How to Use Your Menstrual Cycle as a Superpower, Part 2

by JANE DANIEL, IG @ncjane77 FB @janedanielinhc

Welcome to “Part 2 of How To Use Your Menstrual Cycle As Your Superpower”! Last month, we talked about the hormonal symphony of key sex hormones: estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. This month, we’re going to take a deeper dive on ways that take advantage of these hormones through diet and exercise as they wax and wane throughout the month! Ladies that don’t have a cycle, please read on. You can do this, too!

Just a quick reminder your menstrual cycle is the length of time between the first day of bleeding to the day before your next bleed. Most cycles are anywhere from 26-33 days. You can track your cycle by using an app like Clue.

Week 1, The Bleed Week

This week, your body is literally shedding an organ, the endometrium lining. All hormones are low. This is a great week to give a longer fast a try. You typically aren’t as hungry. Following a lower carb, higher protein and fat diet is doable this week. 

Walking more the first couple of days of your period can be soothing and help with aches and cramps. As the week progresses and estrogen rises, you can incorporate resistance training at 8-12 repetitions.

After your bleeding ends, you will have a few “dry days”…where you don’t have any cervical mucus (we’re getting into the nitty gritty here).
Week 2, Testosterone Rises

Testosterone and estrogen are rising; you can lower the fat and increase the carbs keeping protein high. This is the week where you are moving into ovulation. Fast for no more than 12-14 hours so it doesn’t impact ovulation.

Take advantage of the increase in testosterone and hit some new PRs…aka LIFT HEAVY. The goal is to lift 5-8 reps as heavy as you can. It is not an ideal time to perform HIIT exercise because as estrogen rises, ligaments become lax causing a greater propensity for injury doing those box jumps.

At the beginning of this week, cervical mucus gets creamy, opaque and tacky. Towards the end of the week, as ovulation approaches, cervical mucus is very wet, sticky and fluid, similar to raw egg whites. As this increases, ovulation is right around the corner. 

Week 3, Ovulation and Progesterone

Ovulation occurs and either a sperm implants the egg or your period is a couple of weeks away. Due to estrogen taking the back seat to progesterone, this is a great time to go back to your bleed week’s diet: increasing healthy fats, keeping protein high, and lowering carbohydrates. Incorporate resistant starches like cold rice, cold potatoes, and green bananas to your diet this week (you can cool and reheat to get the same benefit).The carbohydrates in these resistant starches aren’t absorbed as much because they turn into delicious food for our good gut bacteria. You will notice adding these in your diet will help with hunger and cravings!

It is ok to increase the fast some this week, you could try a 16-18 hour fast if you choose. Moderate lifting in the 8-12 range is ideal this week. 

Cervical mucus is back to being creamy and tacky.

Week 4, Where’s the Chocolate?

You are at the week before your period and are experiencing more hunger and cravings. Don’t fight it! Consume 10-20% more calories (depending on activity level)  and eat higher protein and carbs. Make sure to eat some protein at each meal; this will help with satiety. Continue to consume your resistant starches to quell hunger. Don’t try to push a fast this week; go for a 10-12 hour fast at the most.

This week, increase the reps in the 15-20 range at 4 sets. 

You will have a few “dry” days (no cervical mucus) in the days leading up to your period.


I didn’t mention cardio these four weeks, I recommend doing steady-state cardio where your heart rate is in Zone 2. If you don’t have a monitor, a friend on the phone could tell that you are working out but you are still able to have a conversation. Short-duration HIIT is also ok in all weeks except week 2.

Don’t Have a Menstrual Cycle? No Problem!

If you don’t have a menstrual cycle, that’s ok! Let the lunar cycle be your guide! Follow the nutrition and exercise recommendations above with the moon!

Week 1 New Moon

Week 2 Waxing Moon

Week 3 Full Moon

Week 4 Waning Moon

Now you can see how you can optimize health by working with your menstrual cycle. The next time “Aunt Flo” comes to town, don’t curse her…thank her for your beautiful superpower!

A little about me:

Who am I?

Hi! My name is Jane Daniel. I am a proud mom to three healthy boys, a lover of the great outdoors, a forever student, health nut, exercise enthusiast and native of the Triad. I am also a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

What do I do?

I am a holistic health coach with multiple certifications in all things related to health, nutrition and exercise. In 2015, I received my first certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I haven’t stopped taking classes since then and hope I never will! The areas I’m most passionate about are my trainings in Ayurveda, Polyvagal Theory, Female Hormone Optimization and Weight Loss, and most recently the Journey of Intrinsic Health. All of these have one thing in common; the body has the ability to heal itself if we allow it to do so.

I’m super excited to have the opportunity to share all things health for the lovers of Forsyth Woman magazine!


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