We Are Moody believe knowledge is power when it comes to every woman’s individual health, so we’ve teamed up with them to bring you a series of insights on how and why listening to our bodies and hormones will help you to harness your energy better, stay motivated and feel great. Our new Frame Mood Filter is a great tool to optimise your workout routine according to what you need, once you know what your body really wants. Our Mood filter along with Moody’s expertise, are here to guide you and your body to choose what’s best for you during specific times in the month.
Do you feel pressured to be performing and exercising at a consistent rate throughout the month, and then when you don’t, beat yourself up about it? Our hormone cycles fluctuate, bringing about peaks and troughs in our moods and energy levels, so we can’t expect ourselves to be hitting Train class 3 times a week, every week, when our bodies are designed to slow down and restore, for part of the month. Now that we’ve learned all about our hormones (and in case you missed it, catch up, here), let’s look at the phase that is often less familiar to women, our follicular phase.
THE FOLLICULAR PHASE AND OVULATION
The follicular phase is typically around two weeks long, finishing at the start of our next luteal phase (your PMS phase we will get to). We are on a journey to ovulation from the time we finish menstruation on around day 7 – the follicles in our ovaries are being matured by an increase in estrogen in anticipation of a possible pregnancy. Ovulation happens halfway through this phase (days 12 – 14), when the egg is released from the ovaries and makes its way down to the uterus where it would either be fertilized, or degenerated along with the rest of the uterus lining during menstruation.
Hormone hero and energy: estrogen peaks during your follicular phase and with that comes a rise in energy levels and perhaps a perkier mood. Many women find the week after their periods to be their most productive – this is likely due to the rise in estrogen.
Mood and symptoms:
Do be aware that if you have estrogen sensitivities, you could also experience some anxiety or restlessness. Estrogen effects also may be further heightened in many women due to the amount of hormone disruptors, known as xenoestrogens, in our environment. These disruptors can be found in hormonal contraceptives, industrialised meat produce, plastic packaging, microplastic contaminated fish, chemical cleaning products and even beauty products – they all have the potential to interfere with our hormone levels by mimicking the effects of our endogenous estrogen. There are ways to combat this by learning how to work with your body and lifestyle in a way that supports healthy functions.
Top tips on how you can better plan for this phase:
Increased energy means you may find it easier to be motivated to do your high-intensity workouts and feel more productive at work. We also have a tendency to be more creative around this time and be open to trying new things, so why not use this as an opportunity to try a new workout class with us? Box Fit is an aerobic workout to banging music using boxing basics and punching combos. Frame cardio uses treadmills and plyometric exercises to get your heart racing and sweat dripping – both of these are great if you’re feeling pumped! Be careful not to overdo it though as too much gym can hurt your hormones. Cortisol levels are ideally peaking in the morning and then winding down in the evenings but if we’re under any form of stress, from shock or relationship issues to work deadlines, a high- intensity workout could exacerbate the stress by keeping cortisol levels high – stick with some gentle yoga if that’s the case. And if you’re dealing with anxiety or restlessness, bring it back to basics with some Basic, Yin, or Vinyasa Yoga – syncing breath with movement can really help to ease an overactive mind. Some women also experience an increase in libido during this phase as estrogen and testosterone peaks can increase sexual desire – embrace this.
Remember, our symptoms arise because we are being signalled to pay attention to something. Use extra energy and stamina you may feel during this phase to get in those workouts you expect yourself to be able to do all month long. When you know you’ve got a different exercise plan on the other side of this phase, you’re likely to really give it all you’ve got during these two weeks. And don’t worry if this isn’t your most energetic time either, try syncing your exercise according to your moods for at least a few months to give your body a chance to adjust. There’s always a transition period with every change, so be kind to yourself.