I grew up in the United States and started doing ballet when I was four years old. It was probably my first love. My family moved to the UK when I was 14 and I moved away from ballet. I got married young and had my children and my priorities changed. I just stopped exercising, stopped moving.
Your then-husband and I met in Craughwell, County Galway over 20 years ago. I live here now with my 18 year old partner and four children, who are 23, 21, 16 and 11. I have no Irish connection. I just think it’s a great place to raise kids.
In my 30s, I decided to retrain and graduated as a Nutrition Therapist, Fitness Instructor, and Personal Trainer, with certification for prenatal and postnatal training.
In 2016, I created Fittsteps Training studio in Craughwell, mainly for moms. i wdesigned to create a slightly softer and more practical place for women.
We have a great community now, but Covid-19 has changed everything. However, we got the whole community online and it was great to see how some moms loved the convenience of not having to travel to class, and so many kids participated as well.
For me, it was a huge change. Not more than many people working for themselves, all of that certainty and routine of work was washed away overnight. It was difficult to find consistency and stability in my own life.
I taught everything online run myself and I was getting tense and sore and I found it difficult. I noticed a pattern that consistently matched my menstrual cycle. I realized that I had to work with the cycle of my menstrual phases, and my life just got a lot easier.
We think of our menstrual cycle as PMS and then a period, but there is a cycle of about four weeks of four different phases, where your body is capable of different things and craves different things.
So in terms of exercise, instead of having the same exercise goal week after week, I would be doing intervals one week, mobility another, or recovery or cardio. I rode my bike for myself and soon my tightness, pain and injuries were gone. I also adapted my food to the different nutritional needs each week.
There isn’t enough education about what goes on with our bodies during the cycle, and not just physically, but emotionally and nutritionally. Hormones affect everything from our muscles to our brain to our digestive system.
Elite athletes have all of this information, but why shouldn’t all women have it? It’s about finding consistency in an ever-changing flow. It’s about working with your body rather than fighting it.
In 2016, I set up the Fittsteps Training app as a way to bring it all together in one place where a woman could understand her cycle as part of her life. Schedules and conventional plans are always in a straight line, but women work in a circle. We try to function like a round peg in a square hole, but it’s counterintuitive. We end up feeling bad that we can’t keep up with the workout or the diet.
We’re not bad or broke the weeks when we can’t do heavy weights or want to eat certain things, it’s just that we’re not listening to what our bodies are telling us.
If you get our app you get workout plans based on moon phases and your menstrual cycle. There’s a personalized nutrition plan, and you can even choose to receive meal plans and shopping lists at the touch of a button, taking the stress out of organizing a healthy meal for the whole family.
I so often hear women say that they don’t have time to take care of them and I want to change that.
I want women to see themselves as an individual. Too often we separate into family, our work, ourselves. Hopefully the app will allow women to put all the pieces together and find this feed.
The Flow app can be downloaded from fittstepstraining.com. Various plans are available, depending on your fitness, nutrition or even stress management needs or needs, with meditations, meal plans, daily 10-minute workouts and related activities. at the full moon.
In conversation with Sarah Caden