Sara Sigmundsdottir has already vomited three times after a workout due to period cramps.
The CrossFit athlete lost her period for two years when she first took up the sport.
Where you are in your menstrual cycle can impact competitions, she told Insider.
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Icelandic CrossFit athlete Sara Sigmundsdottir said she lost her period for two years when she started competing in 2015.
She told Insider that the overtraining and under-recovery resulted in functional hypothalamic amenorrhea – which resulted in her breaking a rib.
“It was my first big injury because my body was not recovering,” she said. “When you mess up your menstrual cycle it’s a sign your body is not eating enough, your hormones are out of balance.”
After she finally recovered her period, she took a 20-minute test on a Wattbike and vomited three times afterward.
“I pushed through the pain the whole time,” she said.
“I was like, ‘I’m not going to let this get the better of me.’ But I was throwing up from the pain and it makes you so angry because you can’t control it. “
She now takes the approach of accepting the pain when it occurs and doing her best.
Sigmundsdottir feared training would affect his fertility
Sigmundsdottir said at the time that she feared she might not have her period because she wanted a “big family” in the future and worried that her career would affect her chances.
She went to a doctor, but was told that losing her period “is very normal for athletes.”
A year later, she broke her rib.
Sigmundsdottir finally recovered her period after testing her bone density and taking the pill to regulate her hormones, but it “spoiled my emotions,” she said.
She is now closely monitoring her menstrual cycle, and if two or three months go by without a period (which tends to happen before a competition), she knows she is out of balance and needs to train less and eat more.
Having your period makes it harder to compete
CrossFit competitions involve an array of sometimes back-to-back disciplines, including running, swimming, and weightlifting. Having your period for a swim event is particularly uncomfortable, said Sigmundsdottir.
Where you are in your menstrual cycle can make it even harder to compete.
“It can affect anything,” Sigmundsdottir said. “The week before your period starts, you’re weak. And then there’s the pain that follows. There are so many different variations that affect your performance, as guys go out and compete and go for it.”
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