The follicular phase is our hormonal springtime, a time of high energy and extra creativity. We’ll discuss how to eat, exercise, and work during the follicular phase for increased energy and productivity.
Do you wish you had more energy to do all of the things you want to do? There’s a cycle phase for that!
During the follicular phase, our natural energy and creativity increase. We’ll talk about how to use it to your advantage with your diet, exercise routine, and work tasks.
We can plan to get a lot of energy-sapping tasks done during the follicular phase while we have the natural ability to do them. And that will give us time to rest when our energy isn’t as readily available.
The Follicular Phase
The follicular phase begins when our period ends. It feels like our hormonal springtime. We come out of our winter-like menstrual phase, and we have renewed energy and want to try new things.
Many women call the follicular phase their Venus week. Our hormones increase, and we gain energy and creativity while our appetite decreases. We can handle more stress from food, exercise, or life in general. We feel open to new experiences, and we may find we come up with better ideas than usual.
Sometimes I wish I could mimic my hormone levels in the follicular phase because I love the energy I have to take on the world. But I know it only lasts for about a week, so I need to use the energy while I have it.
When we follow the cycle syncing recommendations for the follicular phase, we can use our energy to get some hard stuff done now while it doesn’t feel so hard. We can exercise with more intensity to get stronger and more fit, and we can even use intermittent fasting without stressing our body as much as we would in other phases.
Exercise During the Follicular Phase
Our bodies react to stress better during the follicular phase, so it’s a great time to push. If you’re a lover of all things cardio, this is the perfect time to run, bike, dance, hike, etc. Because we’re also more open to new experiences, it’s a great time to try a new workout class.
Some women find they have the energy to do more than cardio during the follicular phase. Measure your heart rate variability (HRV) each morning to get a picture of your current stress levels and recovery. If your HRV is high during this phase, add some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts or boot camp style workouts. I have found I can work out hard 4-5 days in a row without a significant drop in HRV during the follicular phase.
Women often reduce their higher intensity workouts once they start cycle syncing. Typical advice is to do cardio only during the follicular phase. But we usually can, and should, do more.
If we only do high-intensity workouts during ovulation, like cycle syncing advice often tells us, we’re only workout out hard four days a month. We need to work out more to get fit, strong, and healthy. Listen to your body and exercise hard when you can. You’ll likely feel great doing more than cardio during the follicular phase.
What To Eat During the Follicular Phase
During the follicular phase, our bodies become more insulin sensitive. Insulin sensitivity is the opposite of insulin resistance, the cause of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
When we have more insulin sensitivity, we’re better able to use carbohydrates to create energy. I’ve noticed I can eat more carbs during the follicular phase and not get the rebound effect of shakiness and hunger an hour later. My body uses carbohydrates more efficiently, and my energy remains constant all day long.
If you want to try intermittent fasting (IF), start in the follicular phase. Most experts believe menstruating women should limit their IF window to 12 hours or less so we don’t set off a hormonal imbalance. However, I’ve found I feel great with up to an 18-hour window of fasting during the follicular phase. Because of our hormone levels, we don’t feel as hungry, and our bodies can efficiently use the food we eat during the eating window.
During the follicular phase, we should focus on fresh and fermented foods that help our bodies increase estrogen levels to get ready for ovulation. Some of the most helpful foods are below. For more options, download the cycle syncing cheat sheets for a list of more foods. You can also try seed cycling with pumpkin and flax seeds during the follicular phase.
How To Get More Done
During the menstrual phase, our brains are best able to do high-level thinking and plan what we need to do. During the follicular phase, we can use our extra creativity to develop ideas about how we’re going to do it.
If you can, save creative tasks for the follicular phase. It will be easier to come up with creative ideas, so try to time-block the activities below during this week.
- Write anything you want to catch people’s attention: A headline, a presentation, even an important email
- Any graphic-like tasks you may do on occasion
In addition to creative energy, we also tend to have more energy in general during the follicular phase. Even if we work out harder during this phase, we’ll still have energy to do more things.
Sometimes I use my energy to do a few more significant cleaning tasks like cleaning my car or organizing kitchen cabinets during the follicular phase. We can do more of these tasks during the follicular phase when we have the energy. Then we can spend more time relaxing when the energy starts to decline.
Download the cycle syncing cheat sheets to help plan your day with your current phase. When we use our increased energy correctly during the follicular phase, we’ll get the same amount done in a month, but everything feels more manageable. We can plan our projects around our natural energy.