PMS & Performance

By Coach Abby

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Ladies, I know you have been there…

You wake up, after a night of tossing and turning…in pain, uncomfortable, hot, maybe a little sweaty, maybe a little irritable knowing what you’re going to be waking up to. 

Your period….



Didn’t I just have it? 

Even after about 22 years of that monthly visit, I still don’t know exactly what is the “right” thing to do. 

Call out of work? 

Lay down on the couch all day with a heating pad and watch The Notebook 3 times in a row? (I’ve actually done that before.) 

I’ve felt like it’s not a proper excuse to drop everything for those uncomfortable 5-7 days a month. 

Especially working out. 

Now I don’t know about you ladies, but I get it bad!

Pain in my back, pain down the front of my legs, pain in my stomach, and I’m going to get REAL right now, I get a Very. Heavy. Flow. 

I share this candidly folks, because it’s something I believe we should be able to speak openly about because there are some major things going on in our bodies during our cycle, and it is ok and completely normal. 


During this time, I just feel off. I feel weak, I feel like my muscles ache, I could experience a roller coaster of emotions…wild, uncontrollable mood swings which may go from crying spells to angry outbursts and then back to a stable emotional state — all in one day. Who’s with me? (Sorry fellas, it’s our hormones talking, not us). 

This could all feel overwhelming…But, what I’ve found as of late is pretty amazing. When I have my period, and I’m experiencing allllll the symptoms….


1.) I listen to my body.

2.) I communicate.

I have to say I am blessed to have some pretty amazing gentleman around me. My father, my boyfriend Sean and my team – Nolan, Shawn and Peter. And I’m very happy to say that they all are very open and supportive when they know Gail is off. 

Sometimes I can be an over sharer (😬) but, talking about how I’m feeling is so important. If I’m not at my usual level 10, they immediately know, so when I’m able to talk about why it makes me feel so much better. 


Listening to my body is just as important. Maybe there’s a day where I don’t lift as heavy (even though I love lifting heavy things), maybe I don’t go 100% but more like 75%, or maybe I just take a day off and go for a walk or do some stretching.

I’ve honestly doing that all of those help. Moving helps. Lying around on the couch all day feeling every bit of symptoms, doesn’t help. 

I’ve actually been told from my doctor there are physical and chemical changes that occur in the body during menstruation that can be alleviated through exercise

Exercise can increase the production of endorphins (“feel-good hormones”) and reduce that anxiety feeling, pain, improving your mood! 

I will leave you with this, something I found extremely empowering and important for all of us! 


  1. Education, education, education: Invest some time to learn about the menstrual cycle and menstruation. Knowledge is power. I encourage you and any girls and women in sport to educate yourselves about what is normal—and what is not normal.

2. Monitor your cycles: Become more aware and understanding of your menstrual cycle and your experiences. In doing so, you can track when you feel mentally and physically good or bad. Use the good times to your advantage and focus on strategies to optimize other times.

3. Seek support when required: Know how to manage your symptoms, but also how, when, and from whom you should seek help if and when necessary.

As more research emerges around the menstrual cycle and sport, and athletes continue to speak out, more coaches, support teams, and governing bodies of sport will listen and respond. Consequently, we will be able to help further improve female performances.

We can all do our bit for the next generation of females coming through sporting systems by starting to talk about menstrual cycles. Periods have long been a subject that the sports environment did not encourage us to talk about. Let’s change that. Period.

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