For the first time, there will be full gender parity in terms of athlete numbers at the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Yet, research studies on sports performance factors still mostly include male participants; females represent only 35% of the athletes studied.
The frequent non-inclusion of female athletes in research studies is largely due to the hormone variables within each individual’s menstruation cycle. The fluctuations in hormones during the cycle generate a huge number of variables that impact performance, making it difficult (though not impossible!) to interpret the findings.
Menstrual cycles have the potential to be a powerful performance factor, yet this remains neglected because hormonal fluctuations are not appropriately considered in the individualization of women’s training.
By examining our hormone cycle, we can discover ways to become faster, stronger, and more resilient to injury. This will have positive training effects and increases the potential for setting personal records.
If we know the menstrual cycle and dietary intake have a significant impact on overall performance, how then can we influence the female cycle to maximize our own performance when it comes to skating?
We can take advantage of understanding our hormones to optimise training to our advantage, and this is currently being used by the US Women’s World Cup Championship teams who use specialized training approaches that reflect the different phases of the cycle.
Becoming aware of our personal cycle is a great place to start. Not only does it serve as a marker for our ‘normal’ state, but it can help to identify if our athletic performance is conflicting with our body’s natural patterns. Maybe we are having a great skate week, only to suddenly tank unexpectedly. But, if we look into our cycle, we will often see that sometimes the reason is not so unexpected.
Over the next few weeks, we will be delving deeper into understanding the different phases of the menstrual cycle as part of our Menstrual Magic campaign, we’ll speak about the hormones at play, and ways in which we can harness the power of our period to improve our skateboarding. Stay tuned!