Cycle-Aware Exercise: Go With the Flow

Let’s face it: Fitness culture neglects the menstrual cycle. This is another way menstruators continue being oppressed.


I’m writing this from my perspective as an ex-national level competitive swimmer of 10 years. As someone who used to train 8+ times per week (specially for long distance events), I know a lot about what it’s like to push the boundaries of the body and mind.


Before the age of 15, my stamina was out of this world. As I got into my teen years, I began hitting a wall and my performance started going down hill. There would be times when I would have so much energy, and other times when I didn’t even want to get out of bed. My body’s limits became more apparent which had an impact on my mental health.

Woman swimming the butterfly stroke
Photo of me in a competitive swimming race in 2010

Reflecting back now over 10 years later as a holistic cycle educator, I know my teenage-self could have really benefitted from #cycleawareness and being educated on the puberty-related changes that were occurring on a hormonal level.


Not once do I remember ever having talked about the impact of my cycle on my athletic performance (and overall wellbeing) with my coaches, trainers, teammates, parents or other figures in my life. It’s likely because they didn’t know about it either.

Shortly after ending my swimming career at age 18, I became a #gym rat and went to the gym almost everyday. Then, I became a die-hard yogini that hit up all the power classes.


All those years of being an #athlete taught me a lot about the importance of exercise, discipline, commitment and working hard towards your goals. I’m so grateful for that. However, this conditioning has also led to #perfectionism, #overachievement and #burnout… And in some cases, going over my edge and getting #injuries. These are some of the #shadows of the #fitnessindustry.


A feeling of “falling behind” and “not being good enough” infiltrated my being anytime I took time to rest and slow down. This wasn’t only present in my relationship to exercise, but quite literally everywhere - lifestyle habits, academics, work, etc. Can anyone relate?

 

While many people in the West use #yoga