Managing Your Period at a Tournament

How often have you arrived at competition and realized you just started your period? Did you have all you needed, or did the stress of being with out the proper tools wear you down? Learning good habits which help support you during your period are a must for female athletes. Being prepared is key, but often we don't have a clue what we should be prepared for! Let's talk strategies and tools we can utilize so the day of competition is a little less painful. 

Get an app

Make sure you know when your period begins, and if it coincides with a tournament. By getting a period app on your phone, you will be able to track what time of month it comes, record your symptoms, and be better prepared for when it does arrive. Once you start using period apps, you will never go back. Over time, they learn how many days your cycle is, and will begin to predict the exact day your period begins. Learn more about tracking your cycle and the best phone apps to do the job on this LuchaFIT blog post.

Black spandex shorts

I highly recommend wearing or at least having an emergency pair of black spandex shorts to go under your singlet or competition shorts. If it comes to tournament day and you realize that your period is heavy, take the extra precaution and put on an extra layer. We never expect leaks, and they always happen when we are least prepared! Spandex shorts will be very discreet under competition wear, and using a black pair will help minimize stains as you use them on your period over time. The comfort of knowing you have a layer that protects you from leaking during a match is worth the extra effort of remembering a pair of shorts! 

A case for your necessities 

Sometimes, we don't want everyone to see when we take our period supplies with us to the bathroom. If that's the case, get a non-obvious case or bag that includes your period necessities, as well as extra supplies like underwear, spandex shorts, hand sanitizer, and a travel detergent packet. If you are 100% tampon kind of girl, it is beneficial to also keep panty liners or pads. It can be very difficult to remember to do a bathroom break as often as we should when we are in competition mode. Having panty liners to prevent leaks from getting worse, or as an extra layer if you know you wont be able to change your tampon before a leak happens. 

Schedule the Day

If you are someone who forgets how long its been since you've done a bathroom check, have a time schedule for when you will check or change. Make sure you set an alarm on your phone, go each time you've finished a match, or have a teammate remind you at intervals throughout the day. It can be such a challenge to balance the needs you have on competition day, let alone heading to the bathroom for just in case checks. 

If an Oops happens

If you can have a second uniform to wear, be sure to always bring that during your period. If thats not the case, bring travel size detergent to scrub the spot out in the sink and put it under the hand dryer in the bathroom. We've all been in dire situations, and sometimes you have to utilize what you have available to you! 

How to Track Your Cycle and Better Prepare for Competition

Tracking your cycle can help you plan for competitions, assist in unknowns if you need to manage your weight, and increase your competitive advantage. As much as I don't plan on getting into an anatomy lesson, I do believe that all girls and women should be armed with a little education. Your cycle refers to the first day of your period, up to the day before you next period begins. On average, a cycle is 28 days, but can be as short as 21 or can be as long as 35 days. It is important for you to start tracking how long your cycle is. This will help you know (on average) when your period will begin each month. This is hugely valuable for preparing yourself each month during competition seasons, for whatever sport you do. 

Track

The first step is to TRACK. The best time to learn this process is to start in the off season. Writing down in a calendar, a journal, or using a phone app will be essential tools to track your period and your cycle so you are not required to memorize everything!

Clue is a great app, as well as Period Diary, Monthly Cycles, and Cycles. Check out the tools each app provides to help you decide which one will work best for you. Record the symptoms leading up to your period before, during, and after. Record your weight, your appetite, and your moods. All of these symptoms will help you better understand what to anticipate at what times during the month. 

Look for Patterns

The second step is to look for PATTERNS. Some girls experience no weight changes, mood changes, etc. Knowing your typical symptoms will help you understand what will be present during which parts of your cycle. If you are looking to track your weight during your cycle specifically, the BEST way to accurately track this would be while you are not wrestling or doing other sports, most likely during the summer. Begin by recording your weight at different times of the month and see if a pattern emerges. Specially record half way through your cycle, the days leading up to your period, and then each day during your period. Make sure at this time you are eating fairly normal for yourself. This is important to giving yourself a fair and accurate understanding of your body. 

If you notice that you are gaining weight around your period and are looking for ways to help manage that symptom, check out the article I did on rehydration after weigh-ins here. Knowing the foods that help you hold on to water to rehydrate, will be a smart way to also know how you can apply the theory in reverse. Salt is a fantastic way to help the body hold on to water, especially after depleting workouts and competitions. Knowing that by eliminating the salt, you can help reduce the amount of water you body holds on to. 

Remember, a typical symptom leading up to and while you are on your period is also food cravings. Its important to know the different between water retention and realizing after the fact that it was our own choices. 

Plan

By understanding and knowing when your period will start and what comes along with it when your period shows up around competition times, you will be prepared instead of surprised. The best tools we can have for combating difficult situations is always to educate ourselves on our options! 

If you would like to see a blog on the types of products you can use and can help you while you are practicing or competing on your period, let me know in the comments below!