You breeze into the office (before COVID obvs), where the theme tune to Cheers rings out (“Where everybody knows your naaaaaame….”) and random people just want to high five you. You only have to look in a certain direction, and shit gets done. You can guess what a client needs before the email has landed and you’re connecting people with your eyes closed. YOU are hot property right now.
2 days later, you’re clawing at your computer screen like that eery looking woman out of the film The Ring, desperate for client communication that you’ve got it right and they still like you. Everything feels like hard work/failure. You feel like a potato at a ketogenic party…
What the effing ‘ell happened?!?!
You just swiped from follicular to luteal phase my darling. Allow me to explain…
To keep it simple, as our menstrual cycles have many unique and magical layers to them, your period is made up of two sides:
- Follicular (which is from menstruation to ovulation) – rising up to your glory, getting stronger, building muscle, making your dreams a reality – Wonder Bloomin Woman at your service!
- Luteal (from ovulation to menstruation) – breaking down, reflecting, creating space, asserting boundaries, saying no (oh fuck…)
Estrogen is the buzz word in your follicular phase and gives you the gumption to mingle, declare who you are and speak to even the most hard-working of people. This is also where your exercise is about creating a certain amount of tension/stress to build muscle (which actually happens in the luteal phase of your cycle when you rest. REST. I know, right) due to your bodies ability to repair quicker.
- How do you feel rising out of your bleed?
- Can you feel your energy rising this side of your cycle?
- Do you find it easy to manage your lifestyle without burnout?
- Do you feel inspired?
Progesterone is another sex hormone that kicks into action after ovulation (the halfway point of your cycle/conception) and is called the sedating hormone. As your body prepares for a possible pregnancy, you can feel that pull to slow down and things can feel a little more trying/hard work.
- How sensitive are you this side of your cycle?
- How easy is it for you to say no?
- Are you able to give time to reflect and understand what worked for you this month and what needs to go?
When we work with our natural powers of our cycle, we see that working towards a goal (not 10 or 5, JUST 1 GOAL. Anything else is burnout) and making it happen falls on in the follicular phase. Work with your natural powers of building, strength, resilience and communication. If we try and do too many things, we can create a feeling of overwhelm and failure in the follicular phase that sees us pushing harder and draining that already delicate tank. On the flip side, if we don’t complete on all this energy, we can experience high levels of anxiety due to all that energy running around with nowhere to go.
The natural powers of the luteal phase are all about introspection and reflection. This is where you look at your goal and your journey towards it:
- Was it successful?
- What didn’t work?
- Are you able to put yourself first?
- Can you listen to your intuition?
Pushing too hard here can lead to you feeling drained during your bleed. 5-7 days before your bleed, which I call the de-load week (in every sense of the word), as this is where you need to really kick back and let all that mental, emotional and physical strength you have built in your follicular phase be digested and understood. You then come back bigger and more capable in your next cycle.
It really only takes a few tweaks, defined by the lifestyle outcome you want to achieve. Your body knows how to cycle with your period. You were just taught it wasn’t important. But now we know better and can make positive changes towards living our greatest and most productive life!
Join me on my next Prøject Wøman online experience: Transforming Your Relationship With Exercise, as I empower a group of great women into building mental, emotional and physical muscle!
About your author
Abi gets moving with your menstrual cycle, empowering every choice you make when it comes to your unique health and wellbeing needs. Giving you mental, emotional and physical freedom and most importantly, putting the fun into the way you exercise.