050 – Dr Clare Minahan (PhD) – What Are The Unique Physiological Differences Of Female Athletes?

FIFTIETH EPISODE SPECIAL!!

Antony and I were thrilled to talk to Clare Minahan, PhD Scientist and champion for women in sport.

Clare Minahan is an Associate Professor at Griffith University, Queensland Australia, and has led the Griffith Sports Science group since 2002. Clare’s interests are in the advancement of human performance with a key focus on the determinants of performance in female athletes. She has documented unique responses to exercise in female athletes including muscle damage, thermoregulation and immune function. Clare is a founding member of the Australian Institute of Sport’s Female Performance and Health Initiative.

Some of the topics we cover in this episode include:

  • some of the differences between male and female athletes in terms of how they respond to training and recovery
  • how the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) influences things like thermoregulation, immune function and recovery from acute bouts of intense exercise
  • how the hormones fluctuate over the menstrual cycle and how this may influence training choices
  • why training needs to be individualised and based on tracking of the athlete’s cycle
  • that around 50% of athletes are on the OCP, so we need to understand better the effects. Clare also discusses the different generations of OCP and acknowledges that these will have different effects on the athlete (there are at least 35 different types of OCP just in Australia!)
  • how female athletes are at a 3x increased risk of ACL injuries. Studies showing that landing strategies seem to changes during teenage years for girls. This could also be related to hormonal changes – there are some studies showing increased risk during late follicular phase- but there is still much more to learn on this. Could also be related to changes in body composition through the teenage years
  • females with higher circulating levels of testosterone. Do they have a competitive advantage?
  • the advantage of having a regular menstrual cycle in terms of giving us a picture of our health. Withdrawal bleed while on OCP is not the same thing.
  • if not able to properly track menstrual cycle due to OCP use, Clare talks about other ways that we can monitor for RED-S (hint: performance, fatigue, mood, immune function)
  • why it’s important to get the basics right (sleep, nutrition, stress etc) before manipulating your training around the menstrual cycle

If you would like to get in touch with Clare, you can best contact her on twitter @clareMINAHAN
or via the Griffin University website.
[email protected]

049 – Amanda Thebe – The Menopocalypse Is Coming For You!

On this podcast, we chat to Amanda Thebe, fitness professional and author of the book Menopocalypse: How I Learned to Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too!

Amanda has over twenty years of experience in the fitness industry. She is a popular guest on podcasts and online summits, and her health and fitness tips have been featured in media outlets like Shape, Prevention, Healthline, and Global News. She lives in Houston, Texas.

In this episode we talked about:

  • Amanda’s recent experience with COVID-19 and how it knocked her for six for a few months. The post-viral syndrome left Amanda with a lot of fatigue and she struggled with daily activities for a long time, but is thankfully now on the mend!
  • her story about when she first started experiencing symptoms of menopause (ie migraines, vertigo and depressions) and how it took two years and several health practitioners to find the answers she was looking for
  • how surprised she was to find out that she was perimenopausal at the age of 42 and how so few people were talking about the subject! This led Amanda on a journey of discovery – she dived deep into the literature to learn more about menopause so that she could help herself and others. This led to her writing a book on it!
  • the frustration that Amanda felt when she couldn’t find the answers to what was going on. She felt so much despair and thought that she was going to be feeling like that forever.
  • how little medical professionals get trained on the topic of menopause -including the management. But this seems to be changing in the UK with new guidelines and mandatory training
  • some of the common symptoms that women experience through the perimenopausal period (that no-one talks about!), such as vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
  • what happens to oestrogen and progesterone during the perimenopausal period. Amanda also talks about leptin and ghrelin and how these hormones can impact our hunger and satiety cues.
  • some of the physiological and psychological changes that occur through the perimenopausal period and how we can become more susceptible to things like cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers disease and osteoporosis
  • the controversy around hormone therapy, how the medication has changed over time and how incredible helpful it is for so many women
  • how physical and emotional stress can impact on symptoms during perimenopause – and some things that you can do to reduce these!
  • why women tend to put on weight around menopause and how there is often a change in body shape around this time.
  • how perimenopause can be a tough time for many women as they are often not only working and raising children, but also looking after elderly parents too. She discusses how useful it can be for women to spend some time exploring their values (see website below) and learn to make values-based decisions. And say no!

Resources
Menopocalypse book! (BUY HERE: https://www.fitnchips.com/books/)
Oestrogen matters – Dr Blooming and Dr Tavris
XX Brain book – Dr Lisa Mosconi
www.viacharacter.org
www.valuescentre.com

You can find Amanda at
fitnchips.com

[email protected]