Does any of this sound familiar? 🙋♀️
You decide that you’re finally gonna become the boss lady of your dreams.
Which requires you to overhaul your entire schedule and routine, of course.
So you set your alarm for 5 am, roll out of bed and straight into your at-home gym to do a HIIT workout, follow it up by listening to a motivational podcast, start your work day by 8 am, eat keto and try intermittent fasting – and you keep doing it day after day.
And maybe at first you even see some promising results, but by the end of the month you’re feeling burnt out, sleep deprived, stressed, and more physically out of whack then when you first started.
I’ve been there, and it’s frustrating beyond belief.
Well, don’t worry, because today’s conversation with Alisa Vitti, functional nutritionist, women’s hormone health expert, and author of WomanCode and In the Flo, is all about Cycle Syncing ® and how we as women can support our cycles to best optimize our work lives, productivity, fitness, and social lives (without stressing ourselves out).
And if you haven’t heard last week’s episode with Alisa on the SHE podcast, definitely give it a listen, because it lays the foundation for understanding and balancing your hormones, and is the first part in this two-part series. (Trust me, it’s got some gold and is so worth a listen!)
If you’re tired of living symptom to symptom and following trends that promise results, but leave you disappointed, then today’s episode is just what the doctor ordered!
Women’s Infradian Rhythm vs. Men’s Circadian Rhythm
Remember boss lady you who was an early bird, crushing those morning workouts, and was a productivity queen?
Also remember how you weren’t able to maintain any of it and felt utterly defeated?
But then your husband, brother, or male co-worker tries the same things and is living his best life and thriving like no other?
Well, turns out, this is because the hormone production patterns of men follow a 24-hour circadian clock, whereas women follow an infradian clock over the course of their monthly cycle.
But your infradian clock does way more than just determine when you’re bleeding and ovulating.
In fact, it governs 6 key systems of your body: your brain, your metabolism, your immune response, your stress response, your microbiome, and your reproductive system.
Talk about being key to your health!
This means that all of those 6 systems change over the course of your monthly cycle.
And all of those things that you’ve thought were so disconnected – your stress levels, your weight gain, your acne, your PMS – are all connected through your infradian rhythm.
Out of all the studies done in medical fitness and nutrition research, only 4% include women.
FOUR. STINKIN. PERCENT.
That means all of the trends you’ve seen marketed as being “ideal” for your health and wellness – keto diets, intermittent fasting, HIIT workouts every day – give optimal results for those who are circadian dominant (i.e. not you, sister).
The way we operate is totally distinct from men and should be factored into our wellness, nutrition, workout, and lifestyle plans so that we can actually thrive, feel better in our bodies, and actually reduce symptoms.
Using Cycle Syncing ® to Support Your Infradian Rhythm
Now, you may be feeling utterly betrayed by the world, hopeless, and not even sure what to believe. (Trust me, I understand, I found out last week that a cucumber is technically a fruit and my entire life is a lie.)
But before you give up entirely and just eat an entire pint of ice cream in despair (Because who knows? Maybe it’s just unhealthy for men, not women?🤷♀️), Alisa actually outlines in her latest book, In the Flo, a methodology for how to live a life in sync with your cycle and supportive of your infradian rhythm.
Alisa breaks it down into 3 pillars: your food, your fitness, and your time management.
Your metabolism, unlike men, is not the same every day, but changes based on which phase of your cycle you’re in: the follicular phase, the ovulation phase, the luteal phase, and the menstrual phase.
During the first half of your cycle, or the follicular and ovulation phases, your metabolism is slightly lower relative to the second half of your cycle. This means that you can eat fewer calories and not disrupt your blood sugar, and it is actually optimizing for your metabolism to restrict calories a little more in this half of your cycle.
However, once the luteal phase hits, your metabolism speeds up and you need to consume 279 more calories per day in order to optimize your infradian rhythm, or your body will actually store more fat, you will experience more PMS, feel more moody and depressed, and binge eat more.
Mind. Blown. 🤯
It’s also important to adjust your workout intensity to match your infradian rhythm.
During the first half of the month, your resting cortisol patterns are lower, so it’s better to do high intensity workouts and cardio.
Once you cross over into the luteal phase, do more strength training and avoid HIIT and cardio, since this will actually cause you to store, rather than lose, fat.
When you workout in a way that honors your biological needs and isn’t disrupting your hormones, weight management comes much more easily (without killing yourself at the gym or restricting yourself nutritionally).
CYCLE SYNCING ® AT WORK
To optimize your productivity, it’s vital that you structure what you’re working on around what’s happening in your body.
For example, in the ovulatory phase, estrogen surges to its peak concentration level and verbal and social skills come much more easily and are more enjoyable. However, in the luteal phase you are producing progesterone, causing your brain to become calm and hyper-focused.
So optimize your work schedule by front-loading your month with as many activities as possible that engage verbal and social skills, such as networking events, interviews, team brainstorming meetings, and focus on more individualized tasks that you need to grind out, like project completion and administrative tasks, later in the month.
Not only will you be way more productive, but you’ll also be less stressed in the process, so it’s a win-win!
And while this may feel overwhelming and impossible to put into practice, remember that you will get so much farther, so much faster, when you are working with your cycle, rather than trying to constantly push against it and force yourself to perform.
For me, this means giving myself permission to not wake up at 5 am. I can sleep if that’s what I need.
This means giving my body what it actually needs, rather than following along with whatever gives an appearance of health to other people.
This means my workout some days is going on a walk, not running a marathon.
This means forming boundaries with people in my life and allowing my needs to take up space.
Adjusting your life to match your infradian rhythm isn’t needy, “extra”, or some fairytale life.
It simplifies your health and gives you a clear direction so you can feel at your best. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Learn More About Cycle Syncing ®
And if you’re ready to learn more and take action to support your health, you can go to cyclesyncingmembership.com, and use the code SHE, to receive 1 free month of Flo28 where you’ll have access to workout videos, meal plans, and time management tools that are designed to match your cycle.
You can also go to myflotracker.com and download the app to help you sync up with your cycle, or check out Alisa’s book, In the Flo, to learn more and access charts for what foods, workouts, and work are optimal for each phase of your cycle.
And if you want to hear even more, tune in to today’s episode to learn:
- Why more women suffer with hormonal problems than men
- How to use Cycle Syncing ® to support your infradian rhythm
- Ways to optimize your metabolism throughout the month
- What workouts you should be doing to see the most progress
- The key to being more productive and less stressed
- How to practice Cycle Syncing ® within a work team
To learn more from Alisa and access more of her resources, check out floliving.com.
And once you listen, we’d love to hear from you in the comments! What is your biggest takeaway from today’s episode?