The Menstrual Cycle and Nutrition for Female Athletes

100 100 year athlete roar Jan 15, 2024

The Menstrual Cycle and Nutrition for Female Athletes 

100 Year Athlete Book Club: ROAR, Chapter 2 Bonus Episode

In the last episode of 100 Year Athlete, Alex and Ben discussed Chapter 2 of ROAR by Dr. Stacy Sims, which covers how menstrual cycles affect training and nutrition for female athletes. In this bonus episode and blog post, we look at a detailed nutritional protocol that Dr. Sims designed for a mother-daughter mountain biking duo.

Reading this, you might feel like it’s a lot to remember and do. Plus, if you pick up ROAR, you’ll find a ton of detailed protocols. The point isn’t to do everything Dr. Sims recommends – that’s just not realistic. Rather, the point is to read until you go, “Huh, that is a problem I experience…” and try out her suggestions. 

So, check out this protocol and note why Dr. Sims recommends each bit. Try some or all of this if it applies to you. And go buy ROAR for more protocols like this one.

Before Your Period

  • Nightly Starting 7 Days Before Period:
  • 250 mg Magnesium, 45 mg Zinc, 80 mg Aspirin, 1,000 mg Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Why? To mitigate cramping and discomfort associated with premenstrual syndrome. 

Pre-Training 7 Days Before Period

    • 5-7 grams of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), available in powder form.
    • Try mixing  Thorne Aminos into a shake or yogurt.
    • Why? To reduce fatigue and decrease the impact of estrogen and progesterone on your central nervous system.

Carbohydrate Intake Throughout Menstrual Cycle

  • Follicular Phase (day 1-14 of 28-day cycle)
  • 0.35 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight per hour of training.
      • Ex: A 130 lb. athlete would consume 45.5 grams of carbs during an hour session. 
      • Try supplementing carbs with Rocket Red
  • Luteal Phase (day 14-28 of 28-day cycle)
    • 0.45 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight per hour of activity.
    • Ex: A 130 lb. athlete would consume 58.5 grams of carb during an hour session.
  • Why? During the Luteal Phase your body needs more carbs to fuel your workouts due to the change in hormones

Post-Training Yearound

  • 20-25 grams of protein (or more) within 30 minutes of finishing training.
  • That counts against daily recommended protein intake: 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
  • Our favorite supplements include Rule 1 Proteins, Ascent Whey Protein, and Live Momentous.
  • Why? It helps with recovery and maximizes gains from your training.

If like many athletes you avoid supplements or have never tried taking protein post-workout, give it a shot!