Comp Prep Guide

Bikini Competition Causing Missed Periods? Here's Why + How to Fix It

September 11, 2020

Fitness professional Anna Mcmanamey explains why you may get missed periods before, during or after your bikini competition, and some advice to get your periods back after competition.

Girl in a jacket


Or technically speaking, Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (but that's not as catchy).⠀

Few know this about me, but until recently, I had not experienced a period in +8yrs. Technically longer, because prior to competing I'd been on the contraceptive pill & a pill bleed is not a real period (but that's a whole other topic).⠀

It's extremely common for female athletes, especially those in physique sports (bodybuilding, gymnastics, dance, figure skating) to lose their periods. Why?⠀


⚖️ Body mass, vs 🏃🏼‍♀️High amounts of energy going out (usually via training, cardio, etc), vs 🍎Not enough energy coming in.⠀

Specifically, not enough CARBOHYDRATES coming in.⠀

When energy availability is low, the body will start to shut down certain functions to preserve energy for survival. Reproduction is one of those functions. If you don't have enough to feed yourself, how could you sustain the life of a foetus? Too few calories (or too few carbs like a low-carb or keto-diet) can cause the hormone command centre of the brain (the hypothalamus) to stop sending signals to the ovaries, shutting down ovulation. This can happen even if you have a normal healthy body weight!⠀


It could be physical stress (dieting, training, lack of sleep), emotional (worry, depression, anxiety) or traumatic. Problem is, the body cannot differentiate between acute stress from being chased by a lion, or chronic stress from a 20-week comp prep. The physiological response is the same. High stress = bad time to make a baby.⠀

So how long after prep will it take to get your period back?⠀

Everyone will have their own ovarian "set point" but for me, it has taken a solid 18 months of:⠀
📈Gaining weight (10kg above my old off season weight)⠀
🥔Eating consistently higher carbs + calories (2100, some of my clients need >2500)⠀
🏃🏼‍♀️No cardio⠀
🧘🏼‍♀️Fixing sleep + stress⠀
🍃Natural supplementation

Periods may not be "convenient" but a healthy, regular ovulatory cycle is vital to female health.

Have a girly question you want to ask? Contact me at:


Anna is an ex-Journo turned Fitness Professional, Body Transformation Specialist @iamannafitness , WBFF Judge, Online Coach and Virtual PT

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