Francesca, hormone expert and lead nutritionist at FUTURE WOMAN, shares her typical day. Discover how she maximises her energy and productivity to manage a busy day helping clients.
My morning routine
7.30am – My alarm typically goes off at 7.30am. Usually I am awake naturally in the summer at this time but in the winter I often need the safety of the alarm! The first thing I do is take a couple of minutes to check in with myself and see how I am feeling that day. I used to have a regimented morning routine based on what day of the week it was but now I try to really check in with what I actually need that day instead. Some days it is stretching, others a walk or workout or some days I love to practice some breath work.
7.45am – After taking my probiotics and a large glass of room temperature water I am up and stretching for a few minutes. This is my favourite way to wake up!
Today I am feeling energetic and decided to do an online 20 minute low intensity workout. I switched away from cardio and HIIT workouts after seeing my stress hormone test results from my FUTURE WOMAN Advanced Hormone Test and I can honestly say I feel SO much better and I wake up with much more energy each day.
(I usually recommend clients test their stress hormones in the Advanced or Advanced+ Hormone Tests if they can, because it’s provides so many helpful insights into mood, weight, energy and of course, stress.)
A snapshot of my results showing my free cortisol was higher than I'd like (from the Advanced Hormone Test)
8.15am – Now I have moved my body and showered (often a cold shower to support the immune system! But today I opted for a warm one), I am ready for my favourite part of the morning – breakfast! I have been having a high protein and low carbohydrate breakfast for a few years and it really has made a big change in my energy and hormone health too. I see many clients skipping breakfast, but I really don’t recommend this for women, particularly if you have an imbalance in your stress hormones – what you eat in the morning has a huge impact on your blood sugar balance, and therefore your hormones – particularly progesterone which we could all use more of!
Today I had some eggs and vegetables with butter, and a protein smoothie to sneak a few more vegetables in there too. I make sure to really sit down and eat my breakfast slowly without any interruptions or distractions. This makes a huge difference for your digestive system.
After breakfast I take my supplements. At the moment I am taking fish oils, my prenatal multivitamin (I’m currently pregnant!), zinc and iron. But what I take changes regularly depending on my needs at the time and I test regularly to make sure my supplements are right for me.
8.45am – I am ready to sit down and start clearing out my emails, I find this really helps me to feel like I am ticking a few things off my to-do list first thing in the morning. Today I have a really nice mix of consultations and report reviews with FUTURE WOMAN clients and then I am spending the afternoon interpreting some FUTURE WOMAN reports and writing up some health plans.
10am – I really try to ensure that I take little mini breaks to stand up from my desk throughout the day. So at 10am I am up for my cup of herbal tea. I avoid coffee or snacks in the morning to ensure my blood sugar stays balanced to support healthy insulin levels and in turn healthy hormones.
Sustaining my energy in the afternoon
12.15pm – It is important as a woman to not leave a long period of time without food (to induce a fasting state), again to support not only balanced hormones, but also balanced energy, focus and concentration too. I find my body likes to eat every 4 hours therefore lunch is usually around this time. Lunch today starts with some apple cider vinegar which contains acetic acid to help stimulate the glucose from my meal to be used instead of stored. Lunch is some teriyaki salmon with vegetables and sweet potato. Again I ensure I eat this away from my desk with no distractions to support my digestion and absorption of nutrients. After lunch I take a 15 minute walk (this not only clears the mind but helps to balance your blood sugar after a meal).
1.00pm – The afternoon goes quickly as I spend the time interpreting reports and preparing personalised health plans. I love geeking out on client’s results! We gather so much detail about our client’s hormones from our tests, and then piecing it together with their symptoms and habits to create a new protocol is like solving a puzzle. It’s incredibly rewarding.
Today, by chance, I saw a lot of perimenopause clients who were struggling with high oestrogen, poor oestrogen detoxification and low progesterone, a really common combination in the early stages of perimenopause that can cause mood changes, poor sleep and heavy/painful periods. Luckily there are lots of great supplements and diet changes we can recommend to support these changes.
I make sure to take little breaks to look away from my screen throughout the day to not only rest my eyes but also to make sure I am breathing properly. I notice when I look at my screen all day I have a tendency to have a very shallow breath which can impact my ability to concentrate.
4-5pm – I will often have a little high protein snack at this time of day if I feel I need it, otherwise it can be a long gap until dinner around 7pm. Today I had some nut butter with an apple, this really helped to give me the energy to get a few more hours of work done.
I finished the day answering questions from our health coaches doing our FUTURE WOMAN+ online hormone training. We started the programme in February, and it’s been amazing to share all we know about women’s hormones and what we’ve learned from testing.
6pm – Time for me to step away from the computer! I take a walk again to help to decompress after a good day of work. Although my walk is cut short from the rain so I decide to spend the extra time cooking a yummy dinner.
7pm – Dinner time! Tonight is a slow cooked curry with yogurt and some brown rice. I then have some dark chocolate straight after dinner because it brings me such joy! This is one of my favourite tips – you do not have to cut out all treats but ensure they are part of your meal to reduce a spike in glucose.
8pm – The rest of my evening is spent watching an episode of the new Queer Eye because who doesn’t love a make-over show and then reading some of my book. I make sure at 9pm to start to turn off half the lights in the house and pop my screens away to support healthy melatonin production. Ever since I have done this I find I wake up so much more refreshed the next day.
My evening routine always involves taking my magnesium (I take magnesium glycinate) and sleep support, having a hot shower, and taking even just 5-10 minutes to stretch and breathe before bed. I love practicing a yoga nidra meditation before bed to reduce cortisol and help promote deep relaxation – I often recommend this to clients too who struggle with sleep.
10.30pm – By 10.30pm my lights are out and I am drifting off into a magnesium and yoga nidra filled deep sleep!
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3 reasons to test your hormones in urine
Our urine-based hormone tests are more accurate and comprehensive than a single blood test for hormones.
Our hormones are pulsed into our body, so a single blood test could be capturing a trough, a peak or somewhere in between. With urine testing we can take an average reading across 4-5 samples to get a more accurate reading.
It’s only possible to test your hormone metabolites in urine. Often when we’re symptomatic, it can be due to poor metabolism of our hormones (rather than having too much or too little).
Our hormone tests are pain-free. Urinating on strips of paper is easier and less painful than collecting your own blood sample.