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Don’t Give Up Yet: Smash Your 2023 Goals by Hacking Your Menstrual Cycle

Don’t Give Up Yet: Smash Your 2023 Goals by Hacking Your Menstrual Cycle
6 February 2023 Samantha Anderson

WUKA menstrual lifestyle expert shares guide to fulfilling resolutions by aligning with your menstrual cycle throughout 2023.

We’re one month in to 2023 and with only 9% of Brits sticking to New Year’s resolutions , experts at WUKA are on hand to help the menstruating half of the population achieve the most important goals this year.

Tapping into and working with your natural biology is a sure fire way to maximise energy levels and boost mental capacity and overall wellbeing in the longer term, regardless of whether that New Year drive has fizzled.

For better or worse, our periods and menstrual cycles can dictate how we feel throughout the month, affecting our mood, concentration levels, and physical strength. Instead of trying to bulldoze through and push, push, push, a holistic understanding of what exactly is going on with your body and hormones could be the key to achieving your goals this year.

As such Ruby Raut, menstrual lifestyle expert at pioneering reusable period product brand, WUKA, is sharing her advice on how to bio-hack your menstrual cycle in order to live your best life in 2023.

“Skin issues, bloating, lethargy and irritability are well known symptoms of PMS,” says Ruby. “However, there are many overlooked benefits that come with having hormones fluctuate throughout the month.

“Extra surges of strength in the gym, glowing skin and motivation to do absolutely everything on the to-do list are also all ‘symptoms’ you likely enjoy as a result of hormonal fluctuations throughout your menstrual cycle. The key thing is knowing what is happening within your body and when.

“Knowledge is power, and for women, so much of what happens to us physically and mentally is dictated by our hormones. Whilst there isn’t much you can do about these natural ebbs and flows, you can get to know your body better, allowing you to adapt your focus throughout the month, all while feeling like the best version of yourself.

“So, whether 2023 is about getting strong in the gym, achieving great things at work, or finding inner peace, the path to realising these ambitions is through getting to grips with your cycle and making it work for you.”

Read on for Ruby’s guide to hacking your menstrual cycle and achieving your goals in 2023…

Hack…Your cycle

The best way to hack your cycle is to track it! Knowledge is power and as each cycle is unique, a one size fits all won’t work here.

The menstrual cycle is split into two phases, starting with menstruation happening in the follicular phase that lasts until ovulation, followed by the luteal phase lasting until the next period starts. Varying cycles and hormone levels mean each phase will have a different length for each menstruating person which is why tracking is so necessary.

Tracking your cycle can be done manually or with the help of fantastic digital apps that provide helpful prompts and personalised recommendations based on your own health data. There are a few different methodologies for cycle tracking, but in general body temperature taken with a thermometer will let you know where you are up to in your cycle, with the body temperature rising during ovulation.

Cycle tracking isn’t just for birth control or conception support. The multitude of symptoms that come with the menstrual cycle can be difficult to manage, especially when you are trying to reach goals set for yourself, so simply knowing what is happening and when means you can prepare for them and most importantly give yourself grace and understanding during each phase.

Hack… Your exercise

Feeling stronger and fitter is on most peoples’ to do lists, but many women don’t consider the impact of where they are in their cycle when working towards their gym goals.

The follicular stage of your cycle, from menstruation until ovulation, is when oestrogen levels are increasing. This is the hormone that contributes to energy and strength levels, through increasing cortisol and testosterone, meaning it’s the perfect time to hit the weights section and work on your strength.

Try upping the Kg’s or simply hitting an extra repetition of each exercise. It’s also worth trying compound moves that work multiple muscle groups at once, such as squats, deadlifts and chest presses.

After ovulation you enter the Luteal phase, when oestrogen levels drop dramatically and the hormone progesterone increases in the lead-up to your period. During this phase, energy levels can be lower, so intense strength training and HIIT workouts are more difficult. In fact, the ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality may do more harm than good in this phase; persisting and attempting to push on through may make recovery harder when your energy levels do return. Instead, interspersing weight training with mobility exercises, cardio, and lower intensity training such as Pilates and yoga will keep you stay active without leaving you feeling exhausted and at greater risk of injury.

Whilst there is still, frustratingly, a lack of scientific research into exercise and periods – an all too common issue when it comes to any areas of science relating to the menstrual cycle – there are some training programmes available that do take your cycle into account, such as Olympic gold medalist Jessica Ennis-Hill’s Jennis app. Understanding the basics of your cycle and hormones, however, is empowering in itself and will undoubtedly help you to create a fitness plan that you can stick to whilst helping you to feel your best.

Hack… Your job

The same principles that apply to your physical strength and hormone fluctuations apply to mental resilience too. In fact, getting to grips with your cycle and understanding when you will naturally feel more motivated and energised during the month can help you optimise your output and ensure you’re showing up to work as the best version of yourself.

When oestrogen is high, just before ovulation, you will naturally have more energy, with the hormone even affecting your mood, making positive thinking much easier. This is the ideal time to have creative brainstorms, in-depth analysis, or crunch the numbers that will be sure to impress your colleagues.

The second half of your cycle, when progesterone is the dominant hormone, is ideal for admin and general planning. Whilst progesterone levels may mean lower energy levels, it also contributes to a more stable mood, which is perfect for getting on with less creative, day-to-day work.

If your job means you are on your feet all day, then plan ahead with your cycle in mind. When energy levels are high, use that motivation to take on a more demanding task that will get you noticed! And when progesterone is dominant, make sure to bring in extra nutritious snacks in order to maintain stamina to help you to remain focused throughout the day.

Hack… Your skincare

Achieving glowing skin is a goal for many of us, and nowadays we are constantly exposed to images of celebrities and influencers with flawless makeup and dewy skin. However, don’t be fooled by the beauty mode setting – blemishes, bumps, pores and imperfections are all perfectly normal! The goal should be to have healthy skin, not the poreless visage of a Barbie doll.

Hormones are one of the biggest factors in how your skin looks, so syncing your skincare with your menstrual cycle means you can optimise the products you use for better skin.

For the majority, being blessed with naturally clear skin happens during – you guessed it – ovulation. During this phase, your body naturally suppresses the immune system to protect the egg, resulting in clearer, less sensitive skin. So, a simple cleanser and moisturiser will be enough to keep your skin in tip-top condition during this time and is the perfect opportunity to give your skin a break from more heavy-duty products.

As you approach your period, your skin may produce more oil, so it’s important to incorporate lighter, water-based products that ensure your skin continues to get the hydration it needs without the potential pimple-causing effects of heavier oil-based products. Double cleansing at night – which consists of using an oil-based cleanser first and then washing your face again with a water-based product – during this phase and when you are menstruating will ensure excess oil and bacteria – a key cause of breakouts – are removed.

Remember, that hormone fluctuations are normal and are a sign of good health, so don’t despair if your skin varies from week to week. Keeping calm and not allowing yourself to become overwhelmed by stress is also an essential skin care tool, so run yourself a hot bath and relax – the steam can even count as a facial!

Hack… Your nutrition

For most of us, having a healthy approach to food is a lifelong pursuit, and one that we have to constantly work at. Are we eating too much or not enough? How do we ensure optimum fibre intake? And how many portions of fruit and veg do we really need? There’s a lot to consider, but being aware of the relationship between diet and your menstrual cycle is imperative to ensuring you feel your best.

Iron rich foods are ideal to consume whilst on your period as the mineral plays a key role in the production of new blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. During menstruation you can lose up to 50-80ml of blood, and iron is key to replenishing the blood lost. Great sources of iron include red meat, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, quinoa, green leafy veg such as kale, and – there is a ‘treat’ that boosts our iron intake – dark chocolate!

To minimise painful symptoms like headaches and cramps, reduce your intake of fatty and salty foods, like crisps or chips, as these increase water retention, which can cause bloating and dehydration. A bowl of popcorn, or a fruit snack with nut butter is a tasty alternative and great for stabilising blood sugar levels too.

Caffeine intake should be monitored too, as it can cause vasoconstriction – the narrowing of blood vessels – which can worsen period cramps. Caffeine is also a leading factor in disrupting sleep cycles, which is not ideal when experiencing hormonal fatigue. For a morning buzz without the subsequent crash, try a Matcha latte with oat-milk, a creamy, delicious drink that releases its energy over 4-6 hours for a longer, slower burn.

Staying hydrated is important too, in order to avoid fatigue at all points throughout the month. When progesterone is high just before your period, it is likely your body will retain more water, leading to bloating, so be sure to drink plenty in order to replenish these water levels.

During the follicular stage, when oestrogen levels are high and you are hitting the gym, a breakfast of overnight oats or porridge is a great way to up your fibre intake and can be topped with superfoods such as flax seeds and açai berries.

Make sure to incorporate zinc-rich foods into your diet during ovulation, to help bolster your immune system, which is suppressed in order to protect the egg. A green smoothie containing a spinach, celery, banana and spirulina blend will do the trick. And if you are short on time, nuts and yoghurt make for a great zinc-filled snack.

Hack… Your mood

Stressing less, breaking negative thought patterns and aiming to ‘be happier’ are common goals or resolutions. However, have you ever considered that these changes in mood could actually be your greatest strength?

In a male dominated world, fluctuating mood is often seen as a weakness in women, but understanding how to tap into these emotions and use them to your advantage will allow you to unlock different aspects of your influence and brainpower during the month. Suddenly, a stable hormone level sounds rather boring…

Higher oestrogen levels in the first half of the month will give you mental as well as physical energy. Take advantage of this time and use your mental energy to deal with difficult conversations you may need to have, inwardly reflect and confront any characteristics you need to work on, or make those hard decisions that may impact your personal or even professional life.

On the flip side, high progesterone levels in the second half of your cycle mean more mood stability and natural tranquility. This is the perfect time to work on your inner Zen, rooted in the certainty that your hormones have your back!

And always remember; never feel ashamed or embarrassed by mood changes during your cycle. Periods and hormone changes are a natural and healthy bodily function, so communicate openly with those close to you and prioritise self-care when needed to achieve all your 2023 goals.

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Note to editors:

  • WUKA Co-Founder, Ruby Raut is available for interview
  • Please contact the WUKA team should you be interested in receiving product samples for review or for competition prizes

For further press information, please contact:
Rebecca Claxton | Anna Nyman | Elsa Findlay | Julie Aguilera Kemp
Rooster PR
T: +44 (0)203 440 8930
E: [email protected]

About WUKA
Founded in 2017 by husband and wife team, Ruby Raut and Dave Slocombe, WUKA is the UK’s leading period wear brand and was the first in the UK to produce fully leak-proof reusable period underwear that completely replaces the need for pads and tampons. Just one pair of WUKA period pants can save 200 single-use plastic-riddled disposables from going to landfill or polluting our oceans.

WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass; because nothing should hold women back when on their period. The brand strives to empower the menstruating population, improve access to quality, sustainable period products, eliminate period poverty, and remove period shame and stigma.

Offering a range of award-winning undies to suit different menstrual flows, WUKA period pants hold from two to six tampons worth of period blood; the highest absorbency of any other period products. They are also available in the most extensive range of sizes on the market – from XXS, right up to 6XL.

WUKA also offers period leggings, period sports shorts, period swim bikini briefs, and a number of period accessories and gifts, including a wearable hot water bottle, wash bags, period wellness sets, and starter kits for tweens and teens.

All WUKA products are mindfully created, using the highest quality planet-friendly fabrics, to be both great for the body and good for the environment. From the Better Cotton Initiative, Organic Certified, to Vegan, PETA approved and certified Carbon Neutral+, WUKA underwear is all accredited and designed with the future in mind. Equality, inclusivity, and social & environmental responsibility are at the heart of everything WUKA does.

WUKA is an award winning business and in 2022 received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development, as well as the Sustainability Entrepreneur of the Year Award, for co-founder Ruby, at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

WUKA is available in Morrisons, Superdrug, Planet Organic, Urban Outfitters, and a range of independent zero waste and fashion retailers. You can also purchase WUKA products directly on from