The Best Time Of Day To Exercise For Hormone Balance

Photo: Stocksy

Does your exercise preference seem to change with the moon? One day you're racing down the running path, the next you're snoring through child's pose? While a variety of factors go into why our bodies want to exercise in some ways more than others, including how much we're sleeping and what types of foods we're eating, one huge factor in this puzzle is hormones. And if we don't honor our hormone levels, our bodies will protest, leaving us with massively spiked cortisol levels or without the energy to work out at all.

We went to Alisa Vitti, our resident hormone and period expert, author of WomanCode and founder of The FLO Living Hormone Center for answers.

During the follicular phase: Go for a run.

The follicular phase starts on the day your period ends, and it's the time when the follicles in the ovary mature, preparing for ovulation. "Do cardio midday or in the afternoon during follicular phase," says Alisa. "Estrogen is low and cortisol levels are good."

If you can pop out of the office to get some cardio in midday, great! If not, hitting the treadmill after hours will be just as beneficial and keep your hormones in balance.

When you're ovulating: Exercise early.

Take advantage of all that energy you have during the ovulation phase and set your alarm for an hour earlier than usual. "Morning workouts are easiest during ovulation, as you have access to testosterone. You're ovulating, you're full of energy, so early morning workouts are the way to go," Alisa explains, noting that this is also the case during the first half of the luteal phase.

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During the luteal phase: Head to the Pilates studio.

As Alisa noted above, go for early morning workouts during the first half of the luteal phase. But once you've settled into it you may start to feel more bloated (think PMS symptoms), so Alisa suggests doing Pilates or strength training in the early evening of the luteal phase.

She also recommends practicing yin yoga (a restorative yoga style) before bed at any point in your cycle. This may be particularly beneficial toward the end of your luteal phase if you're feeling crampy, bloated, or a bit emotional.

When you're menstruating: Go for a walk.

When you're on your period, walk it out. You've probably heard that mild exercise is one of the best ways to relieve cramps, but even if you're not experiencing discomfort, menstruating is a time to go easy on yourself. Walk home from work or take an evening stroll with your partner—your body will thank you and your hormone levels will be just right.

If you want to start scheduling your workouts according to your cycle, be sure to download the MyFLO app.

Want more Alisa wisdom? Find out what she has to say about breakouts, bikini waxes, and orgasms.

Alisa Vitti

Alisa Vitti, HHC, AADP, is an integrative nutritionist, hormone expert, and the best-selling author of WomanCode (Harper Collins). Alisa is the founder of, the trusted virtual destination site for women to naturally balance their hormone and reproductive issues with her proprietary "pro-hormonal" five-step dietary process that treats the root cause of endocrine dysfunction. She teaches women via her online program the WomanCode System. She posts a twice-weekly blog read by thousands of women in 45 countries about how to use food to end hormonal chaos and get into hormonal "flo." A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Alisa has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, has a web series on Lifetime, and has been a regular contributor for CBS, Fox, Shape, Women’s Health, mindbodygreen, and the Huffington Post. She pens the "Hormone Whisperer" column for Yahoo Health and serves on their health advisory board. She speaks to large groups about the intersection of hormones, neurochemistry, feminine energy, entrepreneurship, and success at TEDx, Talks@Google, Summit Series Outside, Hay House, WIE Symposium, and SHE Summit.Everyone you know is hormonal. Alisa believes together we can end the pervasive hormonal suffering women experience in our modern lifestyle. Spread some good ovary karma by subscribing to her blog and following her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.
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Alisa Vitti

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