What if I told you that you didn’t have to dread your period each month? What if there was a way to work with your body’s cycle so you could have more energy, be more productive, and avoid PMS? My guest today is here to explain cycle syncing and teach us the four phases of our cycle and how to work with your body in each phase.
Megan Remple is a mom of four, a Registered Nurse, and shows us how to tap into the energies of your monthly cycle through food, movement, and habits.
This conversation is the perfect episode not only for the moms but for our daughters as well. Let’s dig in!
Scroll down to read the full episode transcribed.
What You Will Learn:
- What is cycle synching and how does it incorporate our body’s natural up and down hormonal changes to give us more energy?
- What are the 4 phases of a woman’s cycle and how long does each last?
- The effects it has on us when we try to live in our ovulatory phase all month long.
- What you should eat and how you should exercise in each cycle.
- How to take care of yourself during each phase and listen to your body and the effects this has on the rest of your life and relationships.
- How to determine where you are in your cycle and get started tracking it.
- How does cycle synching change when you get into peri-menopause and menopause?
Where To Find Megan Rempel:
Megan Rempel is a Registered Nurse with a certificate in Women’s Hormonal Health, a health coach, and a cycle syncing expert. Her mission is to help other women discover that life can actually be easier IF they tap into the magic that we’ve had inside us all along – our monthly cycle. Her own journey from overwhelmed and exhausted mom of 4 to gaining back control of her life through simple and effective habits and rhythms like cycle syncing is what fuels her passion to help women get out of survival mode and find ease and joy in their lives. She does this through her Instagram content, her paid program Syncing with the Flow, and inside her health coaching community.
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And here is the episode typed out!
Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. If some days you doubt yourself and you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you felt like you’re failing. Well, I just want to let you know you are not alone and you have come to the right place.
Raising tweens and teens in today’s world is not easy. And I’m on a mission to equip you to love well, and to raise emotionally healthy, happy tweens and teens that thrive.
I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our family and to impact future generations. If you are looking for answers, encouragement, and to become more of the mom and the woman that you want to be welcome. I am Sheryl Gould. And I am so glad that you’re here.
SHERYL: Megan, welcome to the show. I’m so excited to have you on.
MEGAN: Thank you, Sheryl, for having me. I’m really excited to have this conversation.
SHERYL: This is so interesting. The topic we’re going to be talking about is cycle syncing. When your people reached out to me about interviewing you, I didn’t even hesitate. I was like, this is fascinating. I’ve never heard about this before. I’m having her on.
I can’t wait for you to talk about this. I think so many women have not heard about this if they’re like me. I would love for you to start by just telling us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in being a cycle synching guru? How did you get involved in this? Tell us a little bit about your backstory.
MEGAN: Everyone always has a story as to why they do the work that they do. I’m definitely no different with that. I am a mom of four. I’m a wife. I’m also a registered nurse. I’ve been an online health and wellness coach for about seven years now.
I was a lot like most women, I was doing all the things I was constantly going, and I wore busy like it was a badge of honor. And I felt exhausted and irritable and burned out. I actually thought that I must be doing something right. Because isn’t that how we’re supposed to feel when we’re a mom? Doesn’t that mean, we’re good moms if we’re burnt out and overwhelmed, and we’re constantly snapping at the kids? I just assumed this is what it’s supposed to be. This is normal, I must be on the right track. Because that’s what everybody else was doing.
When I got together with other mom friends, conversations revolved around who was the most sleep-deprived, who was the most burnt out, and who was doing the most. It was like this competition, it seemed. I was the winner because I was the busiest. I made it that way. I prided myself on it.
I was doing all of the self-care things. I was actually taking good care of myself in the process. I knew enough that I should be exercising most days and eating healthy. I had a meditation practice and a journaling practice. But it was all coming from the place of “check the box.” Like, “Oh, I did it, I meditated for 10 minutes – check, I got in my workout – check.” Then I would carry on with my day. So even though I was doing these self-care practices, they weren’t actually benefiting me in that great of a way.
I didn’t feel calmer, I didn’t feel more aligned. I really didn’t feel any different if I did them, or if I didn’t do them, because it was coming from this place of, “I just gotta get this done.” Because that’s what we do as healthy women and healthy moms. I got to this point where I don’t want to say it was necessarily rock bottom, but maybe it was. I got to this point where I knew that the way I was operating wasn’t sustainable. I knew at some point, I was going to crash and burn because I was trying to work this side business as well and get that off the ground and kids stuff and work stuff – everything.
I would go to bed at the end of the day, and my head would hit the pillow and I would mentally go through everything I did today. Like “Okay, I did that, I did that, awesome, awesome, awesome. Look at me go.” And then it was like a gut punch. I realized I didn’t even connect with my children today. All I did was yell at them. I wasn’t present with them. I don’t even know what’s going on in their life. just felt so disconnected from everything.
And most importantly, what I realized is that I was just so disconnected from myself. I was not really feeling anything. I wasn’t present in anything I was doing. I wasn’t listening to my body at all. And that led me down a path of, “something has to change.”
I don’t really know what but the pace that I’m going is not okay. I was at the point where I was beating myself up a lot as well because I was feeling really good and high one moment and then the next day, super low questioning everything and really down on myself. Long story short, I discovered a book called “Do Less” by Kate Northrup. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of that.
Oh, yes. Yeah, it’s such a great book.
As soon as I saw the cover of the book, I was like, “Oh, this is the answer. My answers are in there, I’m going to change my life.” And it really did start to change my life. I was attracted to it because it said “do less” and who doesn’t want to be doing less. I knew I wanted to be doing less. In that book, she talks a little bit about using your cycle as a roadmap to living a more calm, productive, energetic life. Where you can actually be doing less, but having more.
That was my first glimpse into this world called cycle syncing. I became obsessed. I was like, “Are you kidding me? This thing that most women dread and sweep under the rug? And don’t even really pay that much attention to? That’s my answer to getting out of this hamster wheel that I seem to be on?” And it was it absolutely was, and it just changed everything about my life.
SHERYL: Wow. You said so much there. How we’re like on the hamster wheel. We wear our busy and exhausted selves as a badge of honor. Like, “if I’m exhausted, if I’m really busy, I must be doing a great job as a mom. I’m working out.”
It’s all this long list like you said to-dos. But we’re not listening to ourselves. And we become so disconnected. That really resonates with me. And with this whole cycle synching, how do we pay attention to what we really need and what our body is trying to tell us? It just makes so much sense to me. So explain to the moms what is cycle syncing?
MEGAN: Essentially, cycle syncing is aligning your nutrition, your movement, your social calendar, parenting, your self-care, and all the things in your life, aligning them to the different phases of your cycle. And then this way, you never feel like you’re doing something that you’re not meant to be doing. When you start doing this, it’s incredible how much easier your life can feel, and how much more time you actually have.
You’ll start to take advantage of those high-energy phases that we have. And then you can sort of nurture yourself and slow down during the lower energy phases of your cycle.
SHERYL: It makes so much sense to me. I’m always a skeptic at heart. I want you to tell me about the four phases, and you really found it to feel true. As you were going through it, and you start doing these things, it felt it must have felt like, “Wow, this really makes sense. And I’m seeing the benefits.”
MEGAN: I love that you said you’re kind of a skeptic because I feel the same way too. I didn’t even know that we went through four phases. As a woman, I thought there was just the time of the month that we bleed, and then there’s a time of the month when we can get pregnant. And otherwise, I was like, “what else is there to know?”
SHERYL: What does that look like – the four phases? I guess I’m asking, “what’s normal?” We can really have bad PMS, so I’m sure that’s one of the cycles. What are the four? And what do you notice about what’s happening in our bodies?
MEGAN: So we have four phases as I mentioned. The really cool thing about the four phases is that they are very much the same as the four seasons of Mother Nature. So spring, summer, fall, and winter. I think this makes it so easy to understand.
Because you’re probably already starting to think, “Oh, I think I know what winter is. And I think I might know what summer is.” This is just the easiest way for us to understand it and to really embody it.
So our spring phase is referred to as the follicular phase, and you can just refer to it as spring. I sometimes call it my innerspring. But the follicular phase happens right when your period is over you are in your spring or your follicular phase.
This phase lasts anywhere from about seven to 10 days. It’s just like spring: you feel like you’re coming out of hibernation, your energy levels are starting to climb, and you’re starting to feel a little bit more like your “normal self.”
But first of all, there are four versions of us. There is no normal self, we are a different version in each of the four phases. But when you’re in that spring phase, you’re starting to feel good and energetic and you feel almost like that little spring bunny out running in the yard and the flowers. It just feels new and exciting, you have like improved mood, and your brain functioning is really good. You just feel more assertive, you’re more willing to take some risks.
And then you head into your summer phase, which is the ovulatory phase. This is the phase where you could get pregnant, this is your most fertile phase. And this is when you feel like a rock star. You feel energetic, you feel attractive, you feel confident like you are ready to do all the things all day long, we have so much energy in this space. We almost feel like things come into our life very easily in this phase.
You can probably think back to a time when everything was just working out. For me, everything seemed easy, things were coming into my life easily and effortlessly. You were likely in your ovulatory phase because that’s how it feels like you just feel like you’re on top of the world.
And you can do so much. You can put in a 12-hour work day, you can go to a party that night and wake up at 5 am the next day and bust out a HIIT workout, you’re on track with your nutrition, everything just feels really easy.
The important thing to realize about this space, though, is that it is not very long, it only lasts about three to five days. Yet most women are trying to live in that phase all month long. And our energy levels, our hormones do not support it. So no wonder so many of us are exhausted and irritable and so hard on ourselves. It’s because we’re not meant to go at that pace all month long.
SHERYL: Yeah, we feel like we’re supposed to be operating like that. And we feel it one day. And then, “what’s wrong with me? I better get out.” I feel sometimes like I’ve got like this whip, and I’m just trying to crack it. Especially as an entrepreneur, I’m trying to get myself back in that phase. Why isn’t what worked yesterday, working today? It just makes so much sense. And then we beat ourselves up, like what’s wrong with me?
MEGAN: I was so hard on myself before I discovered cycle synching and cycle synching was just this big permission slip that I needed in order to slow down, first of all, but in order to be kind to myself. Because there were some weeks when working out was easy. I loved it. I was pushing, pushing, pushing. And eating healthy seemed so easy. I didn’t feel like I needed to eat sweets or overeat. I felt lean and strong and excited about my business and then that all would disappear.
And I would say, “you didn’t last week, Megan, you can do it this week.” And instead of listening, or even honoring where I was at, in my cycle, I was like, “nope, put your big girl pants on. Let’s do this. I don’t care how hard it feels or how tired or uncomfortable it is – just do it.”
That is so detrimental to us as women. And also for us as moms with people watching us – with our little ones watching us. Do we really want them to think that we can’t ever slow down and that we need to be at this pace, and we have to be miserable and things have to be hard? We don’t want them to see that. We want them to see ease and flow and highs and lows and all the beautiful things that come with our cycle.
SHERYL: You know what I love about this? I was struck by the audience mostly has tweens and teens, and they’re getting their period. It’s middle school girls. I think about how we can either project that onto our girls where maybe they’re really tired and they need to rest one day, but they’re not doing what they need to be doing and how can we even adapt to understanding that. Where they’re at in their cycle, it makes just so much sense to be more mindful and more connected to ourselves and help our daughters to do that. So those are summer or spring, what about fall? In fall the leaves are coming down.
MEGAN: Exactly, exactly. So then we head into fall, or what is referred to as our luteal phase. And this is the longest phase of our cycle. It’s about 10 to 14 days long. And it takes us right up until our bleed starts again. So this is sort of like the PMS phase that most women refer to as the luteal phase is often an unwanted phase. Most people feel very uncomfortable in the luteal phase, which is really sad when you think about it.
Once a month, we suffer once a month, and kind of hate our life. And once a month, we feel miserable. Do we really believe that we were created as women to suffer and for things to be hard? Or were we given this gift? Instead of the short end of the stick so many of us have believed for so many years. But we were given this gift and we just haven’t been using it the way that it was designed to be used. And that’s the way I see it. We were not a design flaw. We were given this incredible thing. And we just have never known what to do with it.
SHERYL: Oh, gosh, that’s so beautiful to think of it that way. Rather than it’s just the PMS where we’re wrecks and we have no patience for our kids. And we’re depressed. And what’s wrong with us? I can’t help but think why was it designed that way? It’s the longest phase, and I’m sure there’s a lot we can do in that part where it’s purposeful.
MEGAN: It is. And some women don’t believe me when I say this. But once you do begin to live in alignment with your cycle, the luteal phase just might become your favorite phase. And it 100% is for me, I love the luteal phase. I love the foods that we should be eating to optimize our health in the luteal phase. I love the movement of working out. I just love the way I feel when I’m in the luteal phase.
I think we should start this by first saying that PMS is not normal. PMS has been normalized, and it’s very common. But it is not normal. We should not be experiencing uncomfortable cramping, really sore breasts, spotting, out-of-control cravings, or really terrible mood swings, those things are symptoms of not being in alignment with your cycle, it means that you are pushing, pushing, pushing where you shouldn’t be. That you’re not eating the proper foods throughout your cycle that you’re maybe you are doing too hard of workouts in certain phases.
It means that you’re going too fast and in certain phases, you’re not in alignment. And those are symptoms that are popping up. But we have just assumed I’m a woman, it’s normal, nothing I can do about it. And in fact, there’s so much that you can do about it. Some simple tweaks in your life can make such a huge difference.
I just really want women to realize that PMS is not normal. And we should still feel really good in the luteal phase. Even though our energy levels are low, even though we might feel a bit more tired and we can still be productive. We’re just going to be doing different things than we would be in the high-energy phases. But you can still feel really good despite being in the luteal phase.
SHERYL: Wow. So what do you like the most about being in the space?
MEGAN: Well, for me personally, being an introvert, I love going within. So when we’re in our spring and summer phase, so the follicular and ambulatory phase so right after your bleed stops, this is sort of when we’re in our masculine energy, and most of us feel comfortable when we’re in our masculine energy because that’s the doing energy, the being productive, doing all the things – the go, go, go that feels normal to us.
That’s our default, we love to just be busy. Lots of to-do lists, check the boxes. And then when you get into the luteal phase and the menstrual phase, so this the fall and winter, that is when our feminine energy comes out, and our hormones start to shift a bit. this is uncomfortable for women, because all of a sudden, we’re feeling things, things feel more raw and real.
Our energy levels are lower, our hormone levels are lower, and we’re sort of forced to slow down, we usually don’t we push through, which leads to PMS and feelings of not good enough and exhaustion and burnout and overwhelm. But when we do slow down, and we honor where we’re at in our cycle, it can feel heavy, it could feel like a lot. But there’s so much beauty in that.
Because for me, when I’m in my ovulate story phase, I almost feel like a bit of a squirrel. Because we have so many ideas coming to us. It’s like, everything is so amazing. Everything’s going so well. I want to do this and I want to do that. But then when we get to the luteal phase, I can almost feel like I can take a bit of a backseat in my life and just be like, “Okay, and this is such a good time to sort of reflecting and evaluate and just slow down.” I find I can focus a lot more, I’m really productive in the luteal phase because I can focus just on specific tasks. I’m not as outwardly.
So in my business, I’m not necessarily doing the videos and the content creation and having calls, but I’m more so doing back-end stuff. And around the home, it’s like a nesting phase. So at home, I’m organizing and, I’m having like some good conversations with my kids. I’m slowing down and I’m reading books, and I’m learning things and doing some good cooking.
You’re slowing down and your brain has a chance to sort of evaluate what’s happening in your life. It’s interesting because a lot can kind of come up in the luteal phase. And the reason why it can be uncomfortable in the luteal phase is that estrogen when it’s high in our spring and summer phase, makes us feel really good. Estrogen has this masking effect on us and makes us feel confident and attractive and excited.
Then in the luteal phase, estrogen is gone, it’s so low, that all of a sudden, we’re left with the truth and our reality. And often things will come up like issues with our spouse or issues with our kids and feeling that disconnect. Or, maybe you’ll start to question something in your business or your boss is really bothering you.
Then we get into those high-energy phases again, and all of a sudden, we’re like, “Oh, it’s fine. It doesn’t really bother me – no big deal. It’s all good.” And then we get back to the luteal phase and it’s like, “oh, my gosh, I am like so ticked off right now.” Honor that. That’s a truth that’s coming up. But what most women typically do in that phase is say, “don’t mind me, I’m crazy. I’m hormonal. I’m PMS-ing. Whatever I say, take it with a grain of salt. Because I’m crazy right now.”
You’re not, you’re actually feeling very truthful and honest. And even though it might have a slightly sharp edge to it, it’s actually your true feelings that you’re experiencing. So take note of that. Don’t necessarily take action, because sometimes taking action in that luteal phase can maybe be the wrong type of action, because we might, do something that we’re like, “Oh, I really shouldn’t have done that, or shouldn’t have said that.”
But take notes so that you can revisit it. I always like to revisit things when I’m in my menstrual phase. So when I’m in winter, this is a great time, and I just talked about this on Instagram this morning. But when we’re in our menstrual phase, our left and right hemisphere of our brain are communicating better than they ever communicate throughout the rest of the month. So our analytical brain and our feeling brain, are on par.
That is the best time for you to review things, analyze things, and ask yourself those tough questions like what’s working well, and what’s not working well. And if you’re living in alignment with all of the four phases, when you get to your menstrual phase, you’re going to have more space, you’re going to have more time. Take that time to sit and reflect and journal and just get clarity. And then your period ends and you go into spring again. And you’re like, all right, I’m ready. I’m reborn. Let’s do this. And the cycle just keeps repeating itself. And it’s magical.
SHERYL: Wow, I wonder if babies are conceived mostly during that spring and summer?
MEGAN: For sure that’s, that’s when we’re most fertile. And because we’re attractive, our bodies want us to conceive every month, whether you want to or whether your partner can or not, your body is like, “I want to have a baby this month.” And that’s why we do feel so good and confident and we’re sexual, and we feel connected to our partner in our own ovulatory phase. And then we want to kill him when we’re in our luteal phase.
SHERYL: Boy, it all makes sense, like how we judge ourselves so harshly when we’re in the fall and the winter phase. I just think that this makes so much sense. It just sounds like in the fall and the winter, it’s more being present, doing nourishing things. Not that the other isn’t nourishing in the summer in the spring, But it looks different. I think if we can understand that about ourselves, we’ll have so much more self-compassion. Have you found that with yourself as you’ve discovered this, that you have grown? You said you’re kinder to yourself?
MEGAN: Yeah, I would. So many things have changed for the better because of my implementing cycle syncing. Even just the PMs thing. I thought PMS is normal. And while I wasn’t suffering from crazy PMS, I always had the worst spotting, which would be so annoying every single month to have this spotting of like, “is it coming? Is it not coming?”
That was so annoying to me and the cramping and the cravings were out of control. Cravings like I would self-sabotage. Every time before my period, I would be on track eating well, taking care of my body, and then it just all fell apart. And then we’ll start again. But that self-compassion, that permission slip that I talked about, to just be okay with exactly where I’m at and feeling exactly what I’m feeling. I didn’t realize how powerful that would be.
Because when we’re hard on ourselves, when we have that negative self-talk of, “you suck, you’re a failure. You can never stick to anything, you always screw things up. You’re not meant to be doing this.” When we start to talk to ourselves that way, then that’s how I started showing up for my family. That’s how I started to show up for my kids. And then all of a sudden, I was this irritable mom, who was yelling, and she was just cranky. It didn’t feel good at all.
Now I love that my kids see me. My oldest is 12. So she’s getting to that point where she’s going to start experiencing her monthly cycle. I love that my kids now see me slowing down every month. They don’t see me being this burnt-out, overwhelmed, exhausted mom that they’re probably thinking, “Gee, that looks fun.” Not they see like, ”Wow, mom takes care of herself and mom slows down and, and mom is energetic at some points. But then other times, she’s just reading a book on the couch. And that’s okay.”
SHERYL: I have two daughters, and I can’t wait to share this with them. I think it’ll be so helpful to them as well to understand yourself and what you need. I think it’s such a gift that we don’t grow up being taught as a rule of paying attention to what we need. And this is just one more layer of, “it makes sense that this is what I need. And that my body is actually designed purposefully this way. I need each of these seasons to be going on in my body.”
So tell us what foods should we be eating during each phase?
MEGAN: There’s definitely so much like could share here. So I’ll just try to keep it as simple as possible. But again, it goes back to the seasons of Mother Nature. So when we’re in our follicular and ovulation synching phase, which is our spring and summer, think about eating seasonally. So spring and summer, it’s all about like those fresh fruits and veggies, those vibrant foods, our body actually does best with cooling foods when we’re in that phase because our body is typically hotter in temperature, internal temperature.
So we can counterbalance that with cooling foods. So things like smoothies and stir-fry. When you’re in the follicular phase: salads, those lighter types of foods because we actually aren’t as hungry. Usually, when we’re in the spring and summer phase, our metabolism has slowed down a little bit. Yet we’re naturally energetic, so we’re not relying on those heavy carbohydrates for an energy source.
So we can lighten up on our carbohydrates. I’m never saying don’t eat carbohydrates. I’m a huge fan of carbs every day, every meal, but that’s when we can have more of those fruits and lentils and quinoa and beans. Instead of choosing the heavier carbohydrates, our bodies just going to feel better having those lighter foods.
And this is usually when women feel like I’m a rock star like I’ve got this eating healthy feels easy. My cravings aren’t there. I feel very full and satisfied with my chicken quinoa salad. And then as we head into the luteal phase, this is where our nutrition really does need to change. I always tell women to focus on roasted root vegetables. When you’re in the luteal phase. If you can take away anything from this podcast episode, just start eating more roasted root vegetables when you’re in that week to two weeks before your period.
Because for one, roasted root vegetables, like when they’re roasted, they get this sweet flavor to them. So that will help curb that sweet tooth that we typically get the week or so before our period. Plus those types of vegetables help our body detox any excess estrogen that might be lingering. Because when you have excess estrogen in your body in the luteal phase that can present as PMS. So being able to get rid of that excess estrogen which is seriously just as simple as changing up your nutrition and just adding in certain foods in the four phases is enough to get rid of your PMS. It’s mind-blowing.
SHERYL: I’m gonna get off and call one of my daughters that has really bad PMS, and she’s really into vegetables and eating healthy, but not root vegetables.
MEGAN: The other great thing about introducing roasted root vegetables into your diet in the luteal phase is they’re more calorie-dense. And when we’re in that luteal phase, our body needs about 300 more calories, which if you’re trying to eat the same way, all month long, my guess is it’s not working for you. You might be telling yourself that it’s working for you. But if you get to the luteal phase, and you’re eating the same foods that you were eating a week or two ago, then ask yourself “Why am I starving? Last week I felt so good. And this week, I am so starving. But damn it, I’m gonna stick to this.” And then you end up binging in the pantry after your family is gone to bed right. And the feelings of self-sabotage creep in, which leads down a terrible spiral, and then all of a sudden you start your period and you’re like, “oh my gosh, of course, this is why, I hate being a woman.”
SHERYL: “I’m so bloated.”
MEGAN: It just all leads to craziness. To honor the fact that you need more calories in the luteal phase and it is okay. If you’re feeling hungry, eat, do not try to think that you’re a failure just because what worked last week isn’t working this week.
Then when we’re in our menstrual phase, think about what’s happening. Our body is shedding a lining. It is going through this intense process. Our hormone levels are low, our energy levels are low. So if we’re trying to just like have smoothies and little grilled chicken salads, that is not nourishment for our body. We need warming foods because our body is in that cooling phase so counteracts that with warming foods, soups, stir-fries, chili, all those really hearty warming foods that we typically have when we’re in winter.
This makes sense because this is our inner winter menstrual phase. So really just like load up on all those yummy comforting foods and just hunker down for winter, and you’re going to feel nourished and relaxed and taken care of.
SHERYL: Gosh, I love that. I’m imagining that the exercise is different. I’m thinking when you’re in your fall, and you’re starving, and you’re trying to eat good, and then you binge, and then “I’m going to hit the gym, or that exercise class, and I’m going to work out the next day” and try and kill yourself and punish yourself and make up for it.
MEGAN: That’s not what we’re supposed to do. We’re a different version of ourselves in every single phase. So of course, our movement should be changing too. You cannot expect to do the same type of workout all month long when our hormones do not support it, or energy levels do not support it. I think this is so cool. And when I discovered this aspect of cycles, it was the first thing that I implemented, because that’s where I found I was doing the most self-sabotage was with my workouts, because I thought that I should be able to do that type of workout every week.
And when I couldn’t, I would tell myself, I was a failure. If I quit halfway through, or if I just didn’t even want to do it. I used to leave the workout and go fix my kids a bowl of cereal or fix their hair, and then come back, like, “there’s still 15 minutes left, when is this going to end.” And when you’re in your follicular phase, which is your spring phase, this is when your body is just primed for doing fun, exciting types of workouts.
So anything that’s going to get your heart rate up, maybe things that are just outside of the norm for you. So go for a hike, go for a run, go swimming, try a Zumba class, do barre, anything that’s fun and exciting. This is a great time to do a fitness class or workout with a friend. Get out there with your kids. And then in your ovulatory phase, this is when you want to just go hard at the cardio if you want, of course.
I know women love to just do the HIIT workouts, they feel like they’re going to get the best results. That’s fine. But just do it in your ovulatory phase, you do not want to be doing hit all month long, it’s going to mess with your hormones, it’s going to lead to muscle wasting fat storage, and self-sabotage. I could just go on and on. When you’re in the ovulatory phase though doing Hiit is going to be so awesome. You’re gonna feel like a complete rock star, it’s going to feel really good. Our body is designed to burn calories when we’re in the follicular and ovulatory phases. So take advantage of it.
And then we get into our luteal phase and things start to shift. We’re heading into fall, energy levels are starting to decline, and hormones are declining. And this is when we can pick up those heavy weights and we can do resistance training. It’s going to feel good. We’re slowing down. We’re not doing anything high impact. But we can develop some nice long lean muscles in the luteal phase.
However, about halfway through the luteal phase, because it’s so long, that’s when you want to transition to dropping the weights and doing things like Pilates, yoga bar, anything that’s low impact, and more of like stretching, flexibility, those types of workouts.
Then when you’re in your menstrual phase, honestly, don’t work out if you don’t want to. I usually never work out on day one, even day two of my bleed, but then I feel like I want to start doing something because it feels good. So that’s when I’ll do gentle yoga. Like yin yoga is perfect for the menstrual phase, any type – not power yoga or anything but just any type of gentle yoga or flexibility training foam rolling, or just go for a walk or use that time to do a meditation or to journal and reflect. But really, you don’t want to be doing anything in the menstrual phase other than walking and some gentle yoga.
SHERYL: Listening to our bodies. Giving it what it needs. Makes sense.
MEGAN: Why would we try to do an intense workout when our hormones and our energy levels are at their lowest and we’re bleeding?
SHERYL: I know. It’s crazy. It makes so much sense not to be jumping around.
MEGAN: That’s a sure way to create a mega hormone imbalance right there.
SHERYL: Makes so much sense, I think about how I felt when I’ve done that, you just walk out and go home and go to bed, and take a huge nap for like two hours.
MEGAN: So not only is it affecting you at that moment, but it’s actually affecting your next cycle. So you know, you might not realize it, but then the next month, if all of a sudden your PMS is really bad, or you’re in your ovulatory phase where you should be feeling really good, but instead you’re feeling miserable. What were you doing the last cycle? What foods were you eating the last cycle? How are you treating your body? What did you push too much?
And sometimes you can’t help it. Sometimes things happen in your life. Like, for instance, being a shift worker, I have to work night shifts when I’m on my period. It’s not ideal, but I don’t think my manager cares that I’m on my period. They’re making me come in, there’s no like a free pass for being in your menstrual phase. So there are times when you’re going to do things that are out of alignment, that’s normal.
But there are also a lot of things that you can change and reschedule. And when you’re strategic about how you’re planning out your month, then you’re not getting yourself caught in those situations of hosting a dinner party for 12 people. I’m at the end of my luteal phase, what was I thinking?
SHERYL: That’s so true. We have very busy lives, and you have to sometimes push through it. But knowing the next day, “okay, I need to give myself permission to rest.” And letting yourself do that.
I want the moms to be able to reach out to you and know where to find you. But I have to ask because this is where I am right now: What about when you’re going into menopause? Just this change? Of course, it changes. But would you say I’m still and spring, summer, fall, winter, and I just don’t know it anymore?
MEGAN: There’s a difference between perimenopause and menopause. So if you’re in full-blown menopause like you have not had a bleed in a year, you are just full-on in menopause. That’s different than the person who is now becoming irregular. You might be in like your 40s, like late 40s. And things just are not as regular, but you’re still experiencing a bleed here. And you’re not in full-blown menopause.
So you’re still going through those four phases, they aren’t as regular as they were before. So you can still align yourself to these four phases, you have to be a little bit kinder to yourself. You have to pay attention a little bit more, and really get more in tune, instead of just being like, oh, this is the phase that I should be in.”
Because if your cycles are 40 days long, you might not be where you think you are. So by paying attention and evaluating yourself and how you feel, you’ll be able to get a bit of a ballpark. But just know that your follicular phase might be a lot longer than it used to be. And your luteal phase might be longer or shorter, depending on the length of your cycle. So you absolutely still can live in alignment with these four phases. You just are going to have to give yourself some wiggle room there.
When you do go through menopause, I don’t know this from experience, because I’m not there yet. But from the research that I’ve done, it is like the best thing that you can do in order to have sort of more of this graceful exit into menopause.
And that has been a big thing for me. I don’t want to be suffering because everyone says it’s hell. It’s so bad. “Just you wait till menopause.” I’m determined to go through that as gracefully as possible.
When you are in full-blown menopause, you aren’t going through the four phases anymore. You’re just status quo. There’s just there’s no ups and downs anymore. But I believe as women, it is so beneficial to have those periods of highs and lows and rest and productivity, so that you can still live in alignment with your cycle. It’s just you’re going to use the phases of the moon instead.
And you’re nodding your head. So I assume you know, but I’m always so nervous to bring that up because people are like, “Wait, what the moon?” But we’re very much in tune with the lunar phases. And you can align yourself to the four phases of the moon. And they are very much like the four phases that we go through as a cyclical young woman.
SHERYL: I know it’s kind of like woo-woo. But to me, it does make sense that the gravity of the earth and all of that, does have a much more powerful impact on us than we think it does. So, I just love paying attention to the body and what it needs and being more connected to myself. I know that other women that are listening to this are going to be so encouraged. You got to get the word out, we don’t care about this enough, and being so much kinder to ourselves, and giving our body what it really needs, and not driving and pushing ourselves so hard.
MEGAN: Yeah, I think we owe it to ourselves, but we also owe it to our children. If we can embody this, if we can practice this, they will practice it. And even if you’ve got girls that are in their 20s, your children are older, they can learn this now, right alongside you. I think it’s so important that I just think if we had learned this when we were younger, just think of how much easier life would have been and just how much kinder we would have been to ourselves, which changes everything.
And that is really a big piece of why I wanted to learn this and also teach it is because it’s so important for me that my children, and I have two girls, two boys, and I want my boys to understand this as well. I think it’s so important for them to be aware of it too. But we owe it to them. So that they can understand it. And they can embody it as well.
SHERYL: And connect with themselves and what they need and not have it just be enduring. It’s purposeful. So tell us about the course you have. I love your Instagram. And just watching your videos. It’s so helpful. And so where can they find you?
MEGAN: Yeah, so honestly, on Instagram, that’s the best place to find me. I just share very authentically and vulnerable on there, usually about where I’m at in my cycle, so that I can just give tips and tricks. I think you can learn a lot from people’s Instagram, that’s for sure.
But if you click the link in my bio, I actually have a freebie in there. And it will show you how to get started with cycle syncing. So just a few very simple things that you can implement today. Cycle syncing doesn’t have to be this big thing that you’re like, “Okay, I’ll finally look into it.”
It’s a way that will take so much off your plate so that you have more capacity in your life. And it can be so simple. And it can actually be so fun. Just to learn about it and start to implement it. It’s been like the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. So the link in my bio is definitely a place to head to I run monthly groups and I have a program that you can go through like a DIY program. So everything you need, I’ve got it in my bio.
SHERYL: Thank you, Megan, thank you so much for the work that you’re doing. I’ll put all the links in the notes so the moms can easily find you.
MEGAN: Yeah, well thank you, Sheryl, for having me. It was it’s an honor to be here.
SHERYL: Thanks for being here.