Let’s talk about periods
If you do an internet search for “names for a period” you’ll see any number of results that will tell you ‘how you should say you’re on your period’. This article reckons there are 5000 ways to say you have your period but they’ve listed their “favs”(!)…
‘Lady time’, ‘Code Red’, ‘On the rag’, ‘Aunt Flo’, ‘Time of the month’ are just some of their picks.
You rarely hear people outside of the medical profession or outside the quiet of their own homes use the words: Blood, discharge, ovulation, cramps, pads, breast soreness etc…
Have you ever found yourself very quietly talking about having your period? Maybe at training or elsewhere? Have you ever found yourself using one of those “fav” terms instead? For our FEAT menstruators - maybe you’ve done this because that’s what makes sense for you and what makes you truly comfortable.
But if you fall into the category, where you’ve found yourself thinking you should call it something else or speak more softly about it, or if you’re part of the 50% of the population that will never have a menstrual cycle and you feel awkward talking about it/listening to someone talk about it, let’s chat about that…
The thing is, everyone who has a menstrual cycle is different. So, let me share a little bit of my own experience.
From the ages of 19-36 I was on the pill (I’m now 39). I used to be terrified of getting my period in summer. Because summer was cricket season. And I’d spend 8 hours a day on a Saturday and again on a Sunday wearing my cricket whites. I guess somewhere along the way between puberty and 19 years old society told me that having a blood stain from a little leakage was a bad/embarrassing thing (!). Before I went on the pill, I’d wear extra layers (I’m talking undies over undies AND bike pants) to avoid any chance of blood on my white pants. It makes me so mad for teenage me that once a month I was worried about that rather than glorious cover drives and scoring tons. So I went on the pill and I skipped my period nearly every month for 18 years.
The only reason I stopped the pill was financial (that thing was dang expensive!).
What I didn’t foresee coming off the pill was that I started to notice patterns in mood/energy/hunger/cravings at different times of my cycle. And because I love nerding out on data, I started keeping a diary. Just simple notes about my day across different categories. I made notes against six main categories: hunger, energy, mood, sleep, strength, capacity.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am ALWAYS hungry. Like legit. That’s not an exaggeration. So, against that category it was more about types of food I wanted. Against ‘strength’ I’d jot down any fitness gains – e.g. a new PB on a major lift. Against ‘capacity’ it might be pulling a faster 1km row or needing fewer rests in a set etc.
And if you’re still with me… this is where things got interesting. After about 18 months I really started to notice clear patterns on what my body felt like/wanted/needed during particular times in my cycle (like give me alllll the milk chocolate the day before my menstruation begins and I never sleep more than 6 hours on days 2 and 3 of bleeding).
The point of this story isn’t to inspire anyone to do what I’ve done. This is just my experience and by no means a suggestion on what you should/shouldn’t do.
YOU DO YOU!
BUT I do want us to keep the conversation going. Let’s talk more about this basic natural human mechanism –
Realise your period has come halfway through a session and you don’t have a pad/tampon? Don’t feel uncomfortable. Just ask. All our trainers carry pads and tampons in our supply boxes.
Have nasty cramps but still want to turn up to training? Let us know and we can make adjustments to your movements if something doesn’t feel comfortable.
Have your period and don’t want to sit on the ground for sit ups? No probs. Let’s get some shoulder taps happening.
Prefer to say nothing? That’s cool too.
Just know at FEAT - blood, discharge, ovulation, cramps, pads, tampons, fatigue, cravings, breast soreness are normal words and we’re all ears.