#OnMyPeriod as an NCAA Student Athlete

#OnMyPeriod as an NCAA Student Athlete

Kyndal McKnight (she/her)

Kyndal wanted to share her story as an NCAA track & field student athlete, who also gets a period once a month! A true period powerhouse.

Introduce yourself! Who are you & what do you do?

I am a triple jumper for the Louisiana State University (LSU) track & field team. I’m currently a civil engineering major & a plant mom. I enjoy nature, fitness, fashion & beauty.

How did you find your passion and purpose?

As a child I was always on the move whether it be for Girl Scouts, track meets, basketball games, science fairs, etc. As I got older I just found passion & purpose in being active & outside.

How does menstruation exist in your life?

I dread my cycle every month because I feel almost non-functional for the first two days. I have pretty severe cramps, mood swings, and fatigue these days, in addition to the typical period mood swings – I really don't feel like myself. My breasts start to swell and become really tender which isn't fun when we have to lift weights. I usually know the day before my cycle starts because my back starts to hurt really bad as well.

During pre-menstruation, I try to mentally prepare to know that I’ll have to struggle for a few days. It's important to mentally prepare so that, 1) I don’t project on my teammates when I’m not in a good mood and 2) I don't feel like a wimp when I feel like I can't do something the way I usually would. My cycle definitely impacts my ability to perform during practice. Sometimes I’m unable to complete workouts because I just feel like I need to lay down.

Have you ever been on your period during a competition? How did you manage that? What was the result?

I might just be really lucky but I have never started my period on an actual competition day. I've had to compete with my period but it'll usually be the last couple days so I can just wear a regular tampon and be okay and not uncomfortable. If I were to start my period on a competition day, I’d probably change my tampon every hour because I feel like the more I move around the more likely I am to bleed through.

Do you have a funny period story?

The first time I started cramping I didn’t know what it was & it was uncontrollable & almost unbearable. Nobody was home so I was about to call the ambulance because I thought it was my appendix or something.

What period products do you like to use best when you’re training? Was there ever any debate among your other athlete friends about which products to use?

I have found it best for me to only use pads on the first 2-3 days of my period. I used to not ever want to workout in pads but I've learned that my period is much shorter when I use pads only. Because of track, I use tampons when it starts to get lighter, so that it doesn't feel weird working out. Sometimes it is uncomfortable to train in pads but I just put on two pairs of spandex so that I don't feel the pad shift when I'm running, jumping or lifting.

Most of my teammates use super ultra tampons, but I don't find them comfortable. I feel like it's kind of a basic thing among athletes to use and carry tampons though because they are more functional for the movement we’re doing.

Are there often products available to you in goodie bags at competitions? Or in training facility bathrooms?

Surprisingly, I have never received any period products as a courtesy for competition goodies but I feel like that's a great idea because probably half the menstruating athletes competing will be on their period.

How did you discover August & what’s your favorite product of ours?

My mom actually purchased products a couple months ago! She brought me some while I was at school and then I saw the brand on social media & I loved it! I used the pads & had no problems at all. I really like that the products are environmentally sustainable.

What advice would you give to younger menstruators who are pursuing athletics out there?

Don’t be afraid to let people know you're on your period! Especially in stressful situations. For younger athletes, I would suggest really making sure to plan a routine on how you would like to deal with your period on days where you practice and compete. Always pack extra clothes! If you have an intense period, I would suggest taking pain relievers the day before you start, if you're in good health for it. Being proactive always makes things a little better for me.

Thanks ❤️❤️

Thanks to Kyndal from LSU track & field for sharing her story as a menstruating athlete. Good luck in your future competitions!

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