Has this ever happened to you?: You’re on on a workout roll. Feeling super motivated and strong in your workouts then all the sudden it’s like a switch flipped in your body? Your motivation wanes and your body feels like sludge (or everything just seems way harder than you think it should be). The energy you have doesn’t match how hard you want to workout and you leave feeling defeated or like you didn’t do enough?
Can you relate? I’ve been there so many times wondering what the heck was wrong with ME that I couldn’t “keep up” with what I started or be able to perform at my desired fitness level all the time.
Turns out it wasn’t me that was the “problem”. Instead, it was my model of exercise and the expectation of my body that was failing me. You see, at the time, I didn’t know that women weren’t CREATED to be or feel the same every day, every week, every month. It’s not something we’re taught growing up and most of the models in place are masculine-driven and don’t serve the uniqueness of the feminine hormone/menstrual cycle. And this knowledge not only changed my life, but also my body and specifically my relationship to it. Our bodies is meant to cycle, to change – throughout the day, weeks, months and years and this is not only normal, but 100% predictable (contrary to what we’ve been led to believe).
Every month, you go through four very distinct phases within your menstrual cycle (and if you’re not bleeding because you’re on birth control, pregnant, breastfeeding, in perimenopause/menopause or for any other reason, you follow the moon’s phases).
The Four Phases Are:
- the follicular phase // season = mimics the energy of spring // moon phase = waxing cresent moon
- ovulation // season = summer // moon phase = the full moon
- -the luteal phase // season = fall // moon phase = waning cresent moon
- menstruation // season = winter // moon phase = the new moon
On a biological level, during each of these four phases or “seasons” of your cycle you will experience different energies, superpowers, insights, strengths and capabilities. And get this – these changing seasons call for naturally adjusting your workouts throughout the month based on the shifting needs of your body in order to FEEL YOUR BEST EVERY DAY.
Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning!
In your spring is a great time to try something new, do cardio work or combined cardio & strength.
Your summer is awesome for heavier training & HIIT.
Fall calls for a transitioning down into lower impact and less intensity – think barre classes, lighter weight & higher rep strength training and power yoga.
Winter calls for slowing down – rest, walking, gentle stretches and yin yoga.
So all this buzz about the effectiveness of interval training and “switching up your exercise”? Your amazing feminine body has known this all along.
I know what you’re thinking (because I was once this way too): “But I like to workout hard. And I don’t feel as good or like I’m using my time effectively if it’s not a challenging/sweaty/heart-
Cause here’s what I learned – yes, I enjoy physically pushing my body to its limits (still do). But there is a distinct difference between pushing while listening (and when I have the energy) versus just plain PUSHING/killing (or punishing my body). As women, most of us, we’re good at pushing – we do to all day, most days – it’s familiar; and in some twisted sense, *easier* even than slowing down to LISTEN and respond (#guilty). Autopilot and putting our head down is for sure easier than building your awareness muscle and learning to frequently check-in with your body and soul (then adjust your schedule based on what you discover).
When I *choose* to move more intentionally & meditatively or when I opt to push my body within the context of what will make me feel my best in that moment and those following, everything changes. I can walk away from a workout after choosing to slow down feeling successful + strong.
If I ignored my body’s cyclical energy, I would instead walk away feeling defeated because I decided to push through anyways; beating myself up for not “having it in me”. Right? It feels SO much different. The key is OWNING and respecting your beautiful body. And that’s where your power is. Standing IN your body, not letting outside “shoulds” and “it has to look like this” stories dictate your choices. All you need to go where you desire is inside you. Always was, always is.
Liked this post or know a lady friend who could benefit from this knowledge?
Please share with your friends and family!
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
PS: are you a gentleman here reading this post? Men and women hormonally cycle differently, yet similar. The cycle that women go through in a month, you do every day. Consider yourself like the sun – it rises & sets in the same place every day, going through the same hormonal phases. Women are like the moon – they show up in the a different place, have a different energy and are a different “size” every day over a month-long period.
You can visualize your hormonal cycle & energies looking something like this:
– From 4am – 10am = your “spring”
– From 10am – 4pm = your “summer”
– From 4pm – 10pm = your “fall”
– From 10pm – 4am = your “winter”
In other words, you can ALSO cycle your workouts for optimal results and key into your body’s needs – that are additionally impacted by what you eat, how much sleep you’re getting, your stress levels, and how balanced your hormones are.
Photo by Heather Brincko!