Training with your menstrual cycle
A very comprehensive, science backed guide to what we know, what we do not know (yet) and a lot of practical advice for women who exercise regularly.
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Training with your menstrual cycle seems to pop everywhere in the last few years and I’m so totally here for it! That said, I am finding it really hard to get behind sweeping statements, hype, buzz words and jumping on a bandwagon without actually understanding the science and practical considerations, as that leads to misinformation and confusion - I am very much not into that!
I have noticed far too many cases where generalized info is provided without appropriate context (mostly on social media, obviously), but one that stuck with me recently was in an online chat thread about health trackers. A woman was wondering if she should be tracking her sleep and symptoms/observations throughout her menstrual cycle because she is using a hormonal IUD and does not get a regular bleed as a result. She also shared that her coach is adjusting her training based on her menstrual cycle, but she did not know what was actually being adjusted and has never shared symptoms with her coach to adjust things based on. Hmmm… A few red flags here!🚩 Two main issues come to mind:
How can an effective solution be provided when you do not know what issues the individual is experiencing?! Kudos to the coach for being willing to make adjustments, but both coach and athlete are completely missing the point here: it’s just ticking a box to say it’s done without actually understanding the why and doing things properly, which doesn’t help the athlete at all in the end
Many women do not know their body well enough and that, in my opinion, is a big problem
A recent conversation with a friend whose tween daughter (a competitive swimmer) recently got her first period, revealed that a lot of girls on the squad skip training sessions during the week of their period. What?! 🤯. How is that still a thing in 2023?!
This week’s post is all about training with the menstrual cycle - What we know, what we do not know (yet) and practical advice for women who exercise regularly. My goal is to be a bit different than other resources out there and instead of telling you to do x, y, z, my goal is to empower you to take control of your experience as a female athlete by giving you ‘food for thought’ and some tools to make your own decisions with regards to your body, sharing science backed resources, social media accounts by sport scientists that offer solid, accurate, relatable content and more.
I think it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyways) that this is not just for women - Men, this is for you also… Especially if you are a coach working with women, an athlete training with women, a partner, brother, father to young women, etc.
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Alright, grab a cup of your preferred beverage (coffee, in my case) and lets dive right in!
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