Cycle syncing your workouts with Courtney Babilya

Mar 18, 2024 | Let's Hear From The Experts

Episode 54: Cycle syncing your workouts with Courtney Babilya

Courtney is a registered nurse and women’s fitness specialist. She provides sustainable fitness programs for women by incorporating menstrual cycle periodization, which means timing your workouts to the four phases of your cycle. As a mom and former athlete, she’s passionate about making fitness accessible to real-world women who are tired of burnout but want to feel strong and healthy.

In this episode:

  • Overcoming an ED and becoming a health expert 
  • Why there’s a need to train around your menstrual cycle 
  • Explaining what a “normal” cycle looks like 
  • Using cyclical fitness to help regulate your cycle
  • Understanding how your hormones impact motivation and exercise performance
  • Approaching fitness without being overly focused on changing body composition
  • Adjusting fitness to the life stage that you’re in and making it fun! 

Links:

Dr. Stacy Sims bookRoar

Courtney’s Keeping Balance Method 

KBM App https://courtneykeepingbalance.com/kbmapp 

Connect with Courtney on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/courtneykeepingbalance/ 

KBM Podcast https://keepingbalance.buzzsprout.com/

Connect with Lindsey Lusson: 

Instagram: @‌food.freedom.fertility
Website: www.foodfreedomandfertility.com/
Twitter: @LindseyLusson
Tiktok: @food.freedom.fertility

Transcript:

Lindsey Lusson 00:00

Can you speak at all Courtney to how the cyclical training can support somebody who’s struggling with an irregular cycle?

Courtney Babilya  00:07

Yeah, absolutely. So the main thing is that this is going to help women be more consistent with exercise and it feels better. They are not constantly fighting their energy. You’re not constantly wondering “why did this workout feel easy last week, and now it is so hard to get through”. So it takes away so many of those barriers. It opens that door up for “Hey, you’re allowed to show up as you are. Who you are every day and it’s okay that you’re different. It’s okay that you’re changing. We’re not expecting you to be the same”.  And so that mindset piece is there, that actual physical piece is there. Now you have a consistent exercise. So with consistent exercise, then you are helping to “balance hormones”, right. That plays so heavily into regular cycles, insulin resistance, all things that play into cycle regularity.

Lindsey Lusson  00:51

Welcome to the Period Recovery and Fertility Podcast. Here we discuss the challenging, rewarding and life changing process of recovering your period and finding freedom with food and exercise. Whether you’re hoping to regain your cycle to get your health back on track, or you’re ready to become a mama, this podcast is for you. While the recovery process isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, it’s my hope to bring you both information and inspiration during your own recovery journey. I’m your host, registered dietitian and fellow HA woman, Lindsey Lusson. 

Lindsey Lusson  01:23

Courtney is a registered nurse and women’s fitness specialist. She provides sustainable fitness programs for women by incorporating menstrual cycle periodization. This means timing your workouts to the four phases of your cycle. As a mom and former athlete she is passionate about making fitness accessible to real world women who are tired and burnt out but want to feel strong and healthy. 

Lindsey Lusson  01:48

Alright, ladies, I am so excited for this episode. I have been wanting to talk about this topic for so long. But it’s something I’m not an expert on. It’s something you guys have asked questions about. And I knew that whenever we covered this, we had to have the right person. So I’m so excited to bring on Courtney, who is going to talk to us all about cycle syncing your workouts and cyclical fitness. Welcome, Courtney!

Courtney Babilya  02:09

Thank you so much. So excited to be here. This is one of my favorite things to talk about. So let’s go!

Lindsey Lusson  02:15

Perfect! Well, why don’t you start by just telling listeners a little bit about kind of you and how you got started in this. You have a huge social media following and you share so much education, your videos are equal parts helpful information and just hilarious. So when did you get started? Why did you get started and how all the things that you’ve done lead you up to what you do today?

Courtney Babilya  02:38

Yeah, so I feel like we have to go way back because as soon as my memories started to form, I was already an athlete, right? I was a gymnast at the time I was itty-bitty. So my whole life growing up as a child was centered around gymnastics. I sacrificed so much. I was homeschooled for gymnastics, doing workouts two times a day. We were really all in with the gymnastics thing. And as I got close to crunch time, whether it was advancing to the next level, or getting a college scholarship, my body and my mind just started to break down. I started accumulating so many injuries. I lost my period for some time and my mental health was just deteriorating as well.

Courtney Babilya  03:19

It got to a point where I knew I had to walk away even though I had spent my whole life up until that point, dedicating myself to this one goal. So I walked away and at around age 17 It really felt like I was going through a midlife crisis. I had absolutely no idea who I was, my identity was just ripped away from me. Even though I was making a decision for myself for my own health, it was just absolutely brutal. I couldn’t fully leave the world of athletics. I became a gymnastics coach.

So I jumped right into helping other ladies. I was 18 years old, but I was the head coach at the high school where I had just graduated from. I was coaching girls who were just like a year or two younger than me, which was so funny. But I was also coaching at another club gymnastics team. So I was still pretty much spending my whole day at gymnastics, but just not as an athlete anymore.

Courtney Babilya  04:08

I just absolutely fell in love with your teaching other girls and other women about movement. About how their bodies, how they move in space, and just the empowerment aspect to have like look what happens when we work hard and when we respect our bodies and treat ourselves with care. Look what we can accomplish and how good we can feel. So that was the whole gymnastics timeline.

But then I went into college, I knew I wanted to focus on health. I thought I was going to be a registered dietician for a long time. I was so passionate about that. My first degree was actually in nutrition. But at the same time, I was struggling hardcore with an eating disorder. This had started forever ago back in gymnastics and how it was just getting progressively worse and it was never addressed. So I decided to get treatment for my eating disorder while I was still in college. While I was still coaching gymnastics. Once I sort of got onto the other side of that I realized that I didn’t want to make nutrition my career anymore. So I went to nursing school. 

Courtney Babilya  05:02

So I chose the emergency room. I was working night shift in the ER for about four years through the COVID pandemic. And then I started having babies. Things just shifted massively for me. Yeah. So the career stuff sort of to migrate with the personal stuff all at this perfect time, right after COVID. So I was really concerned with how I was going to stay active after having a second baby, right. I knew I didn’t want to be in the emergency room anymore. And I was really not wanting to lose that part of me again. I had gotten the athlete back and me. But then I was a new mom of two and I was just overwhelmed. 

Courtney Babilya  05:39

At that time, as I was pregnant, I was starting to think about ways I could work at home. I also started to come across the emerging research of Dr. Stacey Sims, who was talking about a lot of the stuff that we’re talking about today in this episode, which is how women actually respond differently to exercise throughout the month.  How our hormones, and are influenced us in a way that men don’t. And we’ve been taught to exercise like men for so long. This big disconnection there for a lot of women.

So all the puzzle pieces started coming together for me. I just said, Hey, what the heck, let’s dive into this idea of working with your hormones instead of against it. I wound up becoming more consistently exercise than I had ever been. Even when I was an athlete, when I was kind of like going up and down and up and down and starting over and stopping those kinds of things. That wasn’t there anymore. So I realized that not only was I feeling better physically, but my mindset has shifted so dramatically as well that I started to bring this on to social media. I started to develop my course and fitness programs, and it took off from there. Now we have the Keeping Balance Method.

Lindsey Lusson  06:47

That is so amazing. There’s so many things that I want to dig in here to ingest your story. But I want to acknowledge for anybody who’s listening to us, like some dietitians that I love that you in college recognize that nutrition maybe wasn’t the best path for you because of the eating disorder. I just want to acknowledge that our curriculum as dietitians is breeding ground for an eating disorder. There are a lot of dietitians that struggle with disordered eating an eating disorder. It’s important to get help. I mean I think that that’s step one. When you were struggling with that, and getting help was loss of period something that lingered even after you recovered your period? Or did those two things kind of keep pace for you?

Courtney Babilya  07:33

So when I lost my period, I was still competing in gymnastics. I actually got my period back once I started to kind of get injured more often. So I wasn’t training as hard, which is kind of sound backwards. When I stopped training as much, I gained my period back while I was still competing in gymnastics, but I wasn’t training as much. I wasn’t struggling with period locks while I was going through formal treatment. But the thing that was so interesting, and I feel like a lot of people can relate to this is when I did lose my period, when my body was objectively at its unhealthy is when I was crazed the most for the way I looked and for my gymnastics, right?

Courtney Babilya  08:14

Because in that world, coaches want to see lean long lines. And even if I got sick and I had a GI illness or come back having lost a couple of pounds, I would be praised for that, like, oh, you should get sick more often. And so the girls and I, we all kind of shared that losing our periods is kind of it was a badge of honor of that, oh, we weren’t working hard enough. We’re burning so many calories that we don’t even have our periods. And so we walked around as if we were proud of it, which in hindsight, I mean, I just hurt so much for that younger part of me that I didn’t know about her at that time. But that was the reality of how we thought.

Lindsey Lusson  08:51

And we hear that from our cross country athletes that we work with. We hear it from our dancer athletes. The badge of honor gets thrown around quite frequently. Do you think it’s better today? Or do you think it kind of varies per gym per coach?

Courtney Babilya  09:06

I think the environment that the coaches create has so much to do with that. The world gymnastics is changing rapidly with all of the drama that has happened and the tragedy that happened with the abuse, scandals in USA Gymnastics. And so now host Larry Nasser, I think the culture of gymnastics is changing for the better, but it’s still going to vary gym by gym and coach by coach. But I also think that social media has been a very positive thing for that culture, because now there’s more awareness. Everyone’s talking about it. And girls that age, they’re on social media all the time. So it’s almost hard not to come across these now trending topics of cyclical wellness and HA. So yeah, I think it’s improving.

Lindsey Lusson  09:48

I can’t agree with you more. And that’s why I love what you do, because I do think at least for me growing up in my late 30s now, nobody talks about periods. It was this weird thing that everyone had, but if you had a tampon, you’re hiding it on your way to the bathroom. And she thought her period it was just this weird thing. I really think we’re coming out of that time and really seeing periods as information, health information, in some ways, like a superpower. And so with that, let’s segue and talk a little bit about cyclical fitness, training with your menstrual cycle. What is this whole idea? Let’s just start there.

Courtney Babilya  10:30

Yeah, totally. So I alluded to a little bit before, our hormones as women are definitely different than men. Men operate mostly on that 24 hour cycle. Their testosterone is a very touchy actually their testosterone can spike and go down all throughout the day, depending on what they’re around exposed to thinking about. But women, we also have an ingredient for them, which is any biological rhythm that’s longer than 24 hours. So we have that on average 28 day cycle, where we’re going through four distinctive hormonal phases. Now, the different levels of hormones throughout those phases they’re interacting with our environment, and they’re interacting with other things going on in our body at the same time, too. 

Courtney Babilya  11:09

So exercise, we can think about it in terms of how we are feeling energetically, how we’re performing, and then how we’re recovering. You can also branch out into different subtopics from there in terms of your nutrition, your preparation, your programming. It can get very detailed, but I like to explain it in terms of a spectrum. So on one hand, you just have awareness, right?

You’re aware that you may feel different in the gym, and you may be responding to different workouts differently throughout the phases of your cycle. Cool, okay, I’m aware. That at least is giving you some grace with yourself. If, for example, you had a really intense workout plan, and it just it didn’t go that way. You were like, Oh my gosh, I’m dragging everything feels so heavy. Oh, let me look at my cycle date. This makes sense. Now, okay, I can try again later. So there’s that awareness piece. 

Courtney Babilya  11:58

Then you can sort of move down the spectrum where you’re being more proactive about it. Where you can say, Alright, I know I’m going to feel this way here, I’m going to plan my workouts this way. And then you can get on the far end of the spectrum where you professional athletes can get really dialed in and really detailed when it comes down to their macros and very specific movement choices. The women’s, US national soccer team actually uses cyclical fitness. And there was all this news about that a couple years ago, and hello there champions. So it’s really worked for them. But you can get as far barreled in as you want. 

Courtney Babilya  12:30

A lot of people say, well, that’s kind of overwhelming, right, you don’t have to go all or nothing, you can pick and choose the pieces that really impact you that matter to you. Even if it’s as simple as I know that these few days of my cycle, right, leading to my period, I feel more tired, I need more rest. I am not going to plan five days a week of workouts that week. So you can pick and choose. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. But that’s the basic premise. It’s just cyclical fitness is cycle informed fitness.

Lindsey Lusson  12:58

I love that you said that take what’s helpful for you and you don’t have to go all in because myself and so many of the people that I know that have struggled with period loss, we’re all in on everything. Like if it’s macro counting, we’re counting everything down to the gram, we’re way in blueberries, right? So I love the introduction of this with the asterik take what’s helpful for you, build awareness and keep going if you find it’s helpful, but it doesn’t have to be a total overhaul of your routine. So Courtney, can you walk us through, for those who are unfamiliar, because how many of us grew up having no idea basically what was going on in between bleed and bleed, what goes on in the menstrual cycle from the day you start your period to the day you start your next period?

Courtney Babilya  13:45

Yeah, and I’ll caveat this with every woman’s experience is gonna be a little bit different, right? This is gonna be the textbook 28 day cycle. So this doesn’t mean it has to be how you feel throughout the month, but we’ll just run through it. It’s also important to keep in mind too, that the menstrual cycle is alive, it’s always responding to your environment and so even cycle to cycle it can be different. So that being said, we start with day one. Day one is the day you start bleeding, you’re like Okay, gotta go grab something tampon, pad cup, whatever you’re using.

Once you see that flow sorting that is marked as day one. That’s when your hormones estrogen, progesterone, they’re at their absolute lowest. Now, because of those low hormone levels, your energy may be low as well. However, that might mean with those lower hormones that your recovery may be optimized there. So there’s kind of that balance between how am I feeling energetically versus what does the science say my body should be doing right now and we can get more into that later. 

Courtney Babilya  14:43

So you’ll bleed probably between three to seven days. That’s when you start moving into your follicular phase. The follicular phase is when your body is getting ready to ovulate. Estrogen is rising and when estrogen reaches that peak you also get a spike of testosterone. Why nature wants you to want to get on with whoever you see fit to make babies when it’s like, let’s get motivated, let’s get turned on and let’s go. And so you get heightened motivation, heightened energy, confidence, drive competitiveness, all of those things that sound great for being in the gym. But with that, again, there’s always those caveats. With that big spike in hormones, some women might be like, Whoa, and need a little bit of a break there. 

Courtney Babilya  15:27

After you ovulate about 24 hours after ovulation, we’re moving into the luteal phase. So luteal phase is where you are no longer fertile but progesterone is driving, it’s getting your uterus ready to potentially house a baby, let’s get things moving. So your appetite is going to increase because your metabolism is increased. All of your behaviors that used to be focused on finding a partner to make a baby with now their behaviors switch into let’s prepare for this baby. So a lot of women get really organized, they want to deep clean everything they want to kind of stay at home, they’re not feeling as social. 

Courtney Babilya  16:04

Progesterone has been talked about in terms of being a catabolic hormone. So whereas estrogen is anabolic, that helps build muscles. Progesterone is more considered a catabolic hormone, because it can break muscle down, because gotta get tissues to use to build up your uterine lining. So once your body realizes Oh, there actually was no baby here, we did not fertilize this cycle, then your hormones will take a huge dip estrogen progesterone drop again, once they hit their low, your bleed starts and the cycle starts all over again. So as you can see, there’s so much happening between blade to blade, and it’s truly fascinating.

Lindsey Lusson  16:38

It is so fascinating and that was such a great explanation. I also love bringing in that different people can feel a different way during their cycles. And I know that this is something that a lot of our clients who are getting their periods back are having to kind of relearn is it’s like well this information says I’m supposed to feel like this. But really, I feel like this, and I’m like, this is your body. You’re new to having your period back. And so there’s gonna be this big learning curve take that information and have that and know that and understand that your pattern might look a little bit different as your hormones are regulating out. Can you speak at all Courtney to how a cyclical training can support somebody who’s struggling with an irregular cycle?

Courtney Babilya  17:24

Yeah, absolutely. So the biggest thing here is that it’s going to help you stay consistent with exercise. Because a lot of women, they’re like, Okay, I know I need to exercise because of there’s a huge laundry list of benefits from just exercise, right. But if we exercise once, cool. Well, we really want is to be exercising long term. We’re in this for the long haul. And so then you just give a woman a workout plan and it turns out that the peak days are when she’s feeling the least energetic, and her rest week is when she’s ready to go. So it doesn’t make any sense with female physiology to not consider our hormonal fluctuations with programming. 

Courtney Babilya  18:02

And so the main thing is that this is going to help women be more consistent with exercise beacuse it feels better. They’re not constantly fighting their energy. You’re not constantly wondering like why did this workout feel easy last week, and now it is so hard to get through? So it takes away so many of those barriers. It opens that door up for Hey, you’re allowed to show up as you are who you are every day and it’s okay that you’re different.

It’s okay that you’re changing. We’re not expecting you to be the same. And so that mindset piece is there, that actual physical piece is there. Now you have a consistent exercise. Okay, so with with consistent exercise, then you are helping to “balance hormones”, right? You are regulating cortisol. And so that plays so heavily into irregular cycles, insulin resistance, all things that play into cycle regularity.

Lindsey Lusson  18:47

Yeah, well, and I’m also thinking about it from an overtraining lens. Like so many of our clients are not paying attention to how they might be feeling in the luteal phase. So they’re just push, push, push, push, push harder, harder, harder.  The harder the workout, the better. Doesn’t count if you sweat, it doesn’t count if you didn’t burn X number of calories.

I think just thinking about fitness this way of there is a time to slow down your workouts, there is a time to do less weight, there is a time to go for a walk around your neighborhood. So I just love this idea of almost like when you can clue in with your body and your hormones, and they almost kind of being intuitive of yeah, I don’t feel great today. So it’s not the day to go to the gym, or I have an insane amount of energy. I’m gonna try to PR. It just makes so much sense.

Courtney Babilya  19:34

Exactly. Yeah. And the thing is overtraining, too, is that you have to realize that exercise is a form of stress. We know whether or not we like to think of it that way, that’s what it is. That’s why it’s beneficial when we’re using it appropriately. We expose our body to a certain amount of stress and that way we can overcome that stress to make adaptations and to get stronger and fitter, we feel better, but then we hit a point for overtraining. Those adaptations stop happening and then we start to get go down. 

Courtney Babilya  20:01

When you think about it as stress, and you can clue in that that hormone piece too. So in the late luteal phase, like you were talking about, or  from a nervous system standpoint, we’re not as apt to handle that stress. So our body’s already more stressed trying to do all of this work internally, and then you’re gonna add in all of these intense workouts. your body’s gonna say, hey, well hump the brakes. And so you start to see how you’re layering on this stress, maybe unintentionally. But when you just add in the hormonal piece, it just gives you so much more context so that you can make more informed choices for yourself.

Lindsey Lusson  20:36

Yeah. I think that that’s great. Courtney, this whole idea of cyclical training and cyclical fitness is new. We’ll link Dr. Sims, is it Roar? Is that her book? I don’t know if she’s the pioneer of all this. I feel like it’s a new idea. And with the world of social media, where everyone’s an expert on everything, I’m sure you’ve gotten some pushback from people about being like this. What is this? This isn’t evidence base. How do you handle that? And why do you think some people are quick to dismiss this idea? 

Courtney Babilya  21:08

Yeah, well, I think we’re still kind of riding the high of the girl power movement, right? We want to be able to prove that girls can do everything, just like men can, right? We can be in sports, we can be competing, we’re just as strong all that stuff. That’s fantastic. And more women are in sports than ever before. We love this. But that doesn’t mean that we have to train and perform and be the same as our counterparts. It’s just not based in reality. So we can stand in our own power and be awesome, just as we are, right. We don’t have to play this comparison game. And so I feel like people are kind of pushing back against this idea. 

Courtney Babilya  21:44

A part of it is because they’re viewing cyclical fitness and the whole ideology behind it as women are weaker than men. And so that we have to assume that we’re weaker in the luteal phase, we’re not as strong and that we’re limited. That if somehow our capabilities are limited. I’ve had some comments come in saying like, Oh, you know, based off of this research here, wouldn’t it imply that employers wouldn’t want to hire women because in their luteal phase, their brains are changing. So people are taking it to quite the extreme. And as a newer idea, I get it, we’ll go through some growing pains. 

Courtney Babilya  22:20

But to say it’s not evidence base actually isn’t true, because we do have a lot of growing evidence. Now I’ll say that Dr. Sims probably is the pioneer in terms of publishing papers and getting things out there. Look, our heart rates change throughout the menstrual cycle, our resting heart rate and heart rate varies that changes throughout the menstrual cycle, you those are things that you cannot deny. There are studies that have shown that when you train, the study was done on leg extension, I believe, when you do the same amount of workouts in the follicular phase versus the luteal phase, you’ll actually grow your muscles more if you’re training in the follicular phase. And then we have studies coming out saying actually, this particular thing does not change. Endurance in sprinting athletes doesn’t change. 

Courtney Babilya  23:04

So lots of different things happening in the research world. We’re still trying to get there. We have the really macro view in the papers of yeah, we know that women have a different experience than men in terms of our hormones. Like, yeah, this is a fact. We also have really tiny bits of information about yes, this specific biomarker changes here in workouts, but we have yet to come to this middle ground of yeah, women can train differently throughout their cycle. And it’s okay. We have a study that’s actually in the works now, that is going to be measuring women’s body composition and their strengths and the back squat after 16 weeks of doing KVM programming. 

Courtney Babilya  23:45

So my programming from my ensemble program.  So that’ll be one of the first research articles to actually see what is happening when you train over a longer period and what results you get from that. We are still trying to come to this middle ground of okay, well what actually happens when you do train cyclically. And beyond that, I’m not just interested in body composition, right? A lot of the fitness people who are up against that they’re talking about things like strength, output, power output. Okay, that’s fantastic, really interesting. We love to hear it, love to see it, keep working on that. 

Lindsey Lusson  24:22

That’s incredible that you’re going to be part of research study and helping to build upon this idea that it can be a helpful thing for so many people. And so congratulations on that. I also get to how I mean, it’s pretty, pretty evident from your content, if people aren’t following along on Instagram already, they definitely should, just how much you really care about helping women be strong and confident.

And that that doesn’t have to so many fitness programs are about how to get abs or have better thighs, or it’s all about the aesthetic. This has come up in some of my programs is when women start incorporating fitness back in it’s hard to find programs where people where there isn’t an aesthetic component there. And it’s okay if we have those goals, like how can you not have those goals just in the society that we live in? But how wonderful, I just love what you do in the sense that you like to bring it back to how do we feel? are we feeling strong? Are we meeting whatever our individual goals are? And I think that’s beautiful.

Courtney Babilya  24:22

But I also want to know how women are feeling I want to know about their energy levels, how they feel about their bodies. The grace they’ve been giving themselves, the mindset changes how consistent they become with exercise as a result of this. So many things that you can’t measure in a lab actually matter more to me than anything you can measure in a lab. And so that’s kind of where I landed every time like okay, cool. This one study found in a sample size of seven, that cyclical training wasn’t a factor in this one marker. However, I’ve got 1000s of women who said I’ve never been more consistent with exercise in my life because of this change.

Courtney Babilya  26:02

Thank you so much. Yeah. And it’s hard not to right, focus on some of the aesthetic parts of it, especially if you were an athlete in your former life you catch some definition than they are and you’re like, yeah, that’s badass, right. So it’s totally fine to acknowledge that and appreciate that and see the physical manifestations of the work that you’ve been doing. But truly, those massive transformations are truly incredible, right? 

Courtney Babilya  26:27

Like, if Oh, my gosh, I was playing with my kids last week, and I had energy to do it, or I wasn’t in so much pain, I was able to move around more. Or someone told me I don’t have headaches anymore. I’ve been so balanced with my exercise regimen, that I don’t get the hormonal headaches, I don’t have raging back pain or cramps. Everything is just my experience living inside my body day to day has improved. And you truly you can’t put a price tag on that you can’t put, you can’t compare a before and after picture for things like that. But that’s really what we’re getting out here. So I appreciate you saying that and recognizing that.

Lindsey Lusson  27:03

The things about just like you said, less hormonal symptoms during your cycle, like being able to lift your kids, those are outcomes that are going to stick with us for a long Term versus lose 10 pounds and look good in a bikini and then you gain getting the new low. Here we are. Talk a little bit about KBM. What is KBM stand for? What is the program? Is it basically exactly what you described with the cyclical fitness or what’s different about kind of you and your program? 

Courtney Babilya  27:30

Yeah, so KBM is Keeping Balance Method. On that name came from actually a gymnastics blog that I started I remember I was going through quite a crisis. The only way I knew how to handle that huge transition was through writing. So I started blogging when I was 16/17. And I call that keeping balanced as a play on words for the balance beam and talking about that transition. So when I created this business, this is truly a manifestation of everything that’s happened in my life, right? It’s just this huge conglomeration. And so it makes sense to me to name it Keeping Balance Method. 

Courtney Babilya  28:05

And on my app, you can choose from a number of different programs. One is a membership, where you have these flexible workout vaults, so it’s like a giant library of workouts, but they’re divided into the phases or intensity level. So it’s great doing it that way because that way someone who’s on ovulation can go into the high intensity vaults, but someone who does not feel great during ovulation can go into the low intensity vault so you really can be customed to you, that you can choose from a wide variety of styles between strength training and hybrid cardio, all of the things mobility.

Or if you’re more of a strength training, barbell, progressive, overload gal like me, I have my unstoppable series. So I have Unstoppable Volume One, which is 12 week program. And I just released today on presale, actually, Volume Two, which is going to be a 16 week add on to that. So it the whole journey together is seven months of progressive overload that all lives on my app. So it’s available in Apple Store or Google store called Keeping Balance Method.

Lindsey Lusson  29:08

Amazing. That’s so so cool. And I feel like your community online is also really big. Do you also offer online community as part of the app or is it just the app?

Courtney Babilya  29:18

100% So there is community in there that way you can get support from other KBM members or from me. If you’re going to any of the fitness programs, you can always shoot me a DM on the app and say, Hey, can you watch this exercise? I’m not sure of my form. I will coach you through it. Just a huge big aspect to it. Because you know what? We’re always stronger together, right? Like no one can go through this whole thing alone, let alone this brand new world of cyclical fitness. So the goal is to make it as welcoming as possible and we’re all in this together. 

Lindsey Lusson  29:47

And that is incredible. Do you have people in your KBM app community program that are also struggling with Amenorrhea or would this program maybe not be for someone who has no cycle?

Courtney Babilya  29:59

So I have a ton of women all over the map with where their cycles are amenorrhea coming off of birth control still on birth control in perimenopause, PCOS. Because of how you can switch up the different styles and intensity levels, it can mimic a cycle. That way, if someone’s struggling with amenorrhea, can still get that benefit of the balanced approach to exercise and going through these different intensity levels so that you’re not overtraining. So there’s definitely a huge benefit there. 

Lindsey Lusson  30:28

Well, and I’ve even thought about that.  There are people who can train and get their period back and there are people who have to do the very minimum to get their period back a little bit different there. But I have thought about that several times, just in watching your content. I’m like, wow, I wonder this could totally be a starting point, right? Because if somebody is pounding their body into the ground, seven days a week, and then they switch to actually tuning in and listening and having a variety of different workouts like that is a really good step in the right direction. 

Lindsey Lusson  30:56

So I could definitely see that would be helpful. Just having experience period loss and an eating disorder yourself,  do you have any tips for our listeners, Courtney,on developing a healthier relationship with movement? I hear so often kind of one of two things in recovery from an eating disorder and from HA is that people never give fitness up and set in the day never get their period back, or they never really change. It’s always a really disordered relationship with fitness. It’s always about changing my body and this, that and the other. Or people go completely,  180, they give it all up and they’re terrified to exercise again. So what are some things that have been helpful for you and anything you could leave listeners with on just changing your mindset and developing a healthier relationship with movement?

Courtney Babilya  31:45

Oh, yeah, man, I wish I had something one magical thing to say this is could be a whole episode, right. And I just, I feel for women who are in that stage. We come to realize, as we grow that exercise, it serves us in different ways in different parts of our life, right. And so the way that it used to serve you may not serve you anymore, and that’s okay.

It feels like a loss, truly when you go from being this hard hitting athlete, and that’s your whole identity, and then you shift into something that has to serve you now for the body that you live in today. It feels like a loss. And so I would say allow yourself to grieve that. It’s okay you’re losing a part of you, but it’s not gone forever, you’re just temporarily making a shift for yourself, and that’s okay. 

Courtney Babilya  32:34

When you make that choice from an empowered place, it’s helpful to know a little bit easier as opposed to feel like you’re forced out of it. Digs with some injury or an illness. But it’s not all or nothing, like we said, we can get back to a place where it’s serving you in a way that feels best. But it’s just about growing with your body and understanding. It’ll kind of in the back of your mind that you’re you’re holding former versions of yourself, you’re holding her hand, and you’re taking her with you on this journey, like she’s ever going to be gone, she learned lessons for you back then so that you can make better choices today for you.

So it’s just, it’s a whole spiritual journey, I’m not gonna lie to you. I’ll get emotional, if I keep going on. But it’s one day to look back. And I wish that I had written letters to myself, so I had more evidence in front of me to speak to but one thing, I look back and you’ll say,  what we did this, we got here, we did this together, and we’re okay.

Lindsey Lusson  33:26

That is incredible. I love that. And we talk a lot about that too, in my group coaching program about mourning the loss of your former identity, because it is that way for a lot of people that struggle with food and body and exercise addiction. But also knowing too, that just like food, and your relationship with food is going to evolve. It’s always going to be there.

These aren’t things that you’re going to say goodbye to forever, but it’s going to evolve over time. And I also love what you said about things, it looking different at different times, because I do have clients too, that are Oh, well, I’m just not going to train like this right now. So I can get pregnant. But then once I have a kid, I can get back to everything that I was doing. I’m kind of like, as a mom of three, you were going to have limited time and resources and that in preparing and understanding and coming to terms and realizing that that can be a new exciting challenge, I think is is important for people to understand.

Courtney Babilya  34:23

Yeah, absolutely. I like framing it that way of new opportunities and new challenges to work through and, and finding the fun in it too. That’s one piece that we forget is have fun, because if it’s not fun, it’s not enjoyable then hey, like it’s Oh, who’s winning here? Right? What is the point? Yeah, so I feel like sometimes you have to  get a little bit more childlike and more playful with how you approach movement. Whether it dance parties with your kids in the kitchen or trying new things just coming back to that place of fun and enjoyment can be really healing too.

Lindsey Lusson  34:55

Yes. 100%. Well, Courtney, how can listeners learn more about KBM and you? Where do you hang out the most on? Is it Instagram? Where can people go to learn more? 

Courtney Babilya  35:07

Yeah, I hang out on Instagram. I’m @courtneykeepingbalance. You can also download my app for free called Keeping Balance Method. It’s in Apple and Google stores. It’s free to download. There’s a free course that you can watch in there talks about cyclical fitness and how fitness and your hormones interact. And there’s also a seven day free trial on my membership.

Lindsey Lusson  35:27

Amazing and we’ll get those linked in the show notes. So thanks so much for coming on and talking to us today. I know so many people are going to want to download your app, get into your workouts and get into cyclical fitness. So thanks again so much for your time.

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MEET THE HOST
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I’m a fertility nutritionist and registered dietitian who specializes in hypothalamic amenorrhea. My passion is helping women trying to conceive find freedom with food and exercise, so they can recover their period, and get pregnant naturally.

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EPISODE 1: MY RECOVERY STORY

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