One of the most common questions I get asked when presenting on Female specific training or female phase training is ‘How do I have a conversation with my clients about their menstrual cycle?’.
This is a great question! In my experience it is male trainers that most commonly ask this, and with good reason. It is a topic that has been, and still is, considered a ‘taboo’ subject. It is not deeply discussed in certifications and is only given a token nod. Generally speaking males are not exposed to the science or importance of the menstrual cycle and it is understandable that bringing this conversation up can be seen as challenging or ‘awkward’.
But it doesn’t need to be an awkward conversation. There is nothing awkward about a normal biological process that half the population experience in their lifetime. The fact that it is considered an awkward conversation is awkward.
Discussing her cycle and phases of life (eg peri, menopausal or post-menopausal phases) needs to be normalised. Having open and honest conversations about how her sex hormones are affecting her body, mood and health should be the NORM not the exception.
Granted, becoming comfortable with this situation isn’t going to happen overnight but with patience and consistent effort it will happen.
WHERE TO START.
So, to initiate this conversation lets go back to the start. At point of consultation, when conducting your pre-screening form add in female specific questions such as:
You could possibly pre-frame the questions by saying something like:
“I’m now going to ask you some specific questions about your menstrual cycle and phase of life. Not many personal trainers take the time to uncover this information but the reason I am asking you is because it is an important consideration. The answers you give will help me make specific adjustments to your training program which will help you get better results. I am all about working with your body’s natural cycle rather than against it“
As you can see, a lead in approach like this creates a positive space for your client to feel supported and comfortable.
In the following FB live I also explain how to assess your client on the fly in a mixed group training session.