Early follicular / menstrual cycle performance got ya down? Or maybe you have a big competition or race or event but are worried about it falling at the start of your menstrual cycle?
Some things to not here: slightly decreased performance in the early follicular phase was one of the main findings of a meta analysis (McNulty et al 2020) but is still pretty mixed across the literature. So this may not be YOUR experience.
Here they found that while performance was slightly decreased in the early follicular phase vs mid luteal — caffeine intake fully reverted that loss. This is good news!
I like this study because it fits my bias: we should be using nutritional, supplement, behavior of lifestyle adjustments within our cycle to help minimize symptoms impact on performance &/or to support menstruating trainees in making progress month long in whatever way that looks for them.
Since caffeine is one of the most effective and powerful ergogenic aid (something that enhances performance) this makes sense! And means we can continue to consider it as a nutrition strategy.
If you’re caffeine sensitive you could also consider reserving this for events or completions if they fall during symptomatic periods for you.
As always — one study isn’t the end all be all. And many individuals respond to caffeine differently. But you could consider playing with this approach in your training or competing!
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