With female athletes becoming the next phenomenon, the education and behind the scenes of what it is like being a female athlete is becoming more prevalent.

Girls, the menstrual cycle is not something to shy away from.

Most females have experienced the monthly visit, 1 in 3 females suffer from an abnormality with their cycle and then there are a lot of women who have never had their cycle.

We are all different, but we all have one thing in common and that is female physiology. 

Track your Cycle

A study in Britain consisting of female athletes in the British National Rowing Team, showed that over half had had their training and competition performance impacted because of their period. 

As a Female Athlete, How Can This Impact You

  1. Irregular Period / No period at all 
  2. Lethargic 
  3. Fatigue and sleepy 
  4. Mood problems, irritable and feeling down and out 
  5. If an athlete is unwell consistently 
  6. Frequency of getting injured / stress fractures / reactions 
  7. Decreased libido 
  8. Athletes having poor training adaptations and not recovering quick enough

It is important as a female athlete to take ownership of your body and training if you want to get the most out of your performance.

Remember that HAVING YOUR PERIOD is an important part of our overall health. 

All it takes is to have no period for 3 months and this then puts you in the category of Amenorrhea or otherwise no bleeding.

Generally if this starts to happen the body goes into a breaking down state, where because you are probably not eating enough, or sleeping enough and have a higher percentage of stress your brain does not connect and think that you are fuelling your body enough for general health.

Ongoing effects of this could be a disengagement of the thyroid and the impacts of not having a healthy functioning thyroid are body temperature, disrupted sleep patterns, decrease in the regularity of your menstrual cycle and the hormones responsible of releasing Oestrogen (aka the female hormone that is responsible for puberty, pregnancy, bone strength, and maintaining cholesterol levels).

When the hormones that are responsible deplete and flat line this then causes irregularity within the system and progress towards low energy levels and not being able to counteract the issue of not having a healthy system. 

As female athletes most of the time even at the elite level, we are still semi-professional. Having a high volume week of training and playing in season, doing extra training on the side to make sure that we are not missing out on getting a starting spot on the team or event, attending school or university and on top of that either being a full time employee or having a part time job to live and then throw in all of the “Mumletes” (athletes that are mothers).

All of this is pretty full on right?

So then we add in preparation and athlete nutrition, tracking sleep and being on top of all things well being in the hope that we are doing enough to help support our consistency in high performance within our chosen field.

Menstrual cycle as it is still not openly discussed in a lot of female high performance environments, it should be noted that the menstrual cycle plays an important part in our overall health and athletic readiness for training and events. 

Tracking Your Period Is a Must

Even if you are regular or you have no period at all. Tracking and knowing how your body performs in the different stages and what symptoms you have will help you tackle any challenges that you may face, or events that are coming up.

Understanding if your menstrual cycle is not regular and the impact of not having a regular cycle could be affecting your performance. 

At different stages of a female athlete, they may experience sleep disturbance, react to heat in a different way, experience lower back pain, nausea, suffer from anxiety and be lethargic. 

If we track, and have a good understanding on how this is relevant to the athletes week to week routine, then as a coach and athlete the readiness and ability to be on top of things is going to work a lot better in regards to performance. 

How to Track

There are many different apps that you can use, WILD.AL, Fitrwoman, Flow or even just your general health on apple or android have jumped on board with menstrual cycle tracking.

It is important to note that each app is going to have a base of what is happening within that particular time in an athlete’s menstrual cycle. It may be relevant, or it may not be. So the key is to understand and start to become in tune with your own body.

Each individual will experience similar but different things. 

If you are on oral contraceptives this can also be different, but a good thing to keep track of is to study how you feel at certain stages, such as active pills versus non active and how it affects your stress levels and physiological components such as nausea and headaches. 

Perimenopause (the pre menopause state) is known to have a decrease in regularity so it is important to understand the symptoms that become frequent and noticeable at the time of getting your period. 

Tracking is also a good way to have information to hand that if you are comfortable with, could be shared with your high performance coach / sports coach. That way the information is there and the difficult conversations become less and each coach / athlete involved are more at ease with the best interest of the athlete and their wellbeing. 

Want To Know More

If you would like to know more or you’re a female athlete looking for a performance coach and environment to train in, please contact our Strength & Conditioning Coach Shona O’Connell-Shea to book in a session.

How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Athletica for Help?

We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call our bookings team to schedule a session:

Online Consultations

Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help!

To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.

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