BY ASMA KASSAM
As society encourages women to be smart, successful, healthy, etc —it only portrays the masculine approach to achievement of these cultural ideals. Sky high career goals, maintain a regular fitness regimen, aim to CRUSH each day, be structured, be logical, not emotional. These principles mainly work for a male’s biology. When women adopt these societal norms, they shift out alignment with their health. The answer is not in counting calories or workout intensity, it is bringing the body function back into alignment with the feminine.
Having worked with 100’s of women over ten plus years in my fitness business, I have discovered there is one huge missing link in the way that we approach women’s fitness.
We know men and women are biologically different, yet we train women like we do men. We have forgotten about the unique, cyclical nature of women’s biology. Forgetting this has spread infertility, menstrual problems, weight gain, digestive discourse, disconnection with the body, injuries, followed by overpowering menopause which all then cost hundreds and thousands of dollars in alternative therapies and remedies. This is a conversation relevant to all women in their reproductive years – age 12-50.
When I first entered the fitness industry while doing my Kinesiology degree, my intention was to learn the secrets on how to get “ripped.” I experimented with all the programs, diets, 10k’s and half marathons. In 2012, I experienced a traumatic injury after my half marathon, which I now know was the universe’s calling me up to step into my higher self—a leader in women’s fitness, educating women on how to tap into the wisdom of their own body. See, currently, women are working and working out like little men—which is pushing us out of hormonal balance.
My injury left me bed-ridden for eight months. This was mentally and physically challenging as I was a busy body. The good news was I got my period back after losing it to Female Athlete Triad Syndrome which occurs when active females exhibit the triad of – loss of period, energy deficit, and low bone density. While recovering however, I began sleeping better, and my bowel function improved, yay for clearing toxins. According to friends visiting, I had a “natural glow” which was nice since I was only 27. You can tell a lot from someone’s face. Our skin is the biggest organ in the body. If it is out of balance that is an indication that there is internal discourse.
Over the course of my rehabilitation, I was able to be in full acceptance of my situation as earlier that year I read Eckhart Tolle’s book – A New Earth. This book initiated a lot of changes in my life and my busy schedule. I’m still not perfect in that area, especially because I love what I do. Now I incorporate more flow in my work and workouts, creativity, breathwork, and less long days.
When I recovered from my injury, I built a thriving fitness business where we focused on movement, mobility, fascial stretching, calisthenics. As we grew, so did my stress levels.
I had been down that road before and was vocal over social media about topics such as sleep, stress, nutrition, adrenal health, hormones, female trial syndrome, injury healing, emotional and physical trauma.
I worked with a lot of women in their 30’s and 40’s and heard all the same challenges. I searched deeper into women’s health. Why is so much work to lose 5lbs? Why do so many of my clients have fertility issues?
Coincidentally, in my personal life I had faced a few too many relationship lessons and began to delve deeper into personal development. I eventually got to the concept of masculine-feminine polarities. I learned that I was functioning mostly in my masculine – hard driving, goal-oriented, structured, strong willed, focused. In my fitness, I was the same. As I yearned to fix this troubling imbalance, I realized it took a lot of conscious work but the payoff was amazing. As I began to align more with my feminine and less with my masculine, I began sleeping better, my digestive stagnation disappeared, my mental fog that I didn’t know I had was gone, my ever struggling 1 pull up turned into 8, I fed myself intuitively and unlearned all the ‘nutrition principles’.
Listening to body intuition becomes a lot more digestible when women first become educated on their biological rhythm – the menstrual cycle. During each phase, what I call our Queen Bee hormones – estrogen and progesterone fluctuate. The menstrual phase for example is like our winter season, where our estrogen and progesterone are low, and the body naturally retreats inward. Energetically this is a time to practice rest, nourish our body, and prioritize the mental and physical demands.
One invitation I give to all women to soften into their feminine is to simply start by feeling more, and thinking less. When you look at your tasks for the day, how do you FEEL about each one. One of my favourite quotes is “elevation requires separation.”
As society encourages women to be smart, successful, healthy women —it only portrays the masculine approach to achievement of these cultural ideals. Sky high career goals, maintain a regular fitness regimen, aim to CRUSH each day, be structured, be logical, not emotional. These principles mainly work for a male’s biology. When women adopt these societal norms, they shift out alignment with their health. They are then promoted a diet or a remedy to overcome the challenge when in fact the answer is not in calories or the workout intensity, it is bringing the body functions back into alignment with the feminine.
Stumbling across the polarities and feeling the effects of shifting, I find it close to useless to count reps and sets in the gym when the body is out of alignment. Yes, regular movement is important as is eating high quality nutritious foods.
In reality, when the internal body is aligned, we burn fat easily, our energy flows, we are physically strong, we regulate stressors, and sleep restfully.
My work now is to make the information relevant and applicable to all women so we can find true alignment in our health and fitness.