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Episode 8 – Women’s health: bringing awareness to your cycle for improved wellbeing with Melissa Mushanski

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Episode 8

In Episode 8 of the Life of Tania Podcast, I sit down with Biologist and Health Coach, Melissa Mushanski to discuss women’s health, menstrual cycles, and how bringing awareness to our menstrual cycle can improve health and wellbeing. We discuss CrossFit, nutrition, hormones, PMS, fertility, and stress management.

This episode is a treat for the ladies, but I suspect that spouses and partners may benefit too. We walk you through exercise, nutrition and supplementation strategies for each phase of your menstrual cycle. We talk about the best and worst times to do high intensity workouts, to try new diets, and to take up social activities. We also got nostalgic talking about CrossFit, FrostFit, and how our training priorities change and the seasons change. I loved recording this episode!

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More About Melissa

Melissa’s journey in the world of health and fitness has evolved over 25 years from tae kwon-do to CrossFit and olympic weightlifting to hand balancing, and a joy of movement.  Through all the ups and down with mental and physical blocks encountered on her fitness journey, holistic nutrition and self-awareness has become a constant source of self-healing and empowerment.

Her experiences and knowledge acquired throughout this journey have focused on the importance of body awareness, food as medicine, women’s menstrual health and everyday stress management to help others to take their health into their own hands and live their best lives.

Melissa is a good friend of mine, and a go-to resource when it comes to gut health, food sensitivities, and hormonal health. Melissa is not only knowledgeable in health and nutrition, she has a special connection with nature. She is wetlands biologist, and as we discover in the episode, a witch. Have a listen!


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What We Talk About in this Episode

  • Melissa’s athletic career, starting with Tae Kwon Do, then transitioning to CrossFit. 
  • The moment Melissa realized that her approach to CrossFit was too much for her body in that season of her life.
  • Why how you approach CrossFit can have a huge impact on what you get out of it and how some people can’t just do CrossFit “casually”.
  • How CrossFit can be the “gateway drug” for fitness generalists, and be a catalyst for a greater level of self-awareness around movement, holistic health, and wellbeing.
  • What Melissa wishes she knew about food years ago.
  • The dangers of dieting dogma, why dieting labels can backfire.
  • Coming full circle with CrossFit, what Greg Glassman really intended.
  • The last thing a nutrition coach wants to hear when working with a client – it’s not what you think.
  • An unexpected cure for migraines.
  • How your ancestry, your genes might impact food sensitivities.
  • How women’s menstrual cycle complicates their approach to nutrition.
  • What kinds of workouts women should do during their period and the other parts of their monthly cycle.
  • Why you shouldn’t feel guilty about missing workouts during certain parts of your cycle.
  • The 4 stages of the menstrual cycle; menstruation, follicular stage, ovulation, luteal stage.
  • The best time in your cycle to do high intensity workouts, longer endurance workouts, try new workouts.
  • Why you feel more social during parts of your cycle.
  • Where PMS symptoms come from and what you can do about it.
  • Best and worst times to start a new nutrition regime or elimination diet.
  • Estrogen-progesterone balance, how it affects fertility, PMS symptoms and your ability to lose those saddlebags.
  • A few easy things you can do to reduce exposure to toxins.
  • Just say no to receipts, and other things you can do to reduce exposure to xeno-estrogens.
  • How to support natural detoxification, start with gut health.
  • Nutritional support for balanced hormones during various parts of the menstrual cycle.
  • Anti-inflammatory strategies for the first half of your cycle: bone broth, ginger tea, tart cherry juice, omega-3 fatty acids
  • Detox strategies for the second half of your cycle: finer, and liver support, stinging nettle tea, cruciferous veggies.
  • The importance of managing blood sugar and stress for a healthy menstrual cycle.
  • How your period is a “report card” for your health

This Week’s Listener Challenge

This week, our challenge is for our female listeners to start tracking their periods, if they aren’t already. This can be a game-changer when it comes to mood, nutrition, and fitness. Tag me @life_of_tania or hashtag #lifeoftania.  If this is something that our listeners are interested in, Melissa and I would be happy to create a checklist and worksheet to help you work through the processes we talked about in this episode. Feel free to DM us on social or post to comments.

People & Things We Mention in this Episode

Coach Luke Rosmo – If you are in Regina and are in need of a great coach, both Melissa and Tania agree, check out Coach Luke at OPEX Regina.
FrostFit at CrossFit Winnipeg – Melissa first stepped foot at North Star Fitness, Home of CrossFit Winnipeg when competing in the our famous FrostFit competition.
Angie – The Classic CrossFit Workout we DON’T recommend doing during your period.
Skin Deep cosmetic database – A wonderful resources for anyone wanting to reduce toxin exposure from beauty products, if you have mood disorder, PCOS, fertility issues, PMS, or are having problems losing weight while eating well, this is a good place to start.

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Here’s How To Subscribe & Leave A Review

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Let’s Keep The Conversation Going…

How long have you been working out?  How has your view of fitness changed over the years?  I would love to hear all about it and I’m sure others would too. Comment below and share your story or visit me on Instagram which is currently my favourite way to connect.  You can also join our free online community to connect with Winnipeg fitness and wellness buffs just like you to ask questions, share wins and struggles and get lots of support from me and my team! I hope to see you there.

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