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The fitness industry is built to serve men. Perhaps that doesn’t surprise you if you’re a regular listener, and today’s guest Claire Falconer wants us to celebrate our biological difference as cyclical women, and to put our cycle front and centre of our exercise routines. Claire says that when you understand and work with your cycle, not only do results come quicker and more easily, but you avoid longer-term health issues that can come up from gymming like a dude.

tune in to hear:

I personally loved this conversation and learnt so much myself about:

  • pelvic floor health,

  • working with our bodies in each menstrual cycle phase,

  • pregnancy, post-partum, and menopause.

I feel inspired to get back into a regular exercise routine! How about you? DM me on IG and share this episode on your stories, letting me know what you took.

Thank you so much Claire for chatting with us!

 

meet claire

Claire Falconer is a personal trainer, yoga teacher and health coach with 15 years under her belt in the fitness industry.  She’s worked privately with hundreds of clients all over the world, and has developed a passion and specialism in women’s health especially hormonal health, preconception, pregnancy and post natal women.

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[00:00] Claire: Every single week of that 28 day schedule. We are different and we need to train accordingly. We need to do our whole exercise routine accordingly to this so that we can, one, maximize results. If you’re not honoring your natural biology and your biochemistry, then you’re not going to get results. Or you might, but you might be sabotaging something else. You might like what I did. Get chronic fatigue or get irregular cycles or some sort of fertility issue that might be the byproduct of it. You are different. I want you to really acknowledge this and I want you to know firstly that our differences don’t make us less so if we want to perform 100% and even more because we can actually use our cycle as our superpower, then we need to acknowledge that we are really different.

[00:59] Charlotte: Welcome to the Wild Flow Podcast with me, Charlotte Pointeaux, certified Cycle and Feminine Embodiment Coach and Shamanic Womb Guide. In this podcast. I’ll share my wisdom and conversations with powerful changemakers. Thought leaders and embodied teachers to invite you to live cyclically and flow with your menstrual cycle instead of fearing it to heal menstrual shame and normalize wound wisdom and period positivity. And to step into your sovereign magnetic power to create the body. The change you desire to see in your world settle in to unleash your Wildflow.

[01:45] Charlotte: Hi loves. Welcome back to Wild Flow.Today I’ve got Claire Falconer, a guest on the podcast, to talk all about exercise and movement in a cycle aligned way. So I love this conversation because I don’t know much about this at all, only things that I’ve picked up from others who’ve shared in the menstrual sphere or on Instagram or places like that. And it was so good to have a chat with Claire. Who is a personal trainer. A yoga teacher and a health coach.

Having trained as well in Menstrual Health with Nicole Jardim. Talking about cycle awareness and hormones through pregnancy and postpartum through the menstrual cycle years into perimenopause and menopause. And how we really need to stop exercising in the really conventional ways that is just everywhere. All around us in this fitness world. And instead come back to honoring our bodies. Which of course is what this podcast is all about. Listening to our bodies. Tuning into what our biology is doing. But what we feel emotionally. Mentally and spiritually that we need and that we want to do to honor ourselves each day. And Clare shows us how we can start really gently in a really nurturing way, especially if you’re new to exercise or you’ve had quite a time away from it, like I have, but also if you’re an everyday exerciser, the ways that we can work with our cycle.

And it’s quite surprising what she shared. It was really contrary to what I had in my head as being the way that you might cycle align your exercise. So I really appreciated this conversation and hearing her expertise so let me introduce you to Claire.

So, Claire Falconer is, as I say, a menstrual cycle coach. She studied functional medicine at the Institute of Functional Medicine in California under Dr. Mark Hyman. She’s certified with Precision Nutrition as a nutrition coach, and she’s nearly finished her degree in Health Sciences neutropathy, and she’s a yoga teacher, personal trainer, and she’s been in the fitness industry for about 1415 years now. She’s just come back from five months in Bali as well, back to Australia. And she’s been sharing over on her Instagram through her pregnancy, through postpartum, how she has looked after her body, looked after her pelvic floor in these really beautiful ways that have kept her strong and nurtured and helping her body to prepare for labor and birth too, as well as how she works with her menstrual cycle on the other side of that. So whatever your relationship to exercise, tune in, have a listen and let me know what you think. I’d love you to leave a comment here Instagram and just share your favorite insight.

[05:24] Charlotte: Claire Falconer. Welcome to Wild Flow Podcast. How are you today?

[05:28] Claire: I’m very well, thank you. Thank you for having me on.

[05:32] Charlotte: Thank you for coming on. I’m so looking forward to this conversation. It’s a topic that I don’t know much about at all, but it’s something I’m aware of. And so personally, I feel like I’ve got a really, like, a real curiosity about this and I’m sure lots of other people do too. And I just really want to hear from you as somebody who’s living and breathing this and just share it with people. So it gives us all something to think about, how we’re approaching movement, exercise and our wellness. So thank you for being here.

[06:08] Claire: Thank you. I’m super excited to share all the knowledge on this topic because I’m super passionate about it.

[06:16] Charlotte: Amazing. So I’d love to start with a cycle check in as we always do, and I’ll go first. So I’m cycle Day 19 today and I’m in my late summer, so I ovulated. My ovulation is always a bit later than 14 days and I’m feeling really joyful and happy today and bubbly. And there’s this almost like this resilient bubble around me that it’s going to be hard to pop and it feels really lovely. I’ve got lots of energy, but I do feel a bit chatty and a bit kind of like I could just gabble all day. So just putting that out there because that’s where I’m at today.

[07:05] Claire: Well, I think we’re both pretty aligned right now because I am day 20, but I am still very heavily in the mix of breastfeeding right now, so my cycle still isn’t completely regular. So I am still in my Follicular phase. There is a cycle, but it’s just very extended at the moment. So, yeah, I’m still in my spring, so I’m feeling really good. I’m super energized. But also what helps with that is my son gave me a good night’s sleep last night.

[07:45] Charlotte: It’s like a new that’s great. I’m so glad. It’s funny because my kids always have terrible nights, sleeps the night before. I’ve got something where I need my brain to be alert and fresh.

[07:55] Claire: It’s like, no, of course, no, my boy was good. I don’t know what happened, but he did one wake up at 05:00 A.m. And I was like, who even are you?

[08:05] Charlotte: That’s amazing. Yeah, so good. And I really hear you on breastfeeding and how it’s affecting or not affecting playing out in your cycle. This has been my experience for the last few years as well. And my youngest daughter is about to turn three and she’s still having some boobie. Not super regularly, but it’s been slowly, like so slowly decreasing over the last few months. And I’m really ready to be done with it, actually, because she’s quite clingy and she will scratch me and go for the nipples. I’ve been doing this for about seven years now. You just want your body back.

But it was the phase of still breastfeeding. But my cycle had returned and it didn’t come back till I was until she was about she was more than 18 months, like a good 20 months when it finally came back. Just kind of that irregularity. And having the extended spring was really nice, but then sometimes it would go so long that I just kind of feel exhausted with it. Not have that. I always wanted that relief on the other side with the premiums and the bleed just to kind of come back down and yeah, it’s interesting, but I feel like I’m finally at a point where it’s quite regular and quite predictable again, which is like a whole new world for me.

[09:40] Claire: I know I’ve never actually craved for my cycle so much and exactly what you said then. When my bleed comes, it is big relief and it’s honestly my favorite part of the cycle at the moment because it’s like starting fresh, it’s like rejuvenation. And I’m really craving that now because there has been so much sort of irregularity going on with my cycle and also just not having one for so long, being pregnant and then early stages of postpartum. So, yeah, I definitely missing that regular.

[10:19] Charlotte: Yeah, I hear you. Thank you for sharing that. So, Claire, you are a personal trainer, a yoga teacher and a health coach who specializes in women’s health. And I just really want to frame this conversation with a bit of going into the why. So we’re talking about exercise and movement in relation to hormonal health and menstrual cycle, health and pregnancy, postpath and that kind of thing. Can you just share with us and explain why women need to exercise differently to men? And I really feel like the conventional approach to fitness that we’ve seen so much of over the last few decades since this fitness boom began, I didn’t appreciate that that was male focused until, I guess, you know, fairly recently. Could you just talk to us about, like, why it’s important and kind of where we’re at with it in the mainstream?

[11:19] Claire: Yeah, absolutely. So I want to start by sharing a little bit about my story because I think it gives a really good context on, like, my journey in the health and fitness industry as well over the years. So I’ve been doing this for 15 years now that literally makes me feel old. But yes, I’ve been in the fitness industry for 15 years, working in it all that time. And back then, 15 years ago was sort of maybe just the start of the fitness boom. It wasn’t quite there yet. Like, active wear wasn’t clothing yet. It was still acceptable to wear to the shop and things like that.

So it was free, the fitness boom, I would say. And it was still heavily gym focused. Yoga wasn’t really a thing yet. That was more for spiritual people. It was all that time when I first entered the fitness industry, when I first entered the fitness industry, it was all just male dominated. And that’s how I trained, and that’s how I trained my clients as well, because there was absolutely no understanding of a woman’s cycle or that anything was different. There’s no studies on women, zero, because we’re too complex, and there’s just no research. So that’s how I first entered the industry. And it was not long into entering the fitness industry, maybe one to two years that my own health started to suffer.

And my clients, I would just notice that their results would plateau. They would fatigue, they were exhausted, I was exhausted. My results were plateauing. You know, you just wouldn’t male versus females, like a husband and wife. If I was ever training them together, the women would get way worse results and the men would get better results. And from that then on, early in my career, I knew something was different. Like, women and men are different. And it doesn’t matter what this whole feminist movement says, we are different. And I think that’s something that we really need to start acknowledging. So then from then on, I was like, okay, I need to find everything out about women because they’re my clients and I want to help them, and also I want to heal myself.

I got chronic fatigue. I was just literally exhausted, and I was just trying to do it all, and nothing was working and then I was just like, OK, I need to take a hundred steps back and figure out what’s going on. And then this is when I started to get into the female side of things and started to heavily research. I just started with a few books, just started to reading about the menstrual cycle and how we were fundamentally different. And then it was like an AHA moment when everything sort of came together and I was like, wow, we are different. And this is incredible.

Males have a 24 hours schedule where they wake up in the morning and their testosterone should be high and that correlates well with cortisol and then over the 24 hours, their cortisol slowly drops off and then the next day they wake up and they’re exactly the same person. Whereas us women, we are not, we are run on a 28 day schedule, give or take. Obviously 28 days is just what I’m saying, but that’s got room to move in there and every single week of that 28 day schedule, we are different. And we need to train accordingly. We need to do our whole exercise routine accordingly to this so that we can, one, maximize results. I think that’s everybody’s end goal. They want results, right? And if you’re not honoring your natural biology and your biochemistry, then you’re not going to get results. Or you might, but you might be sabotaging something else. You might like what I did, get chronic fatigue or get irregular cycles or some sort of fertility issue that might be the byproduct of it. 

[15:34] Charlotte: Yes. Thank you so much for that. So I love what you said there about we need to acknowledge the differences instead of trying to be the same. Because I think this is the next step for feminism, for that reclamation process. It’s like we are different and actually it’s safe to be different and it’s good to be different and we don’t need to be the same to life. I think that’s where we’re going. So I love that point. Thank you.

[16:03] Claire: And I think it’s important when I sort of tell clients I’m like, you are different, I want you to really acknowledge this and I want you to know firstly, that our differences don’t make us less because we can still perform 100% every single day of our cycle, but it just might be at our own expense. So if we want to perform 100% and even more because we can actually use our cycle as our superpower, then we need to acknowledge that we are really different. And I hope that makes sense, but I think that’s what it’s like just so important to know and to start to use our cycle, as I said, as our superpower. Because once you do, it’s literally game changing and that’s why I’m so ridiculously passionate about it.

[16:53] Charlotte: Interesting. So you can go at 100% every single day, but the impacts and like you said, your health personally suffered after a year or so. And so people who are doing this, this kind of approach, like going to the gym same time, same intensity day to day or week to week without paying attention to their cycle, you’re saying that could really end up with that could lead to these chronic health situations where chronic fatigue and fertility issues as well.

[17:32] Claire: Absolutely. And if you just take a look at snapshot of women at the moment, fertility issues are all time high. Thyroid health is terrible. Obviously, there’s many other factors to why this is happening, but I do fundamentally think that trying to function on not our own biology is a big part of that because we’re pushing ourselves and we’re trying to be at all and do it all and not really honoring what’s actually happening with our biology. And I think that’s a huge reason. Anyway, that’s my own sort of analysis of it. But yeah, amazing.

[18:12] Charlotte: Thank you for sharing that because I think that’s really important. It’s not just nice to have like, oh, I could train with my cycle. It’s like, actually, this has got serious health issues. If you don’t like implications. Absolutely.

[18:28] Claire: Yeah, absolutely. And as I said, even if you don’t care about your health, which unfortunately some people don’t like, if you actually want results, if you want to lose weight and stuff, then use your cycle and it happens way faster. And that’s just like, okay, cool. If you actually learn to work with it literally, the results way better.

[18:52] Charlotte: Yeah, okay. Interesting. Fascinating cost of whirring in my brain. I’m like, oh, okay, so you work with women all through the spectrum of hormonal health, but within that passage and stages, different stages. So prenatal and pregnancy, postpartum women who may or may not have children. But you’re obviously talking about working with the menstrual cycle and so with thinking hormonal as well, I’m assuming that when we’re in perimenopause and menopause as well, with our hormones changing so much, do we need to be constantly kind of adapting our exercise plans through aging, through these different phases of pregnancy and postpartum and then with our menstrual cycle and to menopause?

[19:42] Claire: Yeah. So when you get into perimenopause and menopause, obviously game changes because especially once you’ve entered full menopause one year after you’ve had any sort of bleed, then obviously you’re not on a typical schedule anymore. Like you’re not on the four seasons, but you can still follow the moon cycles and you can still live cyclically within that. However, our hormones aren’t ebbing and flowing as much in that menopause stage with clients. I just say it’s up to you. If you want to live sick quickly because that’s how we are as women, then I would definitely embrace that. And I’ve even worked with women that have entered medicals and they still want to live in this cyclical manner because they feel that they’re calling and they really love it. So I think that’s still a beautiful thing to sort of honor and keep, but it’s not as essential as biologically in our menstruating years.

[20:55] Charlotte: Amazing. So if we were going to talk about how we need to be honoring ourselves and working with our hormones through these different phases. Could you just give us a bit of a sense of on a quite a high level and I’d love to go into some examples more specifically for different seasons of the cycle or even pregnancy and postpartum in a minute. But just give us a sense of what those kind of changes might look like.

[21:27] Claire: Okay, so obviously I’m sure many of your listeners are already aware that we have four distinct phases of our cycle and then obviously during those phases we have different hormonal changes. Every single change you can imagine happens from an exercise point of view. I generally like to categorize them into two sections, like into our first phase and last phase. So our pre menstrual phase and our follicular menstrual phase. I find that the easiest rather than going into, I mean, I do go into the intricacies of them with my clients, but let’s just go general here.

So the first phase of your cycle, so your menstrual phase and your molecular phase, so your winter and your spring, so your winter and your spring, you are going to actually biologically be the most stress resilient. So winter is a real time in our yoga practice and all this sort of stuff that everybody says that you really need to come with me and retreat. It’s a really good time for self reflection, which absolutely it is. But biologically we are also really primed for hitting it hard. So it’s crazy. It’s kind of a bit contradictory in that sort of early winter phase because our hormones are at their lowest. So we are most resemble men in that early menstrual phase and we can really hit it hard and we’re super stress resilient our hormones. We recover quickly. We are really primed for exercise and that’s going into the particular phase too. So I like to say that those two start phases, you can hit it, go for your hit sessions, up the ante a little bit, lift heavy, go for your runs.

But then once we hit over that hill into our sort of luteal phase, then you really want to bring it down a notch. And I find this is the most important phase of your whole cycle to really listen to because this is when the magic happens and this is when our hormones are not primed for hitting it hard. You need to bring it down a notch and a few notches and you really need to listen to your body here because our biology is when we do not deal with stress well, we do not recover well. We are more prone to injury we need to up the calories because our biology needs it. So it is not a good fat burning phase. And the first half of the cycle is a fantastic fat burning phase.

So if you’ve been put on a diet ever in your life, which I’m sure loads of you have, then you don’t want to diet this section because your body is going to go into more stress, you’re going to produce more cortisol, which is your stress producing hormone, and it’s going to be kind of like it’s not going to work. Basically, when I say it’s not going to work, yes, it might work, as in you might lose weight, but it’s going to be at an expense of making yourself fatigued or chipping weights and nutritional deficiencies or something like that. But the first half of your cycle, if you want to go on a diet, then do it then, because estrogen also suppresses your appetite a little bit, so you need less calories. But when we get into that looting phase, we need more calories. So, yeah, it’s not a great time to hit it hard.

[25:17] Charlotte: I hope that you’ve just blown my mind. Okay. That counter to everything that I thought was true about this. So I just really want to just share with you what I thought from what I heard, like as a complete non expert, just from what I picked up from instagram and places like that. So I thought that when you were bleeding, you really shouldn’t hit it hard at all because you’re bleeding and your tissues are softer, or is that more in? Ovulation.

[25:47] Claire: Ovulation. Yeah.

[25:51] Charlotte: And then I thought that doing more of the resistance and weights and everything was what you did in the luteal phase.

[25:58] Claire: Yeah, you can absolutely lute your phase. You can do weights and stuff, but you want to do it in maybe eight rep max or nothing hard if you’re doing hit sessions or intervals or anything, that all wants to be in the Follicular phase. But if you’ve been working out for a long time, then absolutely, I still get my clients to train in the lutear phase. But you just need to recover more. So you want one to two minutes in between sets to recover. You want to fully recover before you do another set, which is people do the same exercise in and out, day in and day out, and they never change it up. That’s when I would say don’t do boot camps in the second half of your cycle. Even F 45, like all these sort of things that are really high, intense, stay away from in the second half of your cycle, do them in the first half. And with the resting in the menstrual phase, there absolutely is.

I’m sort of a bit conflicted here because I ideally like to rest from day one to three, and this is more of a spiritual thing rather than a biological thing. So spiritually, I really like to rest because I find that it’s a cleansing. I like to just really embrace that and that’s what I do with my clients. But there’s a lot of women out there that feel and we’re talking more so on the lead athlete side of things. And this is the limited science and research that there is. They actually perform best in the menstrual phase and you’re going to get your PR in your menstrual phase. So, yeah, it’s really incredible.

As I said, the limited research there is actually out there. These elite athletes are getting their PBS in their menstrual phase. I think it’s really interesting because spiritually is one thing and then biologically is a different thing. And I’m guessing most of my clients, most of your listeners aren’t elite athletes. So I would generally say rest in those first really heavy days of lead practice, slow intentional movement and then as you move into the flicker phase, really up the ante. And then as you head more down into the lunar phase, focus on more purposeful, intentional weights and strength training and really focus on mobility, focus on technique and all those as you enter that sort of last phases.

[28:48] Charlotte: Amazing. That makes really clear sense to me. And I love the way that you’ve teased apart what’s happening biologically, but what the kind of spiritual pull or core might be as well. And how we can honor both, like all of us. And depending as well on if you’re really into your exercise, then you can make up your mind, I guess, of how you work with that based on what feels good and true for you. Absolutely super cool.

[29:15] Claire: And I think it’s really important to note in that time as well. And as you said, if you’re an athlete or if you love exercise, then it’s really good to know that you can afford to hit it hard when you’re bleeding. But that weeks before you bleed. That two weeks before you bleed. Do not hit it hard because your body isn’t primed for it. So it’s nice to know that when your biology is primed for it and I think that’s really important. But most of women, they don’t want to work out when they’re bleeding. It’s like, oh, I couldn’t think of anything worse. So it’s just knowing what you’ve got to work with I think is really important.

[29:59] Charlotte: Thank you so much for sharing. So am I right in thinking that you’re obviously talking about diversity and different things and doing different movements and different parts of your cycle? So it’s not like the takeaway message I’m getting is don’t do the same thing every single day. Like honor where you’re at know, when you have that rising energy and your body is stronger and more resilient and different parts of your cycle. Like your luteal might be a similar kind of ballpark of exercise, like you said, going to the gym, for example. But it would look different or doing altogether something completely different, that you’re still moving, but it’s not that super high intensity. Absolutely.

[30:46] Claire: And that’s the thing. I’m a big advocate for movement. I feel like you should move every single day of your cycle, but it’s just going to look really different. And that’s the beauty of it. We’re not robots. We’re not supposed to do the same thing day in, day out, like, as I keep saying. And not only is that sabotaging our results, but it’s also sabotaging our health. I think that’s so beautiful because once you start acknowledging that, you just realize for me, and as I said, for so many of my clients, you’re like, it all just makes sense now. I feel happy some days and I don’t want to do anything. And then once you start charting and once you start understanding when it’s happening, you realize you’re like, I understand why I feel crappy today and why I’m low, because my biology is literally that’s what’s happening.

[31:42] Charlotte: Amazing. It’s so interesting. So there’s some beautiful pictures of you on your Instagram, which I just love your Instagram, by the way, and I highly recommend everyone go follow Claire’s Instagram because you do some really informative posts, really easy to follow and understand and digest and like, you’re bringing up some really important points. And one of the things that following on is we’ve talked about menstrual cycle there. I’d love to just touch on pregnancy as well. So you said you’ve got a little boy who is about a year and a half old, and I saw some beautiful pictures of you exercising while you were pregnant and I would love to ask you about this because it’s safe to exercise when you’re pregnant, right? It’s safe to do weights, it’s safe to do those things. And the benefits are, I’m sure, like, really strong and clear. Could you talk to us a little bit about if anyone’s pregnant, how you can look after yourself through movement, through training, in pregnancy?

[32:49] Claire: Yeah, absolutely. So obviously we’re entering a completely different phase here. So I wouldn’t exercise for my cycle because obviously we don’t have one. But once you enter pregnancy, the benefits are now backed by science, which is really beautiful because there was a long time where women were actually told not to exercise during pregnancy. But I mean, the benefit for endless, like literally endless helps everything. I don’t even want to go through them because it’s undeniable how incredible they are. And I always say pregnancy is about adapting, not maintaining. And I think that’s a really important message to know because we can absolutely exercise your whole way through pregnancy. From the day that you fall pregnant to the day that you give birth, you can exercise, but you’re just going to have to adapt and you’re going to have to let go of those thoughts about maintaining. You’re not going to be the same person because you’re growing a life. And that’s a beautiful thing. So it’s about discovering your new normal and what that is and I generally say is to break them up into each trimester and how to train a woman in each trimester and the changes that go on there. So obviously, the first trimester, I let most women write that out, it’s like, what? Seven out of ten women feel pretty terrible. And I think that that statistic has to be higher. It has to be more like ten out of ten women feel, except that there’s a few unicorns out there that feel good, but it wasn’t.

[34:35] Charlotte: Me neither.

[34:38] Claire: So just let whatever you do in your first trimester to survive, you do that because just survive is a grand feat, I say. And then once you enter your second trimester, hopefully you start to feel a little bit better, and that’s when you can start to really up the pace and start to get into exercise again. And to be honest, everything is pretty okay. If you ran before, you can probably run again. As you enter in the third trimester, you probably want to stop running because it’s an extra pressure on your pelvic floor. But I really love body weighted workouts. That’s what I find is a really beautiful way to honor my body, and I find that that gets such beautiful results. And then as we’re entering trimester three, I really love to focus more on optimal positioning for the baby so that you can help release those pelvic floor muscles, pelvic floor relaxation, and optimal positioning for your bub so that you can get in a really beautiful spot for labor. And yeah, I mean, that’s sort of the premise of training during pregnancy. There is a reason and there’s a purpose. And each sort of trimester, as we go through them, you should be adapting and really adjusting to your body and the changes that are happening.

[36:03] Charlotte: Love that: adapting, not maintaining. That’s gorgeous. I think that’s really wise to adapt to honor where your body’s at, but to keep your body strong. And I love what you said there about positioning for baby, positioning for birth and labor and pelvic floor as well. That’s just so important for all of us, regardless of whether we are having or have had children or not. Pelvic floor just seems like that thing that we just really need to be doing more about. And I hear a lot about kegels and things like that, but I love what you just said there about relaxing as well. It’s not all about tightening, tightening. It’s about that tone. And that is that something that we should be all paying attention to as well, regardless of where we’re at.

[36:56] Claire: Yeah, I’m a huge advocate for relaxing the pelvic floor because it’s so tight for most women. And it’s crazy how many women don’t understand that there isn’t really that much education about public flaws and how they actually function. As you said, it’s all about kegels, and Kegle is fantastic. But how are you supposed to engage your muscle if it can’t be relaxed first? If you think about right now, really tensing your bicep and just keeping it tense, that’s what a tight muscle is like. So how are you supposed to engage it further with the kegel if you can’t relax it? Does that make sense?

[37:35] Charlotte: Totally, yeah, absolutely.

[37:37] Claire: So, yeah, I’m a big advocate in doing some relaxation work, and especially with pregnancy, because not even especially with pregnancy, this can cause sexual functioning disorders. You might not even be able to have an orgasm. If you have a tight pelvic floor, you’ll have painful sex constipation. So many issues can happen from having a tight pelvic floor. But during pregnancy, if you want to have a normal vaginal birth, then you need to be able to relax that pelvic spore so that your push phase isn’t prolonged, because if the muscles are too tight, the baby can’t get through. It’s just as simple as that. Really, doing that work in pregnancy, I find is really beneficial. And I did that for myself because I’m a type pelvic floor person, type A personality, super stressed. Like, it goes hand in hand, basically. And it helped so much. And I really give credit to all the work that I did during my pregnancy, to how good my pregnancy and delivery was.

[38:46] Charlotte: Oh, wow. I am really wishing I had heard all of that before I had my first baby. So I went to a pelvic physio last week, and I’d suspected it anyway. But, yeah, I’ve got a really tight hip, which from the inside, which is my pelvic floor, is really tight. And so she was telling me a lot about, you know, like, needing to relax well and feel like with birthing, like, if you can’t soften and relax that muscle, the baby can’t come out. And I didn’t have prolonged or difficult births, but I know for a fact that if I’d been able to relax even more, especially with the first baby, I’m thinking I’ve got three that first time. If I could have relaxed that, then our birth would have been really different. I just know that that was so much tightness in there. So, yeah, it’s really got me thinking. I’m like, okay, I’m doing some exercises now. Not right now, not right this second. So I love to hear that you’re factoring that in as well to your training is something that we all need to be doing. And like you said, those other it’s interesting to hear about not just birthing, but all those other things that tightness can cause as well.

[40:18] Claire: Yeah.

[40:19] Charlotte: Mention of those other things that sexual dysfunction, inability to orgasm, constipation, et cetera.

[40:30] Claire: And this is happening to young girls as well. And that’s what I think is high pelvic floor starts from a young age as well. And it’s also a lot of it can happen through trauma because we hold a lot in our pelvic floor emotions and sexual trauma as well. All this stuff can really cause our pelvic floor to be tight, but also any form of insertion of tampons, if you’re uncomfortable, insertion of all this sort of stuff can cause a tight pelvic floor as well because we clench up, right? We clench up and this is all stuff that’s done to us, but we sort of don’t realize that we’re constantly clenched and that’s what I think is quite sad about it’s. Like, it’s happening to so many women and we’re not even realizing. And we’re not realizing also how much emotion is caught in that pelvic floor as well. So I think it’s really important to learn to connect ourselves with our body.

[41:36] Charlotte: Yeah, I really relate to that. Like you said, that tightening and that holding and I’ve done that and it’s definitely been a trauma response for me. Like, I hold a lot in my pelvis, in my womb and a lot of that is to do with my work and interests is wound, but realizing that actually it’s pelvic floor too. It’s like, AHA, okay, obviously it’s also interconnected.

[42:01] Claire: Absolutely. That’s why I love exercise so much because I think everybody sort of gets this thing about exercise. I can’t be bothered with it, but it doesn’t have to be going to a gym and hitting weights. Like exercise can literally just be like you doing your pelvic floor relaxation or connecting with your body. And I think that’s the most beautiful thing about it is ultimately self love is giving back to yourself and moving your body in the way that it needs. And it’s just about discovering those sort of things.

[42:38] Charlotte: That’s beautiful, reconnecting, disconnecting, be present with your body and it can be as simple as doing those exercises.

[42:45] Claire: That’s really lovely. Yeah.

[42:48] Charlotte: And so if you’re speaking to somebody who’s like, maybe you’re talking to me. So it’s spring, I’m feeling like I’ve had a big winter and I’m feeling like I really need to get back into some exercise. Especially I’m definitely on the other side of my child rearing years now, and I’ve really resisted exercising recently because when I’ve gone and done, if I go to do exercise, I go all in and then I feel absolutely exhausted and I have to go and nap. It’s like my body’s saying no, I’m thinking okay, work with a cycle around this. But what would you say to somebody who is starting to think about maybe they’re coming to exercise for the first time in a while and they’re like, okay, I’m going to get into this and how do I start? But also even somebody who’s like really regular exerciser but not doing it in a cyclical way, how do you recommend we take those first steps in?

[44:03] Claire: Okay, so this is a great question because I actually just got off a client call with this beautiful client, and she had that the same question. I’m seeing it often now because postcoded, everybody’s sort of gone into their own slumber. And I think exercise is one of the things that it really suffered for most people because there just hasn’t been that group scenario, multiple reasons why. And so there’s so many women out there, and then exactly what you said, they’re going, okay, fine, I’m going all in. I’m going to book the boot camp around the corner, and I’m going to start doing it. And then they go to the one, and then they’re like, oh, ****, this is really hard. And they can’t move before five days, a week after. And then they’re like, oh, I can’t do that again. I’m knackered.

So step one, whatever you do, it doesn’t matter. You don’t even need to listen to your cycle in this scenario is you need to walk away from exercise feeling energized but challenged. Okay? There is no exercise should ever make you feel exhausted. And if you need to nap afterwards, you have gone too hard. And that is always the message. It doesn’t matter what phase you’re in.

So even if you’re in your peak ovulation the absolute way you can smash it, you should never walk away feeling knackered, because that is ultimately not listening to our bodies one bit. So I do not recommend going from nothing to everything. But then what do you do? Because you’re like, okay, ****, I don’t know how to move. I don’t know what to do. So you need to just start gently in this way. Maybe you go for a really fast walk. Maybe you just do 20 squats, ten lunges, five push ups in your house three times, and you just up it slowly. I mean, obviously, I’m a big advocate. I say ask somebody to help write your program or get help in that perspective because I think that’s so valuable. And don’t spend your money on whatever, buying that dress. Spend your money on yourself and get invest in yourself and get advice on how to up your exercise gently. But it should be a progressive return to exercise in every aspect.

And then once we’re into it and you’ve got back into exercise and you’re like, yeah, I’m kicking goals. I’m feeling good. I can challenge myself. I’m not going to die. I don’t feel like I’m sore for two weeks. Because also, by the way, you can get incredible results from never feeling sore. So that old myth, go hard or go home is BS. We can sweep that under the rug. You do not by any means need to go hard or go home. I mean, just me personally, the minute I stopped going hard, I got results. When I was going hard or going home, I was getting okay results, but I was sort of like everybody else, and it just wasn’t really not really amazing. And then when I really listened to my body and started to rest more, my results excelled.

So take that in note and then you can start to listen to your inbuilt cycle. And I think that the beauty of that is I guess most of your listeners will already be charting and they’ll know. But from me, as an education perspective, I really love to educate women on their cycle and get them charging and getting them understanding. Because it’s one thing for you to be in your Follicular phase, but everybody has different sort of hormonal spikes. So you might enter your Follicular phase and on day one of it have crazy energy, whereas the next person might still be feeling a little bit lull, so they might need to start a bit slower and integrate that high intensity a bit later. Does that make sense?

[48:12] Charlotte: Totally makes sense. I think that’s really true. And for me, my spring is always like a slow start. I’m in spring, but I’m still tired, and whatever reason is behind that doesn’t really matter, but that’s my so if I got to spring and on those first couple of days, I can just imagine being a bit like, I’m going to take it gently, but then two days later, I’ll be like, boing, I’m here, I’ve arrived, let’s go. That’s when I would overdo it.

[48:43] Claire: Whatever you do, do not start a new exercise plan in spring. Good tip. I love olive mental.

[48:53] Charlotte: Yeah, amazing. Okay, so if somebody wanted to get an exercise plan, they could come to you, for example. Is that how you work an do you do 1:1 work?

[49:01] Claire: So I just write exercise plans or see them personally as well. Like, I have many clients that I see weekly, daily, but I also have online programs as well. So I’ve created my Hormonal course, which is exercise for your cycle. So that’s got workouts, that’s got yoga flows, that’s also got a lot on understanding your cycle, because what’s the point in exercising with your cycle if you don’t understand it? So, loads of education on just how to chart, how to do the start, the basics, because I think that’s where I was spending a lot of time with clients. I was like, trying to get them to understand it. So now I’ve created this. I’m like, do this and then come to me and then we can do everything personally for you. And then I’ve got my pregnancy courses, trimester three, trimester two and trimester three, which is just training and being the healthiest, best possible you can be during pregnancy. So amazing.

[50:06] Charlotte: That sounds like an incredible body of work. Love that.

[50:11] Charlotte: And so where can people find you to come and check out your work and your Instagram?

[50:16] Claire: Yeah. So you can find me on Instagram. YouTube. Pinterest TikTok. All coachedbyClaire and then my website is coachedbyclaire.com, so that’s where all you’ll find my courses. Otherwise, I’ve just started my YouTube, so there’s only a few videos on there, but I’m aiming to get a lot more out on that. So if you want to do some sessions or anything like that, you can always just go to the YouTube as well, which is really nice.

[51:03] Claire: I mean, I just find this is something I’m a big advocate for, but I just think knowledge is power. So I think the more knowledge that you empower yourself with, the more power you have. So don’t just sit back and don’t just think that you have an issue or don’t just think that you’re fatigued. Really take your power is knowledge and go and educate yourself and go and learn about your own body and really understand what’s happening with it and then start to work with it. Because that’s honestly when the magic happens.

And I know that sounds so cliche and cheesy, but it really is so true. So you don’t have to suffer, you don’t have to be a victim anymore because you literally can just empower yourself with so much beautiful knowledge out there.

[51:57] Charlotte: Received. Thank you. Thank you so much, Claire.

[52:03] Claire: Thank you for having me.

[52:09] Charlotte: Thank you so much for listening in. If you’re loving this podcast and you’d love to help me spread the wisdom shared, please leave a review or rating or share this with somebody who you think would love to listen in. I’m really passionate about creating ripples of change and getting this information to more women, girls and people with a cycle so that they can reclaim their cyclic natures too. And if you’d love to dive in deeper with learning more about how to connect with your cycle and mites of passages, come and  take my free quiz to discover your sacred cyclical leadership style here>

meet your host

Picture of Charlotte Pointeaux

Charlotte Pointeaux

Charlotte Pointeaux is an Internationally Award-Winning triple-Certified Coach, Youth Mentor, Host of Wild Flow Podcast, a sought-after guest menstrual educator and speaker. She is a Shamanic Womancrafter, a Priestess of the Cycle Mysteries.

Charlotte’s work as a Wild Feminine Cycle Coach weaves together shamanic womb healing and rite of passage work with menstrual cycle awareness and feminine embodiment tools, to guide women through their transformational journey of reclaiming their wild feminine cyclic powers to expressing their big magick as a sacred leader.

Charlotte founded First Moon Circles®, a renowned facilitator training program, to train new menstrual educators to prepare, honour and celebrate children and their care-givers at menarche (their first period). To date, she has trained almost 100 facilitators across 5 continents and is on a mission to infuse families, friendships, classrooms and communities with period positivity and menstrually inclusive practices.

Download your free menstrual magick guide by subscribing to my newsletter, and discover my coaching, courses and short classes at www.charlottepointeaux.com/coaching.

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