“That time of the month” isn’t fun for anyone, but a new fitness and wellness experience is trying to change that. The debut of 28 is now here. It’s the first personalized fitness and nutrition platform for the four phases of your menstrual cycle. It includes daily exercise videos, nutrition tips, and emotional insights based on your body’s cycle. And the best part? It’s absolutely free. (Plus, signing up takes just a few seconds on the platform’s website; there’s no app as of yet, but the company says to be on the lookout for it in mid-October.)
How does 28 work? It provides you with free daily streaming exercises, nutrition profiles to help with hormone health, and science-based emotional insights into yourself, your relationships, and your work. (Work-life balance, anyone?) The platform is meant to optimize your energy, hormones, strength, and flexibility all month long — no synthetic drugs necessary. Speaking of which, “millions of women experience hormone-related imbalances, illnesses, and health problems daily,” 28’s Co-Founder, Brittany Hugoboom, tells TZR in an email. “Holistic doctors largely attribute this to our overexposure and consumption of artificial estrogens in everything from our birth control, plastics, and even our beauty products.”
So where do we begin? She says it starts by demystifying — and destigmatizing — menstrual health and enabling women to proudly embrace their nature, not fight it. “It’s time for women to get out of the passenger side and into the driver's seat of their own body,” she says. “That's what our platform offers women — a path to healthy hormones, self-discovery, and a beautifully strong, flexible physique.”
In addition, Hugoboom says that in her journey to learn from the world's great experts in functional movement, nutrition, and hormone health, she discovered that painful periods are very common, but they're actually not natural. “When I say this, women are shocked,” she says. “Unfortunately, the majority of women aren't taught about menstrual cycles beyond, ‘You're becoming a woman now’ when we first menstruate. We grow up in the dark about our own bodies, unaware of how our cycle works, the distinctly different four phases, or how our hormones impact everything from our skin, weight, bone density, mental health, sex drive, and menstruation.”
Hugoboom adds that most popular fitness programs were designed by (and for) men, without considering women’s hormones and the way they fluctuate throughout the month. “So 28 is the epitome of mind/body wellness,” she says. “The exercise videos, nutrition recommendations, and emotional insights are all designed around the hormonal and energy fluctuations that occur throughout the four phases of the menstrual cycle, and are personally customized to you based on the current phase you're in. We’re moving out of ‘hustle culture’ and embracing our feminine energy by working with our body and our cycle, not against it.”
As you probably know all too well, women experience different physical and emotional states during the four phases of their cycle, and 28 breaks them down into digestible categories: Menstrual Restore, Follicular Awaken, Ovulatory Perform, and Luteal Balance. And if your periods are irregular, the platform has you covered there, too — there is a moon cycle program for users to follow.
The Four Phases Of Your Cycle
Menstruation happens once a month and is when your uterine lining sheds. It typically lasts three to seven days and you may experience abdominal cramps, bloating, and mood swings (among other symptoms). Your levels of estrogen and progesterone are lowest at this phase. As a result, during this phase, which 28 calls “Menstrual Restore,” the platform has you prioritize self-care.
The follicular phase starts with the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation. Each follicle contains a developing egg, yet only one follicle usually develops into an egg. This tends to happen on day 10 of a 28-day cycle. Since your estrogen levels increase at this time, 28 has you focus on “Follicular Awake” via exercise and muscle growth.
Ovulation is the third phase and is when the mature egg leaves your ovary, approximately two weeks before menstruation starts. Estrogen levels are even more increased at this time. If you are trying to become pregnant, this is the time to go for it since the average egg only has a lifespan of around 24 hours. (You should discuss your “fertile window” with your healthcare practitioner, since this can vary depending on the length of your typical menstrual cycle. Usually, it’s 10 to 16 days before your next period.) The 28 platform calls this stage “Ovulatory Perform” since you now have high energy, a more positive mood, and a stronger sex drive.
The last phase is the luteal one, wherein the ruptured follicle (which is still on the ovary’s surface) becomes a structure referred to as corpus luteum during the next two weeks. Hormones start to get released, including progesterone and a bit of estrogen. Unless there is a pregnancy, the corpus luteum will wither and reabsorb. This is typically around day 22 of a 28-day cycle. When the uterine lining falls away, menstruation occurs — and the cycle starts again. Menstrual cycles can vary from 24 to 35 days (give or take), but the luteal phase stays consistent at 14 days. This phase is referred to as “Luteal Balance” by 28 since your body’s prepping for menstruation, which means PMS starts …
“By understanding your hormonal fluctuations and what's happening inside your body (and brain) throughout your cycle, women can then optimize their fitness, weight, recovery, energy, sex drive, mood, and more, by giving their body what it needs, when it needs it,” says Hugoboom. “We've distilled the science of the cycle into beautifully simple concepts that you'll experience and absorb along with our world-class workouts, stretches, nutrition, and insights as you move through your cycle, one day at a time.”
So if you don’t want to go through the four phases alone, you don’t have to — not completely anyway — by using 28. More energy and strength (emotional and physical) to get through “that time of the month”? We’ll take it!