This post is in partnership with Hancock Regional Hospital as part of their empowering women and children site. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own. Be sure to check out their site for additional resources and support.
If you caught this post, you know that I became obsessed with cycle syncing (syncing your menstrual cycle to your lifestyle) after having a bit of a struggle going off the pill. Today I'm so excited to bring you the second part of last week's post (which was all about what the four phases of your menstrual cycle are, the impact they have on your energy levels, and how to plan your social/work life based on them!). In today's post I'm breaking down what foods to eat and how to exercise so you feel your best during each phase of your cycle!
Honestly, as I read deeper and deeper in to the four phases, it all made so much sense! (TBH, 2018's has been dubbed the year in which “everything makes so much sense” in our home). Anyway, if you're like me, this is going to blow your mind. Have you ever wondered why you LOVE avocados one week – like seriously, eat them every. single. day. sometimes multiple times a day? So you buy a whole bunch and then just don't touch them for weeks? Yeah… that's because when you learn more about the different phases you'll actually understand how your body craves different foods in the each phase!! Can I just say how happy my bank account is that I am no longer throwing out tons of foods I binge purchased in one phase, and then was repulsed by in the next?!
Same goes for working out. I could never commit to a specialty gym because some weeks I loveeeddd HIIT workouts, and then others all I wanted to do was restorative yoga and I felt like no one gym could handle my preferences and there must be something wrong with me that I cant commit to a dang workout – but nope! It's because (you guessed it!) our bodies crave different workouts during difference phases!! IT ALL MAKES SO MUCH SENSE!
How To Eat & Work Out During Each Phase Of Your Menstrual Cycle
What foods should you eat during the menstrual phase?
For fruits think purple, blue and pink! Lots of black berries, blue berries, purple grapes, cranberries, and watermelon! For veggies opt for beets, kale, kelp, shiitake and button mushrooms, and water chestnuts. Buckwheat and wild rice are great grain options now too; and for legumes eat black soybeans and kidney beans. If you're looking to add some nuts and seeds to your diet opt for chestnuts, pumpkin seeds, and flax. If you're a meat eater now's the time to load up on pork tacos or duck, and loadsss of seafood options like catfish, sardines, squid, scallops, clams, crab, lobsters, mussels, and oysters. And after all of that you're probably thinking an Asain salad might be in your future and you'd be right! Recommended sauces and flavors are miso and liquid aminos (tastes like soy sauce) and sea salt.
What are the best workouts for the menstrual phase?
Check in with yourself during this phase to see how you're feeling. Some women feel like the excess hormones allow them to tolerate pain and recover more quickly from high intensity workouts. But generally, it's recommended that the first few days of your period you opt for a steady cardio workout or pilates that you were doing in your luteal phase. Then the last few days of your period you take off from working out or opt for gentle yoga, lighter cardio, walking, swimming, or anything low-impact.
What foods should you eat during the follicular phase?
If you caught this post where I break down these phases even more and compare the follicular phase to spring, it should come as no surprise that what you should eat during this phase will feel much lighter and “spring” like. For fruits, think avocado, lemon, lime, orange, plums, and pomegranates! For veggies load up on a variety of lettuces, including bibb and romaine. Add some zucchini, broccoli, string beans, green peas, parsley, carrots, and artichoke for good measure!
For grains and legumes opt for oats, barley, green lentils, lima beans, black-eyed peas, split peas, and mung beans. If you want to add some nuts and seeds to your diet brazil nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, flax, and lychee are great options. For meats chicken and eggs are your friend right now. Fewer seafood options during this phase: trout, clams, and soft-shell crab. For add ons and sauces opt for nut butters, vinegars, and sauerkraut. Oh, and don't be surprised if you're super into olives and pickles during this phase too!
What are the best workouts for the follicular phase?
Anything strenuous will probably feel amazing! So load up on HIIT workouts, strength training, cycling, and anything strengthening, powerful, and high intensity is likely what your body is craving!
What foods should you eat during the ovulation phase?
During ovulation pick up some fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and apricots. You may also want coconut, cantaloupe, fig, and guava. For veggies grab some spinach or chard, tomato, scallions, eggplant, asparagus, bell peppers, and brussel sprouts. If you want to get a little more fancy you could pick up okra, endive, chives, or dandelion too. For grains and legumes opt for quinoa, red lentils, and amaranth. If you're looking to add seeds and nuts to your diet have almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans, sesame seeds, or pistachios on hand. For spices load up on turmeric. Lastly, if you eat meat or seafood consider lamb, salmon, tuna, or shrimp!
What are the best workouts for the ovulation phase?
Your energy levels are at the highest so feel free to continue full tilt with frequent high intensity workouts!
What foods should you eat during the luteal phase?
If you saw this post, you might remember I suggested thinking of the luteal phase like autumn, so it should come as no surprise that one of the top fruit options for this phase is the apple! Other great fruit options include pears, dates, raisins, and peaches. For veggies pick up some sweet potatoes, cauliflower, gords, onion, celery, and cucumber. You may also want to have cabbage or collard greens on hand. To spice things up opt for garlic and ginger. Or for some other add-ins consider mint or spirulina. For grains and legumes: brown rice, chickpeas, navy beans, and millet. If you eat meat and seafood now's the time for some beef or turkey burgers, or cod, halibut, or flounder. If you like snacking on seeds and nuts your sunflower and sesame seeds will still carry over, and consider adding in walnuts and pine nuts.
What are the best workouts for the luteal phase?
Each day you move through this phase your energy levels dip a little more. So it's suggested to opt for steady-state cardio workouts like running or flat road cycling. Other great work out options are lighter resistance training like barre and pilates. Lastly, you can't go wrong with a brisk walk or some time on the elliptical!