April 24, 2024

Our community’s number one question answered: Laura chats cycle syncing!

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of helping host an incredible wellness event between Kic and TOM Organic.

It was at the most blissful space, Inner Studio, and was a combination of all things wellness and movement! I’m obviously such a big advocate for listening to your body and empowering our community to do this, so as a TOM ambassador, it was a no brainer to help bring this event to life!

We started the morning in the studio, where we all had a discussion about the amazing work that TOM does to help empower women how the brand is so aligned with Kic and our goals. We started our session with a meditation by Kic’s dreamy meditation coach, Meg – who honestly has the world’s most dreamiest voice. Then Christina took us through a flow, prompting ways in which we can be gentle to our bodies throughout our cycle. Afterwards we had a delicious smoothie from Yawye. And relaxed in the hot bath, challenged and energised our bodies and minds with a cold plunge and relaxed in the sauna.

A big discussion on the day was the topic of ‘cycle syncing’. We know so many of you in our Kic community ask about this too, and whether it’s something we’ll ever bring into the Kic app.

Firstly, what is ‘cycle syncing’ you ask!

Cycle syncing is the idea that you change up your exercise routine based upon the different phases of your menstrual cycle. Kic’s resident physio and women’s health educator, Ash Ormond, explains that each of our different phases bring upon a shift in energy and can potentially make different types of exercises feel a certain way.

What ‘phases’ are there in our cycle?

Ash explains that we have four phases to our menstrual cycle: follicular, ovulation, luteal and menstruation.

  1. Your follicular phase runs from the first day of your period until ovulation, which is roughly the first 2 weeks if we think about an “average” 28-day cycle. You may notice a lot more energy during this time because of the increase in oestrogen levels! Think HIIT, bootcamp and strength training. 
  2. The second half of your follicular phase rolls into your ovulation phase and energy is at its peak! This is thanks to high oestrogen levels, as well as increased levels in luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone. So, you may be feeling strong and energised during this phase. You might lift heavy, challenge yourself and run further, go you! 
  3. Your luteal phase is the last phase of your cycle before menstruation. This phase typically lasts 14 days (again, based on an average 28 day cycle). You may still have some energy left over from ovulation at the start of your luteal phase, but this will decline as you get closer to your period arriving. You can absolutely continue your usual routine during this phase if you feel up to it, but you may find everything a bit harder than usual.
  4. Once your period arrives, you may be feeling pretty bluuurrrrgh and unmotivated, thanks to low levels of oestrogen (this is your menstruation phase FYI!). BUT, if you do feel up to it, moving your body whilst on your period can have a lot of benefits, both physically and mentally.

Remember, this is based upon a ‘typical’ 28 day cycle so not everyone will have the exact same experience. It’s also important to keep in mind that hormonal contraceptives such as the oral contraceptive pill, IUD and implanon work by suppressing ovulation, so you won’t have the same hormonal fluctuations that you would on a natural cycle.

So, should I start syncing my workouts with my cycle?

It’s incredible to see the rise in awareness and education around the complexities of the female body. Growing up I had no idea about the four phases of the menstrual cycle, I thought I either had my period or I didn’t. Understanding your hormone shift and knowing what exercises are beneficial for each phase is really empowering. But the downside of cycle syncing, in my opinion, is that instead of tuning into how we’re ‘actually’ feeling, we’re choosing a movement based on how we ‘should’ be feeling. Your menstrual cycle is just one factor in how you feel, I believe we need to take into account stress, sleep and other impacting factors when considering what type of exercise we do that day.

Well, what should my wellness routine look like?

Find what works for you and redefine what you think your routine ‘should’ look like. There is no ‘one’ way you should be moving every week, if you notice your energy levels peak and dip throughout your cycle then definitely adapt your movements to how you feel, and if this doesn’t quite align with where you ‘should’ be in your cycle – then that’s okay! I’ve shifted my mindset on what a consistent routine means. Consistency for me is moving my body 3-5 times a week, but how I workout could look completely different each week. I might plan for a Pilates class tomorrow morning, but wake up craving a run, or vice versa. I believe we should be proud of any form of movement, whether it’s for 5 minutes or 30, and if you’re not feeling up to it that day, that’s fine, there’s always tomorrow.

How do you find energy to move on the days you’re feeling meh?

Whenever I’m feeling lethargic, my go-to is a 5-minute Kic Pilates class. My motivation doesn’t always show up at the beginning, so a short workout seems much more achievable than a 30-minute session. Getting started is the hardest part, but nine times out of 10 once I start moving and that endorphin rush kicks in, I’ll find the energy to stack on another 5-10 minute workout.But sometimes, if I’m not feeling up to it – a simple walk is more than enough! It’s really just about listening to your body.

If you’re feeling like your energy levels are high, then put them to good use. Depending on what exercise style make you tick, HIIT, bootcamp and running are great options, or you could channel your energy into an at-home or gym strength session.

So, will Kic ever introduce cycle-syncing?

At Kic, we’re all about moving to suit your mood. So if we were to ever bring in a cycle syncing program we would always preface that our recommendations are a ‘guide’ and not a rule book. We encourage our community to tune inwards first and choose a workout based on how they’re actually feeling. The beauty of Kic is that no matter what phase you’re in, or how much energy you have, you’ll find a workout to suit you.