How To Talk To Our Teen Girls About Body Image, Fitness & Wellness w/ FemFit Founder Mikilah Speer
In Episode 3 of our podcast, FemFit Founder Mikilah Speer, helps us understand the importance of having open conversations with teen girls about body image and healthy fitness. Find out why FemFit was created as a safe space and how it helps encourage teens girls and women to workout without judgement.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Launching Better Parents with Ashlee Tate, founder of Launchpad for Kids, exploring today's issues and trends affecting our children, finding answers to real parenting challenges, because the more we educate ourselves, the better we can educate our children.
Ashlee Tate (00:34):
Okay, so we are on with Mikilah Speer, and she is the founder and owner of F Fit Redding. And I'm so excited to talk to you today, Mikilah, because I think you're gonna help so many parents figure out what to talk about with their kids when it comes to fitness and health and body image and all those things. So tell us a little bit about what Fit, fit FEM FIT is and like why you decided to start this in Redding and what you were trying to fill with that business.
Mikilah Speer (01:05):
Yeah. So Fem Fit Redding is an all women's strength and conditioning gym. We obviously have a heavy focus on women, but we also offer classes for teen girls. And I train local teens in the area for sport specific training. I've always been an athlete. I grew up in Redding playing sports. At Enterprise High School I played volleyball, basketball, softball, and then I went on to play college basketball. So I was always a very sport specific focused athlete. And then after college I found CrossFit and strength training, and it really spoke to me. And I dove full, full bore, just went in all the way and got really competitive and just started to just learn a lot of the sport, the, the type of training. I got certified. And then I, and then I got married and I had kids and I had my, I got pregnant with my first baby and I thought to myself, I can't be doing the things that I have been doing, like continuously while I'm pregnant. Like, this just doesn't feel right. You know, you have that maternal instinct initially as soon as you get pregnant. And I just found that there was not a lot of information regarding exercise and pregnancy. The information I did find was very outdated. I talked to my doctor and my doctor would say, just keep doing everything you're doing. And I'm like, okay, hang on a second buddy. I need you to, I need you to see what I'm doing though, which is, yeah, let's
Ashlee Tate (02:38):
Go a little deeper.
Mikilah Speer (02:38):
Know reps of pull-ups and, you know, heavy power cleans, you know, so I just thought, this can't be correct and information. And so I just started to do my own research and I started to dive in and I found birth fit. And they are a, a culture, a certification a community who supports women training through pregnancy and postpartum. So it's very holistic, a lot of information. It was like, yes, this is what I'm looking for. Yeah. so I had the baby and still the in for the lack of information sort of was like, not there, especially for those postpartum stages. And so with birth fit, I was able to get certified and really start to dive into what it looks like to train during pregnancy and postpartum for a woman. But then it was even deeper than that. It was training looks different for women mm-hmm.
, and there's not a lot of information about that, right? So women, we have menstrual cycles, right? This gives us an ebb and flow of energy throughout the month, throughout the day, and we need to listen to those energies in order to train differently. And I just started realizing there wasn't a lot of information or support specifically for exercise and women's health. And I think those two things come together in a way that looks different than, Hey let's get into that bounce back body, or Here's a way to lose 20 pounds fast. Or, you know, all of these gimmicks that are out there right. That are not really supporting women in the way that they needed to be supported. And my mindset was always like, what can I do? How does it look different when I, I have a goal that's like, I wanna do a box jump.
I wanna run a fast mile. I want to lift heavy things. Yeah. And that always shifted my mindset away from what I looked like. And those things came, but I just started to realize that there was a need for this. And I was always coaching at CrossFit gyms. And so I, I started a class for women at a CrossFit gym that I was at. And then and then that kind of turned into larger and larger classes. I had more babies. So I have three kids in three years was a little aggressive, but it kind of took me out of the game for, for a little bit. And while I was taking a break, I still had these women reaching out to me and they're like, Hey, are you still training women? Like, are you still doing that? I really want some support. I really, so there was women that were like me that were feeling the same way, right?
Like, how, you know, we need extra support. There's nothing out there like that. And so I started just doing some personal training from my garage during covid times when a lot of gyms were shut down and one-on-one personal training grew into classes of eight women that I was running out of my three car garage. And then my heart is in teenagers, right? And I, I used to be a teacher and I was a, a coach always, and the athletic director of the school that I taught at. And so I, I brought in the teen girls and I was running all of this out of my garage, and it finally came to a point that it was like, okay, let's do this. We, there's a need we're gonna go for. And so here we are, and we're about nine months in at Fem Fit Redding. And we have, we carry right now about 150 members. We have a variety of classes. And it's just been great. We, we, we train everyone from, you know, women in general to, we are able to support prenatal, postpartum women. We have postpartum specific classes. We do teen classes. We, again, train, train teams in the area. And we also have yoga. And we, we also have a fine wine class. And I like to say that's for the more seasoned ladies in life. So focusing on balance and, you know, stability and
Ashlee Tate (06:35):
Longevity, all the different stages of women. Yeah.
Mikilah Speer (06:38):
All the different seasons. Yeah. Yes.
Ashlee Tate (06:40):
I love it. I love it
Mikilah Speer (06:42):
Ashlee Tate (06:43):
One of the things, I mean, you talked about working with teenagers and a lot of teenagers are going through that puberty stage, so mm-hmm. , how do you work in your gym to kind of help girls go through that kinda starting to realize that their body is changing and they're looking different and comparing themselves to others, you know, and kind of aligning that with like, this is your own personal journey and puberty, I mean, those are a lot of things to kind of work through right? Through those two Yeah.
Mikilah Speer (07:15):
Yeah. The teenage years, and then we work with it, even still with women in adult years. Mm-Hmm. you know, and so with our teen specific classes, like a big focus, like I said, is what can you do? Right? Let's focus on how high you can get your box jump and how heavy you can get your squat. And I want you really focused on your abilities, not so much, you know, what you look like. And when you build that strength and you start to help girls build strength from the inside, they get, they get stronger here, and they start to let go of the rest of the body image on the outside. But it's really hard because we live in this, we live in this society of instant gratification. We live in the world of kids seeing things on social media, Instagram, that just aren't
Ashlee Tate (08:02):
Mikilah Speer (08:03):
Yeah. Yeah. That's not real. And so for me, for one, bringing them into this environment that provides a space that is for them, right? Like when I was in high school, the weight room was for the football team, right? That was for the boys. Yeah. Right. So you bring them into a gym, into a space that has pink barbells, that has pink walls, that has a coach who has muscles and is not a thick, skinny person, but is here to motivate you and talk to you, not about your body image, but about what you can do and your abilities. And I think just bringing the focus to that is foundational in training young girls.
Ashlee Tate (08:43):
It's definitely a, a big change from what we're used to. And I think it's a, it's a great space that you've created for teams. And I, I know that you were also coaching teams as well like the, I think you were coaching the chest basketball team mm-hmm. . and, you know, some of the exercises you were doing were very different. Some movements that the kids don't generally do or see, you know, in basketball or working out at the, a typical gym. And so what is your goal when you're working with the teams that are also happen to be teens? What is your goal when you're working with these young girls?
Mikilah Speer (09:22):
So a big focus is we actually bring the coaches in as well. So if you, you know, play sports beyond high school now, it's a non-negotiable that there is a weight training type of program for athletes in college and beyond. We have to start that at an earlier level, or like I said, you know, when I was in high school, the weight room was for the football team. It wasn't for the volleyball girls, it wasn't for the softball girls or the girls basketball team. Whereas why, so why is that though? Why is it that just the football team needs to lift weights? Yeah. You know, that's not correct. If I would've done the type of training that I'm providing for these girls now, when I was in high school, I feel like the, the, there would be no ceiling, right? It, it would've been a much different I would've been a much different type of athlete.
Yeah. And so when we, when we do these movements, such as like, I mean, if those of you out there that are familiar with Olympic weightlifting, like the power clean, the snatch, those are all movements of power, right? And obviously we're building strength, but we're building agility, we're building coordination, we're building balance, all of those things. And for me, as someone who's coached those sports before, it's easy for me to, to coach and relate it, right? Like, Hey, we're doing this upper body strength, this is gonna relate exactly to you and your shot, or how you play defense, and all of those things. So, so it's, it's, we make that correlation there. And it's a little more tailored, again, tailored to the team, right? Sports specific training mm-hmm. . and again, we bring the coaches in too, to show them like, Hey, here's some exercises that you can use in your, during your season for conditioning or off season. You know, but we love having them in here, but we know that that's not always possible. And so again, just giving them those tools that they can use in the gym or a quick burner after practice that's gonna keep up, you know, the conditioning and the strength that they'll need throughout the season.
Ashlee Tate (11:17):
Yeah. All right. No, I like that. Now I know that you encourage a positive body image, like that's very clear. However, how do you combat the fact that like in our, in our western culture, you know, really having a, a thinner structure and having a thinner body with like, you know, you know, disproportionate appendages, . Yeah. you know, are, are are there, how do you combat that? Because that's what, that's what a lot of teens are seeing and feeling as if they are not they're not meeting that standard when mm-hmm. , you know, if when you're natural, you may not, you may not look that way, right? Mm-Hmm. . So how do you feel like,
Mikilah Speer (12:03):
Well, I think that's what was a big thing for me. Like walking into a CrossFit gym for my first time, I was like, wow, look at all these women with muscles, right? And we just don't see that, we don't glorify that in our society. No. Like you're saying, we glorify the thin, the stick, skinny women we're coming around. Yeah, we are. But I think again, just putting them in that environment and when you see things a certain amount of time, when you start to buy into the fact that that's not what I have to look like or what I'm supposed to look like, or here's this coach over here, here's this other group of women that are here lifting barbells and building muscle for strength and stability and longevity, and look how powerful they are. Right? When we build that type of a culture that's when the toxic culture starts to become less apparent.
Right. And that's when you're able to be like, I'm not buying into that anymore. I'm buying into this. Yeah. Like, this is what's, this is where my wheelhouse is. This is what's healthy. This is what's reality. You know? And so again, when we bring them into these environments and we can just continue to have, have, and start the conversation about what it looks like to be muscular and how actually hard it is to build muscle, right? We have a lot of girls, and even ladies, adult ladies who are like, I don't wanna be bulky. Right? Lifting a barbell, like you have to lift a lot of weight to be bulky. You have to eat a lot to be bulky. So just coming in here and lifting some lightweights is not gonna make you bulky by any means. But again, just shifting that body image
Ashlee Tate (13:41):
To what, and giving them that option to, to see all of the spectrum. Like, you can be fit and you can be strong, and you don't have to, you know, be full of muscle, but if you want to be full of muscle, you have the option to do that. And I think that's where your gym fills that niche is like, we can help you we can help you achieve whatever you're looking for in your body. Mm-Hmm. We can help your body be strong and, you know, and basically opening their minds to say, there is no one perfect look, which is what they generally see on social media. And you know, just in the, in the information that they're getting on TV and social media, all of those things. Right. so one of the questions that I get a lot and that I also ask is, when should teen girls kids, when should they be working out? And by that I mean both lifting weights, but also just doing cardio and really having that focus of working out. Some kids like to do it really early, and so, you know, a lot of parents are afraid mm-hmm. letting them do that.
Mikilah Speer (14:46):
Right. Well, as as a parent and a former teacher, I think you have to keep it fun and keep it playful as long as possible. So not shifting that focus into like, this is training. We are exercising to lose weight and, and we are here to build better bodies at a young age that's gonna turn into something probably toxic. Yes. We have to, again, we have to keep it fun. We have to keep it light for as long as possible. So for parents, just going out and being the example of that, I have a garage gym at home. And so my husband and I go in the garage and we work out together, and I work out while my kids are home. And I say, mommy's gonna go work out. You're gonna come in the garage with me, and you're, you don't have to work out with me.
Yeah. But you're gonna be in this culture. You're gonna be in this environment. I'm gonna be the example mm-hmm. of health and fitness and longevity. And more often than not, I keep little tiny dumbbells in there. I keep all the things, and guess what they wanna do, they wanna join me. That's right. Because I'm the example. I'm leading them in that, and it's fun. Right. And of course, keeping things active, right? Like doing things with your, your kids and your family, going on bike rides, going out, going paddle boarding. And again, just keeping fitness under the realm of, of a not such a serious thing at first, but, but once, you know, of course sport happens, keeping your kids involved in sports, I just think is foundational for life, specifically team sports you know, and that right there is like, you don't need to have your kid in the weight room, have your kid go join the baseball team. Yeah. You know, for, for their health but also for life skills. Mm-Hmm. , you know, problem solving, working with people, working with others. And I think that for me, growing up playing sports, my dad told me, you either have a job or you play sports, those are your two choices. Right. And so I played sports,
Ashlee Tate (16:47):
They gotta keep you
Mikilah Speer (16:48):
Busy and yeah, you gotta keep you busy. Nothing good ever happens after 10 o'clock at night. No, nothing good happens. That's right. You know, those are all of his things. And so it, thats that for me, built a foundation of, of a healthy lifestyle. Yeah. Not going to the gym with my mom and doing cardio, you know? Right,
Ashlee Tate (17:06):
Right, right. And that's the thing, like wondering too, how do you, do you do any sort of incorporation of diet or talk to the, when you have teens in there that you're working with do you talk about their diet or anything? And I know that you mentioned something earlier about their cycle, and I wanted to kind of dive into that too. Yeah. That's something I think parents talk a lot about. I don't really know for everyone else, but I don't think that's a Yeah. Common topic.
Mikilah Speer (17:35):
It's not a common topic. Start the conversation be. That's right. You do. Yep. So, yeah, no, that's a great question. And I absolutely do bring up nutrition, nourishment. That's how I like to talk about it. I try not to use the D word, the diet word. Okay.
Ashlee Tate (17:54):
Mikilah Speer (17:55):
So I, I look at it as nourishment, right? How are we nourishing our bodies before we come and work out throughout the day when we know we have, you know, a training cycle in the, in the afternoon, how are we nourishing and replenishing our bodies after our, our session? And so I try to just have an easy conversation with them of like, here's what it should look like during the day. Are you drinking plenty of water? Are your foods on your plate colorful? Right. Do they come from the earth or did they come from Taco Bell? Do, do, are you getting fruits and vegetables? Look at the labels on the back of your foods. How much sugar is in that? Have you ever seen how much 13 or 30 grams of sugar looks like? Mm-Hmm. , that's a lot of sugar. And so just having like easy conversations like that, giving them small goals to work on, right. Like, drink more water, eat more protein, or eat more vegetables. And then make sure you're eating within an hour after your training session and make sure you're not eating, you know, McDonald's, but you're eating, you know, a colorful plate of food. Yeah. Simple. Keeping it simple.
Ashlee Tate (19:02):
Yeah. No, I think that's great. And also, do you ever go into any, or I wanna get your opinion too, on, on any of the, like the little bars that you eat. I know like for, you know, people who are playing sports and stuff, they always say like, oh, you can take one of these little bars.
Mikilah Speer (19:18):
Oh yeah, I know.
Ashlee Tate (19:20):
What are your thoughts on those?
Mikilah Speer (19:22):
Oh, that's a tough one because obviously, you know, if, if you have kids in between you know, at a tournament in between games and stuff, there's definitely some bars that are healthier than others. So I, my biggest thing is I would look off the sugar intake on that and just try to get stuff with a little bit more natural sugar content rather than added sugar Gatorade and that kind of stuff. Like, is toxic, I mean, just throw it out. There's great supplements, like Element Tea is a great hydration supplement that's all natural. And yeah, there, the, the, the energy drink world and the replenishment, Gatorade, all those are, that, that's a tough one because it's so prevalent. But yeah, it, most of that stuff is just toxic.
Ashlee Tate (20:09):
Well, I gotta ask,
Mikilah Speer (20:10):
Just trying to be as natural as possible.
Ashlee Tate (20:12):
Now, this is a personal question because mm-hmm. , I tried the element and I loved it. I loved it.
Mikilah Speer (20:19):
Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Ashlee Tate (20:20):
However, , maybe I'm not active enough for it. I don't know, but it bloated me so much because it's salt. Yeah. And I couldn't figure out what was going on. Like, I mean, like, okay. I was,
Mikilah Speer (20:34):
Ashlee Tate (20:35):
So what is your advice on I mean, I, I recommend it. I tell people about it. I love it. And, you know, I was giving it to the kids, but I, once I got bloated from it, I thought like, maybe they should stop drinking it because of that. So what
Mikilah Speer (20:49):
Do you, well, everything in moderation, right? So maybe just a half of a salt packet a day Okay. Is all you really need. And then yeah, depending on, you know, when it's 110 in Redding and you're, you know, for me, I'm training all day long, and then I'm, I'm teaching a class and the evening I'm probably drinking two a day. Yeah. But I'm definitely not. It's, it's a one a day type of thing. And again, with anything, moderation is key.
Ashlee Tate (21:11):
Okay. Okay. I appreciate that. I have to ask you the question. I'm like, I gotta know.
Mikilah Speer (21:15):
Ashlee Tate (21:17):
What would you encourage parents, how, like what are some things you would tell parents, like some piece of advice that maybe they may not know about? I think this would be a great time to talk about your cycle yeah. Information that you think, you know, would help make us all better parents as far as working with our kids when it comes to fitness.
Mikilah Speer (21:38):
Yeah. Well, for girls specifically, I think a huge thing to know is their cycle, right? So they come into their adolescent, they're starting to mature, and we have all this information that sometimes is incorrect or there's just an abundance of it. There is some foundational things that your, your daughter should know, you should know in terms of talking to your child about their cycle and puberty and all of those things. So when girls get their cycle, it actually takes up to 12 years to establish a mature cycle.
Ashlee Tate (22:17):
Mikilah Speer (22:18):
I mean, is that mind blowing or what? Yeah. Yeah. So you could have, your daughter could start, start her cycle when she's 10, and she might not have a regular mature cycle until she's 22.
Ashlee Tate (22:31):
Mikilah Speer (22:31):
Potentially. Yeah. So that right there, I think is a, is a really valuable piece of information because we are so quick as a society and a lot of times the medical world to, to put girls on medication, right? Specifically birth control, right? You're not having a period, your periods are heavy, your periods are hard, your periods are irregular, you're getting hormonal birth con or you're getting hormonal acne. It's a very easy one size fits all fix. And what happens is we put all these very young adolescent girls on birth control way too early before they've ever really established a cycle. And then their hormones are, are not able to mature or regulate. Right? And, and, and yes, teenagers are emotional. That's a natural part of life. They're hormonal, they're up and down. We should not be medicating them to regulate them, right? Yeah. Women in their cycle. Specifically we have these phases of up and down. We naturally as humans have phases of dark and light. Okay. And we just have to learn how to live with them. We are not meant to be here all the time. No. Okay. We're meant be here. Right. And, and we just have to be intuitive, and we have to listen to those things in, in our body, and we have to help our daughters listen to those things as well. And so once, and, and also they have,
Ashlee Tate (23:56):
Sorry to interrupt you on that also, but to just add, it's also very important to teach our daughters once they do get their cycle, that it's not okay to use that as an excuse, you know, to mistreat people or to not control your emotions or to blame your emotions on something. It's just, I think it's just a way to kind of recognize like, oh, I'm going through this. I'm not feeling like myself and understanding the reason why you might be feeling that way. I think sometimes, yeah. You know, in our culture we've given it like, oh, they're PMs. Like, it's an excuse and a reason that you can then act out of your normal character, you know? Yeah. I think that's really
Mikilah Speer (24:40):
Important. Absolutely. And, and, and taking that label, right, and giving, giving teenagers a label of saying, I'm PMSing Exactly. I'm allowed to treat you poorly. Poorly, yes. Here's a better way to go about that. Right? Actually, there's four phases of your cycle. You are most likely in your luteal phase of your cycle. So yes, you're probably experiencing some of those symptoms, and it's okay for you to need to take some time away, right? Yeah. So when we teach, we do education here as well. And so we've done a workshop that's about training with your cycle. So, real quick recap. Yeah. There are four phase of your cycle, right? So the first is the follicular. And that is generally right af that's the first phase right after your bleed. And it's when your energy is starting to rise, right? As estrogen is starting to rise, this is usually when you're feeling pretty good, right? Yeah. You've got some energy going. Yeah. And this is like the lights, right? Think of this as springtime. Think of this as the sun is rising, all things are good. And then we have ovulation. So this usually lasts a couple of days, and that's the peak, right? That's where you're like, let's go. I'm going, yeah.
Ashlee Tate (25:44):
I got all kinds of
Mikilah Speer (25:45):
Ideas. I got all the ideas, let's execute them. Right? Like, let's have the big meeting. Yeah. And then we move into your luteal phase. So luteal comes in two parts. And so the beginning, you're still, your, your energy is high, but it's starting to come down mm-hmm. . And then we get to the end of the luteal phase, which is generally right before the menstruation, the bleed. And that's where we're feeling inverted, right? We're feeling like, I don't wanna go have coffee with you and listen to that. Don't go have coffee with the person. Don't go, right? Yes. Don't have the team meeting because you, you're irritated by that person. You recognize I'm in my luteal. That's why I felt that way about her. She wasn't, she didn't mean to say it that way. That's right. But this is why I feel that way. Yes.
and we can really like live our life in that way. And when we start to just be intuitive and we listen to our body, and then we allow for these periods of dark and light. Yeah. And we teach our daughters in that way too, right? Like, Hey, you're in, you, you just had your period, you're about a week out. So this would be a great time for us to go on that big bike ride that we wanted to go on. Yeah. It'd be a great time for you to talk to your teacher about what whatever you've been wanting to talk to her about. Yeah. But not in those phases where pmms, right. Right. You know, luteal, mens menstruation, and, and so just, just educating them on, on that, that your period is not just those five days where you're bleeding. Right. Your period
Ashlee Tate (27:11):
Is the entire month
Mikilah Speer (27:12):
The cycle . Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, and, and we need to just listen to our bodies. Right? Like that's, that's the foundation of everything, right? Like listen into your body. And I truly, I
Ashlee Tate (27:25):
Think that's such a great thing to teach girls. I mean, let me know when you have the next class. I will, we will be there.
Mikilah Speer (27:33):
We're gonna do one for teens. Yes.
Ashlee Tate (27:34):
Yeah. I think you should totally do one for teens. And let me know when you do have it, I'd love to add it into this mm-hmm. and let people know. But I mean, I think it's a very different way of looking at your period and helping girls. I I really think it's so important to help girls, especially, and I know I keep coming back to social media, but especially with the, the amount of social media that they're being exposed to and the messages and the things that you hear and how it can make you feel during those periods of, you know, the month, you know, when you're going through all these different phases, sometimes you can watch something, you'll be like, oh my gosh, I totally get that. And other times you'll be like, I can't believe I feel this way. Right. And it really, yeah, you can track that. Now, one of the things that I wanna ask you, because you were talking about earlier how it takes those 12 years, right? Or did you say 10, you said 12, right? 12, 12, 12 years. So it takes those 12 years to get your cycle. So then
Mikilah Speer (28:29):
When group, and not for everyone, it could potentially take someone three, but Right. It in general, let that stand potentially take 12 years. Yeah. Okay.
Ashlee Tate (28:38):
Mikilah Speer (28:38):
How would you stop mandating it?
Ashlee Tate (28:40):
What'd you say?
Mikilah Speer (28:42):
We have to stop bandaid. The fact that, you know, these young girls have irregular periods, right. Their first period is not going to be the perfect 28 day cycle. No. That comes and goes. You know, and, and it's also, and that's another for
Ashlee Tate (28:55):
Fertility later too. I mean, it messes you up as far as like, if you've always thought that you have an irregular period, and now we have all of these different advances in fertility that people can use instead of giving your body that opportunity to really just try to figure out when, when it's ready to be pregnant, you know? Yeah. And, and try to, you know, start doing that. People, if they already go into adulthood thinking, you know, I, I'm infertile or I'm half fertility issues, I've never had a regular period. All of these things, I think those, those do kind of get conflated, you know, were there,
Mikilah Speer (29:35):
I, I can't tell you how many women we work with that come in and they have these issues and they have things going on. And they're like, I went to the chiropractor. I went to this doctor, I went to that doctor. My first thing outta my mouth is, are you on birth control? And more, nine times outta 10. Yes. we kind of moved through what kind, how that looks. Why are you on birth control? How long have you been on birth control? And we think about this, right? So we have this young girl at 15 years old, she's having an irregular period, she's having acne. Let's put you on birth control. So now she's 27, she got married, she wants to have a baby. She's been on birth control for 12 years at that point in, but at still so young. Right? 27. And so then we pull her off of the birth control. It takes time for the body to reregulate. And then we're saying, oh, but your body is not ovulating in the way that we need it to ovulate. So here's some fertility drugs to help with that. Yeah. Right.
Ashlee Tate (30:31):
That's exactly what I mean.
Mikilah Speer (30:32):
Continue this cycle of medication. Yes. And our bodies are not doing the natural processes that they're meant to do, you know? And so the other thing that I like to talk to women about, and specifically we should talk more about with teen girls, is there is you know, this revelation that it, that your period is your fifth vital sign. Mm-Hmm. . So we need to look at our period every month. And if your period comes every, you know, 28 to 30 days or whatever your whatever your cycle is and it comes without pain and PMs and all those things, that means that you treated your body well that last month that you did the right things, you nourished your body you lived your life with your cycle. That is totally, that can happen. And that can happen earlier Absolutely. For young girls.
If we, if we help them understand these processes. Yes. So then if we, if you know you have a late period, right. Or you have a really heavy period, or you're clotting, or like, all of these things happen, lots of cramps. That is, that's a sign of you that last month not treating your body as well as you could have treated it, right? Mm-Hmm. . And so when their period comes, we need to be like, it's not, we also have to shift the mindset of young girls. It's like, it's not this yucky, gross, disgusting thing. It's like when my period comes, now I know this sounds so foreign, but it's like, huh? It's here. Yes. I got it. Like the, the, it looks good down there. Yep. All the, the blood looks good, the I feel good. Yep. and I can take that as a, as a report card, a monthly report card from my body that I treated my body. Well, if I was really, really stressed out the month before, I might have be a couple days late on my period. It might come with some cramps, some bloating, some cravings, right? And so that's one way that we can really kind of help girls and women shift the mindset and understand their body's better.
Ashlee Tate (32:25):
I think you should totally develop that into something I really do. Cause I'm serious. I think that a lot of the period trackers that are out there right now are more focused on like, your period be coming on this day. And it should look like. Yeah. I mean, I think I'm talking about how it should look. I mean, I think the looking thing is genius. I really do. Yeah.
Mikilah Speer (32:48):
Oh, it's a thing.
Ashlee Tate (32:49):
Yeah. Yeah. And people, but, but also teaching your kids to realize that, right? I mean mm-hmm. , the big thing though, I think for teens is they might get their periods, but it is because it is so irregular. I think the looking back is better. Like what you're saying, like looking back at, okay, how did this last period fill instead of always, we're always looking forward to like, when is it supposed to be here next? Why hasn't it come now? Or what is, you know? Yeah. What's been so long? Or being prepared, always thinking that you're gonna have some major cramps. Like when you said your period sometimes shows up and it's not, there's no cramp. I mean, that's a very common, I feel like that's more common than not, right? Mm-Hmm. , but a lot of people do suffer from the cramps and things like that. So what would you suggest that people, when they feel those cramps or they're feeling like, okay, everything's not looking so hot, that, you know, this month, what should they do to correct those things?
Mikilah Speer (33:48):
Look at your diet, first of all, how does that look? Is it, is it on point? And what should it look like? And then, I mean, that's a whole nother conversation.
Ashlee Tate (33:59):
. Well, so
Mikilah Speer (34:02):
I, again, I go back to nourishment, right? Like, are you eating whole organic foods? Is your plate colorful? Are you getting enough water? Are you getting enough fruit and vegetables? Are you getting enough protein? You know, are the foods that you eat processed? And how many steps did it take to get your food from where it came from to your plate? Yes.
Simple rule of thumb type of things. Yeah. So, but then also you go back to like those phases of dark and light. You know, did you schedule the meeting with your entire team? That was really stressful. Did you schedule that during your luteal phase when you knew you wanted to like, explode inside and that caused you Yeah. When you should have been retreating mm-hmm. , right? Did you or did you, did you try to, you, you have to live your life in those phases of your cycle, but are you exercising enough? Are you, you know, nourishing your body in ways that you should? And then just again, going back to just recognizing what your body is trying to tell you Yeah. And listening to it.
Ashlee Tate (35:01):
I love that. I mean, I, I love that. If I could share that with everybody, what you're talking about, which is, I, I mean, honestly, I, I wish, I mean, I hope you bring that maybe to schools or something. I don't know. Just for,
Mikilah Speer (35:14):
That's what I'm trying to do. I'm bringing it. Are you trying to do, it's here, it's here,
Ashlee Tate (35:18):
Let's do it. We gotta do
Mikilah Speer (35:18):
That. That's who, that's, you know, I mean, that's just what we preach and what we focus, right? So all of our workouts, every, every class for all of our fem fit strength and conditioning, not so much for our teens right now, but we, we tailor it to you. So we show you like, here's the daily workout, but if you are in this phase of your cycle, here's how you should this workout.
Ashlee Tate (35:38):
Mm. I think that's great. That's a, yeah. That's such a great change. Yeah.
Mikilah Speer (35:43):
Wow. Yeah. We've yeah, we've helped a lot of women you know, change their life with their hormones and maybe some of those women really needed to detox from birth control and mm-hmm. . And and that's, that's been a huge piece of what we do. And, and it's been really powerful.
Ashlee Tate (36:03):
So just so we don't like scare parents and say like, never put your kids on birth control. What are you recommending then for, I mean, cuz I, I'm not a big birth control proponent myself. But what do you recommend then for teens who maybe shouldn't be on birth control? What would be a, a another option for them?
Mikilah Speer (36:24):
Yeah, yeah. So my mom, I always tell this story. My mom growing up was like, if you have sex, you will get pregnant. Like, no matter what, like any day of the week of the month, like, it's gonna happen. And I was like, terrified, right? like, oh my God, I've gotta be on birth control. Cause if I wanna, like, you know, oh God, it's hilarious. No, that's not true. Right? We can really only get pregnant when we're ovulating. And that's only actually a couple of days a month. And so girls can learn about their body in this way and they can use it as birth control. And it's called the fertility awareness method. And so I don't recommend necessarily apps for using it just like blanket apps. Yeah. But one way that you can use the fertility awareness method really accurately is by taking your basal body temperature.
And there's one birth control, like I have it, it's called the daisy fertility tracker. It's like D D A Y S E. Okay. And you basically take your basal body temperature, which is before you get out of the bed, in bed in the morning, you take your temperature and your temperature will actually rise during different phases of your cycle, specifically your ovulation phase. And that's how you know you're ovulating. And that's when it's like, you should not be active in any way during those times. Yeah. And so that's one way that they can, there, there are low hormone birth controls out there. I just, if your daughter is not sexually active, I would stay as far away from birth control as you can and, and help her learn about her body and her the phases of her cycle. And, and and that would be, that would be the best, best thing to do. But if your, if your daughter is not sexually active, there is no reason for her to be on birth control.
Ashlee Tate (38:15):
I, I actually have to agree with you on that. I mean, I feel like, and I, and I do have a daughter, so I mean, I feel like,
Mikilah Speer (38:22):
Ashlee Tate (38:22):
I, and my mom was a little, my mom actually is kind of more along the lines of where you, where you think right now not a huge fan of birth control. But then once she knew I was gonna be sexually active, like, you know, we did go and she got the shot that Depa Provera shot. And I know, I know that's not a good one either, but at the time,
Mikilah Speer (38:45):
That's just, it's heavy.
Ashlee Tate (38:46):
Yeah, it is. But but it didn't, I didn't seem to have like really a or adverse reaction to it. And everybody's body is different, but at the time, you know, it was like an extra layer of protection since we knew, you know, things were gonna be happening . Yeah. and so I feel like, I mean, I loved what you just said about, you know, there are some low, low hormone birth controls that are out there if you want that extra layer. But I do, I I just love the idea of like, teaching your daughter how to understand her own body, which many of us did not. I've never heard what you're talking about before as far as, I mean, you know, we all try to figure out our bodies and whatever, but I've never heard what you're talking about before as far as the, the phases and like looking at your body and living within those phases.
I think it's a, a great idea. It has always been more of like, okay, I know that it's coming and so I need to be aware of how I'm managing my emotions, you know, when I'm around others. Because we know that that's a possibility that, you know, things can go left . Yes. Yes, yes. So so I, I think it's a, I mean, once you start to do these, these, you know, maybe you'll call 'em workshops or whatever you're gonna call 'em. But once you start to do those workshops, I think it'll be a great thing for both moms and daughters to go to together. Yeah. Just to get a good idea of, of what you're talking about. I think this is really beneficial for a lot of people. Yeah. And we may get in trouble for talking about, and I,
Mikilah Speer (40:21):
And I think that you, there's so many women that are exactly like you, you know, that are, and, and even me, I didn't know about this, this, this the way my body worked until I was in my adulthood and after I had kids. And that to me is like backward ridiculous. Why are, why are we not teaching young girls Yeah. About this in their puberty classes at school? You know, like this is what it, that's true. This is the education that they need and they should have.
Ashlee Tate (40:47):
Yeah. So, no, I understand why we're talking about the banana. I got it now. Yes. It's much more important to understand,
Mikilah Speer (40:54):
Much more important Yeah.
Ashlee Tate (40:55):
Personal body than it is. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Got it. Okay. We had some conversations before we started recording, so that's why , we're
Mikilah Speer (41:04):
Keeping this going. Yeah. I said learning to put the condom on the banana is irrelevant. Right. Like, there's so many more meaningful things that we can be talking about. Yes. Other than that. And they can learn that on YouTube. Yes.
Ashlee Tate (41:18):
And they know that also as another layer of protection, we gotta protect as much as possible, but start with your own body, I think is really important. Right, right. Gosh, that was such a good topic. I, I, I don't even know where to go from there. I'm like, I wanna keep talking about it. It was so good.
Mikilah Speer (41:34):
Yeah, we can, I can talk about it all day. Yeah. ,
Ashlee Tate (41:37):
I mean, I, I really think like, I don't know, we'll talk offline on that, but I I, there's so much you could do around that because I, I think it would just be an eyeopener for a lot of women at baseline and especially young teen girls. They need to know mm-hmm. , I mean, I think we try to teach them like obviously the phases and how you're feeling, you know, but not understanding like the true scientific piece behind it. Right.
Mikilah Speer (42:04):
Yeah. And it goes back to your mindset, right. But we teach them how they're feeling. We put the label on it. Right. You are PMSing, this is a bad thing, this is not good. But we have to change that conversation and look at it as a positive and help them see that when their monthly cycle comes, this is a good thing. Let's look at our body, let's reflect during this time. And it's not this big gross, disgusting, ugly thing. Yeah. And, you know, and I even teach women that about birth here. Right. When we talk about birth, it's like we have a, a pastime in the United States to talk about how awful birth is and how horrible birthing a baby is, and how gross and disgusting and painful it is to birth a baby. Yeah. But if we shift our mindset into a different place and space and, and knowing how empowering and beautiful that potentially could be, right. That is the conversation that we need to start having
Ashlee Tate (42:54):
Agreed. I 100% agree with you. I can't say I loved pregnancy, but birthing that was your girl. Yeah.
Mikilah Speer (43:02):
Ashlee Tate (43:03):
Pregnancy was really hard. Yeah. But yeah. But yeah, I do think like shifting, shifting your mindset is like a huge thing. And also just helping our kids have a space. I think, and I, I see that as what you're trying to offer too, is like having the space to really talk about these things and realize that these things are just part of like who we are as women and what our bodies are miraculously able to do, you know? Yeah. Every month and every, every time we wanna have a child, like it is pretty incredible. Mm-Hmm. . So, okay. We're awesome. It's a really hard thing to follow after we talked about that puberty thing. So I, I, not puberty but the cycle I loved.
Mikilah Speer (43:45):
Ashlee Tate (43:46):
So I wanna ask you a few questions. Okay. Cuz you are a very interesting person on all this, so I, I love it. I love it. So what is your biggest piece of advice to parents? What would you say is your best piece of advice that you could give?
Mikilah Speer (44:02):
Oh, my best piece of advice is to start conversations with your kids about health and wellness and nourishment and being careful of that type of vocabulary. Right. And putting it in a way that is positive. Not putting, like, you need to work out, we need to be on a certain diet. And just making it a part of their lifestyle. I go back to put your kids in team sports, you know, make that foundational for, for life skills and for their health and wellness as kids. And just being open and being supportive and doing things with your kids, you know, and, and being the example, right. You, you set the example of what you want health and wellness to look like in your household and they will follow.
Ashlee Tate (44:55):
Absolutely. I think that's such a great piece of advice. And then what is the current book that you're reading?
Mikilah Speer (45:04):
I am reading The Body Keeps Score.
Ashlee Tate (45:06):
Mikilah Speer (45:07):
About trauma, trauma to the Body, and how that affects us in every facet. And I'm not reading it so much for like myself personally. I am, it's turning into that. But I, we, we work with so many women who, who have dealt with trauma and a lot of times trauma and emotions come up when you work out. Right. You're releasing those endorphins, oxytocin is happening and sometimes women are just doing breath work or they're doing heavy squats or the, the conditioning piece of a website or of a, of a workout and they just start crying. Yeah. Right. And, and we need to, this is a space where we don't say, oh, it's ok, stop. It's ok. Everything's okay. It's like, let it happen. Yeah. Let it go. Yeah. It needs to happen. Yeah. This is a place that you can do that. Let's, let's bring it to the surface and then let's deal with it. Let's work through it. How do we move forward from here? And so the Body Keeps Score is just really fascinating in terms of like how many people you come in contact with every day that really have probably dealt with some pretty serious trauma, either in childhood or adulthood and mm-hmm. and how we can how we can treat people differently based on what they've gone through in their past. Mm-Hmm. , it's powerful.
Ashlee Tate (46:31):
But, and then also learning how to flip it around, right? Like mm-hmm. , you know, being there and, and hearing someone say, yes, let it come out instead of let, why are you crying? You know, or like, yeah, it's okay. You know, all of your normal responses. Okay. This is supposed to be a lightning round. Sorry, I'm talking about it again.
Mikilah Speer (46:46):
We're gonna, and that's powerful for your kids too though. Yeah. And your daughter, you know, like my dad always was like, cowboy up. That was his thing. Cowboy up, don't cry. Like crying. As for sissies. Yeah. No. Like, let your emotions like happen. Don't try to hold them back. Yeah. They're there for a reason.
Ashlee Tate (47:04):
That's true. 100%. And they need to come out too. Okay. What is your favorite movie?
Mikilah Speer (47:12):
Oh, like the first thing that comes in my head, this is so cheesy. It is like the Notebook. I love The Notebook. It's such, it just makes me feel happy. I've never guess
Ashlee Tate (47:20):
That, oh my gosh,
Mikilah Speer (47:22):
I don't like scary things. At the end of every evening I watch House Hunters because it always has a happy ending. It's true. I'm like, true. I can't deal . No, for real. Okay. And then I was reading Michelle Obama's book and she said the same thing. She's like, every night at the White House, I would go upstairs and I would watch House Hunter. I'm like, okay, it's a thing. She's like, cause it always had a happy ending. I'm like, I'm so glad I'm not alone.
Ashlee Tate (47:48):
That's so cute. I love it. I love it. I am with you on, like, I do need to go to bed with like a happy something. Something needs to be good, and then I can go to sleep.
Mikilah Speer (47:56):
Ashlee Tate (47:58):
All right, last one. What is your favorite quote?
Mikilah Speer (48:03):
Oh gosh, this is a tough one. Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Ashlee Tate (48:09):
Love it. Love it. Well, this was an amazing interview. I feel like you gave us so much information. I love the space that you're creating over there at Fem Fit. Like,
Mikilah Speer (48:19):
Thank you. You're
Ashlee Tate (48:19):
Doing such a good job and, and really filling a niche for, you know, women and providing a safe space for them. So thank you so much for that contribution to our community and hopefully to the nation at some point.
Mikilah Speer (48:33):
Ashlee Tate (48:34):
Anyway, I will I, once I get this out, I will make sure that you get a copy of it and everything.
Mikilah Speer (48:40):
Ashlee Tate (48:41):
You so much, Mikilah.
Mikilah Speer (48:42):
Thank you. Yeah, it's great talking with you.
Ashlee Tate (48:45):
All right, talk to you soon.
Mikilah Speer (48:47):
Thank you for joining us on the launching Better Parents Podcast. Visit launchpad for kids.org for links to everything we talked about today. Be sure to sign up for the launch list to find out about our next episode, and to learn more about our mission to help kids gain access to extracurriculars so a youth can thrive and grow together. Have a question you'd like us to explore, just leave it in the comment section of this episode. Until next time, keep launching. Awesome Kiss.