routine With Cycle Syncing
Cycle syncing makes it easier to align with your body instead of pushing against or even ignoring the changes happening within. This feel better during your workout and support your body’s specific needs, so you can maintain your energy and support your mood. All while still building mind-body strength! A win-win, right?!
PS: As Dr. Aviva Romm shared on The Balanced Life podcast (Part 1 and Part 2), our cycles are an important signal of our health as women. If you’re noticing changes in your cycle or are concerned about irregularity or lack of menstruation, make it a goal to reach out to your doctor to share your concerns. Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of our conversation.