A period isn’t stopping Lauryn Moss from crushing PRs
An interview with weightlifter & TikTok star @laurs_fitness
TL/DR: We interviewed fitness influencer Lauryn Moss about her fitness goals, the unique challenges of being a woman in the digital fitness world, and working out during her period.
Like most people, Lauryn Moss was first drawn to fitness as a way to quiet her insecurities. She didn’t love the way she looked, and working out was a way to change that.
But what Lauryn ultimately found, instead, was a deeper and more meaningful connection with her own body. She started posting workouts to social media in 2018 – at first, it was simply a way to hold herself accountable. Since then, she’s gained more than 285,000 followers on TikTok and 7,000 followers on Instagram, all of whom have found a refreshing sense of realism in Lauryn’s content.
Unlike fitness influencers who focus all their energy on weight loss programs, looking model-perfect, or winning competitions, Lauryn’s content is geared more towards overall wellbeing: She inspires her followers to work on their strength and nutrition through a body-positive lens – and, yes, that means listening to your body when training during your period (and arming yourself with the right tools for success).
Aside from her role as entertainer and fitness educator, Lauryn is an activist who stands by her values. She openly speaks out against the “flat tummy” teas and chemical-laden powders that many influencers in the fitness world promote, encouraging her viewers to instead work on their relationships with their bodies. And she’s not afraid to stick up for what’s right when it comes to matters of social justice, either:
Lauryn began her fitness education at a crossfit gym, first as a student and, not long after, as a teacher. She chose to leave that same gym this summer after the owners made troubling and insensitive comments about the Black Lives Matter movement. “I had to choose my values over being their coach,” she notes. She decided to take her work back home and now trains solo in her built-from-scratch garage gym.
We had the pleasure of talking to Lauryn recently, and she shared some deets on her fitness journey and how she got to where she is today. Check out our interview below to learn more about @laurs_fitness day-to-day routine & her experience as a Flex user who maintains a [pretty rigorous] training schedule all cycle long.
Thanks so much for chatting with us, Lauryn! Let’s start with the big picture: What’s your current #1 goal, either fitness-wise or more generally speaking?
Thanks so much for inviting me to collaborate!
So, I guess my goal was purely aesthetics, at first – wanting to look a certain way. Once I joined crossfit, my whole mindset shifted because crossfit isn’t about aesthetics at all. Top athletes look good, but their whole focus is on their performance — how strong they can be, how fast they can be. So my mindset started shifting away from the aesthetics point of view and more towards overall fitness, strength, wellbeing.
At this point, where I am today, I want to be the strongest and fittest version of myself. I don’t really have any goals outside of that. It’s simply being the best version of myself every single day.
I love that. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in external motivators, we forget to focus on how we’re actually feeling – and it seems like you’ve really mastered that. What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are today?
As a woman in the social media fitness realm, I get a lot of comments [on my videos] telling me, “Oh, that’s not right,” or if I provide sources, they’ll be like, “No, no, you’re cherry-picking.” So as a female in the fitness community, you have to be so assertive. You have to provide your sources, or they’re gonna call you out. If a guy did the same exact thing, same exact video as me, they would be fine. No one would challenge them.
There’s also the natural growth of your following — you’ll start to go up, then you’ll start to go down. The hardest part for me has been internalizing that you might lose people. It’s not always about wanting a certain number of followers, but when you’re seeing people put out false advertising about drinking tummy teas or whatever, it can be challenging to keep pushing your own content.
And then, of course, there’s the whole environment we’re dealing with today. That hasn’t been easy on anyone, but it definitely affected me a lot this year.
Earlier this year, at the crossfit gym I used to work at, there were some insensitive things that were said around Black Lives Matter. I was the head coach’s right hand woman and everyone relied on me. I realized that I needed to pick my morals over money, because I was making good money. I ended up leaving, and that was a hard transition to go from working with people who I thought of as my family, but now I’m like, wow, they really weren’t.
Now I work out at my garage gym, and it’s a challenge to have to work out alone all the time. There’s no one telling you to do those extra reps or pushing you. It’s just you and your own head.
I totally get that – all the alone time lately has been tough on everyone. Speaking of which, has the pandemic impacted your fitness routine? Any comments or tips you’d like to share for those of us stuck at home, working out with limited access to equipment?
It’s tough! You just have to work with what you have. I went through the beginning of the pandemic with my old gym, but after I left, basically no equipment was available [to buy]. I had one rower that I rented from a different gym, a barbell, and a few other weights that I’d had since last summer. Finding equipment was probably the hardest part.
Eventually, though, I was lucky to be able to get all the equipment I needed into my garage space and expand my routine. But there’s so much you can do without equipment! Just search for zero-equipment workouts.
To stay motivated at home, I try to mix up what I’m listening to when I’m training. I switch between podcasts and music every other week. But really, it’s just telling yourself that it’s okay to have a bad day. You’ll have days where you feel like, “Wow, everything feels like it’s one pound,” and then other days, you’ll feel like everything weighs a ton. Being able to regulate your own feelings and your own mental state is so important.
Pivoting to periods: Do you change your workout routine at all before or during your period?
I’m lucky – I really don’t have cramps that are too bad. But I’m a firm believer in listening to your body. For some people, they might need [the week of their period] to be a light week. For me, personally, it just depends. Sometimes, I have my best weeks when I’m on my period. This is unique to women [and non-women with periods], so I just tell people to take time off and listen to their body, especially if they feel sick or a little bit off.
Rest is okay. If it takes three months to build a pound of muscle, I’m pretty sure you’re not gonna lose a pound of muscle in a day. I think a lot of people learned that in the pandemic, too.
What’s your period product of choice (menstrual cup, disc, etc.)? Has Flex changed how you manage or experience your period – or made it easier to keep up with your training schedule throughout the entire month?
Before I found out about Flex, I’d always used tampons throughout my fitness journey, but I was pretty complacent with them. Luckily, I don’t have the heaviest period, so it wasn’t the biggest deal.
When Flex reached out to me, I was excited, but it was definitely a little bit scary because I hadn’t used a menstrual disc before. But then I realized how easy it was to use and I definitely felt it less than a tampon. Now, with Flex Discs, I don’t feel anything, and it’s nice not having to worry about changing it out. Plus, when I dip into a low squat, it’s like there’s nothing down there.
I wasn’t using an expensive cotton brand of tampons or anything, so I later realized I’d been putting chemicals in my body – and that’s not something I necessarily want to be doing. With Flex, it’s nice to know you’re using a product with materials that are good for your body instead of synthetic stuff that’s been soaked in bleach and chemicals.
At Flex, we’re all about de-stigmatizing period talk: Do you find that the fitness industry as a whole is moving in this direction, too? Other thoughts on this topic?
I think it’s an important topic, but it’s hard to juggle because it’s also such a personal topic. Not everyone experiences their period the same way.
Weirdly, I’ve recently seen a lot of male [fitness influencers] on TikTok talking about eating more calories on your period, which is true to some extent, but it varies so much from person to person. So it’s weird to see guys out there acting like they’re the experts on periods when they don’t have firsthand experience with it.
Again, I’m a big believer in doing what’s right for your body. So, yeah, there are a lot of conversations to be had, but they need to be had by people with periods.
Last question: Do you have any general words of advice for aspiring athletes interested in starting a lifting or whole-body training program?
For anyone who’s starting, my number one word is nutrition! I don’t think that I realized that early on, how important nutrition is for your overall well being. And by nutrition, in relation to fitness, I don’t mean that you need to go into a caloric deficit or surplus – it’s more about taking out those processed foods and empty calories, that makes a big difference.
Also, for people going to the gym for the first time, if you have someone to go with, go with them. Of course, that’s not the easiest thing to do right now with COVID-19, but later on, give it a shot. You’ll feel a little bit more comfortable getting started if you have a friend with you – even if you both don’t know what you’re doing! And just keep at it. You don’t have to be perfect. Just start by showing up.