A few months ago I decided to try the bio hack that Dr Stacy Sims talks about in her book ROAR. (Side note – if you are female and care about your athletic performance, you really need to read this book!) I got pretty decent results so thought I would share it here as it may help many of you.
In the book she shared an action plan that she created for a mother daughter duo who were talking the mountain biking world by storm, with both women rising to the top of their game.
This action plan helped both women master their cycles and not let PMS affect their power or performance.
The plan is in four stages and is this:
- Peak Performance during PMS:
For the 7 days before your period starts, at night take the following;
250 milligrams of magnesium, 45 milligrams of zinc, 80 milligrams of aspirin (baby aspirin) and 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acid (flaxseed and fish oil)
Take 5 to 7 grams of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids).
*Stacy doesn’t state how long before training you should take this. I did this around 30 minutes before starting my session.
The science behind taking the BCAAs is that these amino acids cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore help to decrease the estrogen-progesterone effect on central nervous system fatigue. In other words it can hep fight the lack of mojo and help you find some energy.
- In Training:
Consume approx 0.45 gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight, per hour.
During this high hormone phase you want to consume a few more carbs per hour and should be aiming to get close to the above amount. During the first 2 weeks of your cycle, the low hormone phase, you can go lower at about 0.35 gram per pound of bodyweight, per hour.
*I used this for longer endurance based sessions only. For my CrossFit classes I only ever consume water during and make sure my pre and post fuelling strategy is on point. I am however going to rectify that and follow this part of the plan too.
- Post Training
Consume 20 to 25 grams of protein within 30 minutes of finishing your session.
Recovery is key. It is often overlooked yet so critical, especially as this point in your cycle. Progesterone, which is peaking during this phase, is extremely catabolic, which means it breaks down muscle. Getting that protein in post workout means you will be able to fight this process and boost, rather than inhibit, your recovery.
What did I notice?
It definitely helped me beat the bloat and keep my usual energy levels… something that never normally happens. I’m lucky that I don’t get super moody (although my husband may say otherwise!) but I do get a bit lazy, a bit “can’t be arsed” and a bit “m’eh”. Following this protocol meant I felt like me regardless of the time of the month 🙂 Who doesn’t want that!
If you feel PMS is holding you back, give this power protocol a go and see if you can learn to master your cycle too.