Are Cycle Syncing and Travel a Thing?

Cycle syncing is emerging as a trending talking point on TikTok these days, garnering an impressive 90.6+ million views. We take a look at this phenomenon and ponder the merits of cycle syncing alongside your travels.

The term cycle syncing was first coined by Alisa Vitti, an integrative nutritionist and women’s hormonal health expert, in her 2014 book Woman Code

For those not familiar, cycle syncing involves adjusting various aspects of your lifestyle (including travel) to align with different phases of the menstrual cycle. The practice revolves around syncing diet, exercise and other habits with your cycle to alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Although scientific research on cycle syncing is far and few between, studies show that indeed there is an impact of hormone fluctuations on energy levels, mood, appetite and sleep patterns. 

Your Hormones & You

There’s nothing worse when traveling than feeling annoyingly run down and irritable. On the contrary, there’s no better feeling on said vacation than having an abundance of energy and endless confidence.

As an avid traveler, I have encountered both experiences. A trip to Costa Rica had me feeling like a million bucks. I swam in the ocean, confidently conversed with strangers and felt strong AF in my yoga practice.

Another trip to Switzerland had me stressed to the max. I was exhausted, achy and couldn’t keep up with all the gondola rides and hikes up snowy mountain tops. In fact, I almost pushed my boyfriend off a steep slope.

Thinking back on this, as someone who really struggles with my menstrual cycle, I am now aware enough to realize that I was in two different phases of my menstrual cycle on these trips.

In Costa Rica, I was probably in my ovulatory phase, where energy is high and conversations free flowing thanks to good ol’ estrogen. In Switzerland, I was probably in the dreaded luteal phase, where fatigue hits like a freight train and PMS strikes for those who are oh-so-lucky.

This got me thinking about syncing my cycle with my travels so that every vacation is like my Costa Rica getaway.

What Is Cycle Syncing?

Thanks to cycle syncing, I have been doing this for most of my recent vacations. It makes the airport less of a stress-inducing cluster (insert F bomb here), where you’re more patient to deal with waking up at the butt crack of dawn, flight mishaps or screaming babies. It also makes your trips a lot more enjoyable — giving you the energy to roll with the punches of travel.

Cycle syncing is a groundbreaking approach for people with periods to balance their lifestyle with their menstrual cycle. And this concept isn’t just a ridiculous wellness trend. It’s a transformative practice, enabling us to optimize our physical and emotional well-being.

This is especially pertinent for the avid traveler because cycle syncing allows us to plan and experience our journeys confidently and comfortably, ensuring each trip aligns with our body’s natural rhythm.

At its core, cycle syncing is about aligning daily activities, diet, exercise and even social interactions with the different phases of the menstrual cycle. Hormonal fluctuations throughout the cycle profoundly influence energy levels, mood and overall health.

By tuning into these changes, we can tailor our routines to harness the strengths of each phase, enhancing productivity, emotional well-being and physical health.

How Cycle Syncing Works

The menstrual cycle, typically lasting about 28 days, is divided into four distinct phases, each characterized by unique hormonal profiles and physiological changes. Understanding these phases can help us optimize our overall lifestyle to align with our body’s natural rhythm rather than against it.

  1. Menstrual Phase (Days 1-5): This phase begins with menstruation and is characterized by lower energy levels. Rest and gentle activities such as yoga, meditation or short walks are best at this time. This is also a period (pun intended) for introspection and self-care, where focus should be on nourishing foods rich in iron and vitamins to replenish lost nutrients.
  2. Follicular Phase (Days 6-14): Following menstruation, estrogen rises, leading to increased energy. This phase is ideal for new beginnings, creativity and vigorous exercises including cardio or strength training. Nutritionally, opt for protein-rich foods and complex carbohydrates, which can provide the necessary energy to get s**t done!
  3. Ovulatory Phase (Days 15-17): This short phase is constitutes high energy levels and peak fertility. Communication skills are often at their best, making it ideal for important meetings, socializing and networking. High-impact workouts and challenging physical activities are on the table now. Diet-wise, maintaining a balance of macronutrients is key, with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables for antioxidants.
  4. Luteal Phase (Days 18-28): As the body prepares for the possibility of pregnancy, energy levels may start to wane. This phase is a good time for completing projects and turning inward. Emotionally, some women may experience PMS, making it important to engage in stress-reducing activities such as light exercise, reading or creative hobbies (not climbing mountains in Switzerland). Prioritizing foods high in B vitamins and magnesium can help alleviate mood swings and cravings.

Cycle Syncing & Travel

For the wellness-conscious traveler, cycle syncing can transform the travel experience. Prior to deciding to cycle sync your travels, it’s important to look at why you want to cycle sync in the first place. Here’s everything you need to know about cycle syncing and travel!

  • Planning Your Trip. Align your travel plans with your cycle phases. Schedule adventurous, activity-filled trips during your follicular or ovulatory phase when your energy is at its peak. Shoot for relaxing, low-key destinations during your menstrual or luteal phase.
  • Packing Smart. Your cycle can inform what you pack. Bring comfort items for your menstrual phase, like a favorite book or a cozy scarf. Pack active wear for the high-energy follicular and ovulatory phases.
  • Eating & Exercising While Traveling. Choose foods and exercises that align with your cycle phase. Light, nourishing meals are great during your menstrual phase, while you might crave more energetic workouts and nutrient-dense foods in your follicular and ovulatory phases.
  • Managing Energy Levels. Be mindful of your body’s signals. If you’re in a low-energy phase, it’s okay to take it easy and not jam-pack your itinerary.
  • Cultural Synchronicity. Engage in local activities that resonate with your current cycle phase. Participate in local festivals or energetic excursions during your ovulatory phase and seek out tranquil, scenic spots during your menstrual phase.

Cycle Syncing on the Go

Cycle syncing offers a profound way for us menstruating people to enhance our life experiences, particularly while traveling. By understanding and embracing the ebbs and flows of our biological rhythm, we can unlock a deeper level of wellness and enjoyment in our journeys.

This practice is not just about health; it’s about living in harmony with our intrinsic nature, making every adventure, whether at home or abroad, a fulfilling and enriching experience.

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