PMS & Training – Episode 131

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [1:02] Sleeping After Long Periods Of Being Awake
  2. [6:47] PMS Thwarting Training Goals
  3. [16:54] Proper Low Bar Squat Position
  4. [24:54] Cracks In The Corner of Mouth
  5. [27:05] Goal Setting
  6. [40:22] Gum Recession
  7. [43:45] High Blood Pressure
  8. [48:49] Best Fitness Program For Military Soldiers
  9. [55:14] Antidepressants and Anti-Anxiety Medications


1. sleeping after long periods of being awake

Chad says:
Hi Robb,

Really appreciate the podcast, book, website and everything you are doing for paleo. I’ve only recently converted to a paleo diet but the changes have been impressive.
I’m an orthopaedic surgery resident and, as such, get to enjoy the joys of being on call and having a pretty crazy schedule most of the year. I try to get as much sleep as possible but I know that I am often unable to get as much sleep as I feel I need.  My question is this: For those days when I’m post-call (after having worked for 24-30 hours straight) what is the best way to go about sleeping when I get home around noon? Should I try to sleep for a good amount of time (6hrs), then wake up for a bit before going back to bed later that night, take a shorter nap immediately when I get home and then go to be earlier at night or just not sleep at all and go to bed even earlier? I’m just trying to figure out how to minimize the damage this cycle causes to my adrenals and the rest of mind/body.

2. I don’t want to train like a girl but my ovaries keep getting in the way

Karen says:
My question is probably TMI but here it goes. I’ve been paleo for the past year and about 6 months ago I started crossfit. Everything has been going awesome so far, with just one exception.

My goals for the past couple  months has been to get stronger and faster, no calorie restriction up my protein and carbs, keeping everything heavy and other awesome tips from my portable greg evertt (its awesome and everyone should buy it)

My husband is on deployment and about 3weeks before he comes home I’ll focus on leaning out by going low carb and mixing in some IF. (Of course IF only when I’ve got all my ducks in a row; sleep, eating clean on non IF days, ect)

But I have found a hiccup. The best advice I got was to not train like a girl. I lift heavy and I only whine in my head when I break a nail. But PMS is a bitch, about a week before my period I am a pile of shit. I can barely run 400m, dead lifting my body weight feels almost impossible, and I get sore a lot easier. I know my mouth isn’t a vacuum cleaner but my stomach doesn’t pay attention to my brain for that week. I destroy anything and everything that gets in my way and it’s when I usually cheat with not so awesome foods. I’m better at eating gluten free junk now, but junk is still junk.

I don’t want to train like a girl but my ovaries keep getting in the way. I know that I cant completely get rid of my symptoms but its frustrating. I feel like I make huge strides forward and then have to take a huge step back every month.

The most info I can find is that it’s “probably normal.” But I know from being paleo that normal doesn’t always mean good. Is there anything else I could do to help out with my symptoms? I have been on BC before and although it helps with pms, but I get really bad nausea and other symptoms that last all month long.

Any help? You just had that testosterone episode and it was hilarious. Any equally insightful/funny input to offer for the fairer sex?

Thanks for the podcast and keep up the awesomeness

3. Proper low-bar squat bar position

Tom V, Says:

I have been attempting to squat using the correct low-bar position, as outlined in “Starting Strength” by Mark Rippetoe.  However, I am having some trouble.  Rippetoe states that the bar should rest just below the spine of the scapula, the thumb should be on top of the bar, and the wrist should be straight, so that the bar rests on the back and does not put pressure on the wrist joint.

My problem is, if I take this position the bar has to sit somewhere like 1/3 of the way up my forearm, unless I somehow rip my arms out of my shoulder sockets to move them far enough back for my hands to rest on top of the bar.  Is this an acceptable position?  I feel like I am lacking control over the bar this way.

I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

4. Cuts On The Corner Of My Mouth

Ron says:
I Sometimes Get Cracks in Corner of My Mouth. What You Should I Do? Is It A Vitamin Deficiency or Yeast Overgrowth?  Cause and cure?—What-You-Should-Do&id=1022667

5. Goooooooooooooooooooooall!!!!!

Geoff says:
Robb and Greg –

In numerous past episodes both of you have offered the sage advice that we should evaluate our individual nutrition and training strategies in light of our respective goals.  Would you please spend a few moments to discuss your respective views on the process of goal-setting?  What advice do you give your clients on how they should choose their goals?  Do you work with them in that process?  If so, how?  What are some of the most effective goal-setting strategies you have used?  How do you go about setting your own personal goals?

Many thanks to you both for all you do.


P.S. Rob, are you banking podcasts (“I, Caveman” style) in anticipation of the Wolf cub’s arrival?

6. is GUM RECESSION a Paleo side-affect?

Jen says:
Robb and “the ever large and in charge Greg Everett”… you guys are AH-MAZING!

I’ve listened to all the podcasts twice, and I’ve heard you guys talk a decent amount about gum recession.  I’ve also seen several tweets on the topic.

I have always had some issues with gum recession, but I have noticed that it’s ALOT worse since I started eating 100%  Paleo in July of 2011.

I take 200 mg of Co-Q-10 each day, as Robb suggests, I use a Sonicare toothbrush VERY gently, I floss every day, and I swish with the purple Listerine that my dentist recommended.

A few years ago I had to have some gum from the roof of my mouth grafted on my lower gums because the root of one of my teeth was nearing exposure.  I definitely do not want to have these surgeries throughout my life (I’m only 27, and otherwise super-healthy and pretty dang hott;), and I’m not sure why my gums have gotten so much worse since starting Paleo.

Maybe reducing all the inflammation has caused my gums to decrease in size/puffiness?  That doesn’t really make sense, does it?

Help!  I want a purdy mouth!

PS: I did Google this first, so don’t verbally spank me!  I didn’t find anything from sources that I trust, and I would love to hear some opinions from you two.

7. High Blood Pressure FAIL

Jeff in Brooklyn says:
Dear Rob and Greg,
First off, thank you so much for what you guys are doing.  Between the podcast, website, and Robb’s book coupled with the awesome paleo community, I have been able to correct my dietary ways and loose 50 pounds.  I’ve lost 10 inches off my waist, I rarely get sick, I sleep great (when my 1 month old lets me), and I have great energy and am able to concentrate better than ever.  There is one last health issue that won’t go away.  My high blood pressure.
My BP tends to run between 140/80 to 155/100.  Far from the previous highs of 180/110, but far from my goal of 120/80 or less.  I have tried everything from increasing my magnesium supplementation, eating more potassium rich foods, cutting salt, increasing salt, quitting caffeine, etc. with no avail.  I have done some heavy Googling and all I usually find are success stories using the standard paleo diet protocol.
What are your thoughts on this? Am I missing something?  Should I up my activity level (I unfortunately cannot afford a gym membership, so it would consist of body weight exercises and sprints/light jogging)?  I am due for my annual physical, so should I ask for some specific blood work?  Am I using too many commas and parentheses in this letter?   I am at a loss here and am scared of what’s going to happen long term cardiovascularly, or when I up my life insurance next. (BTW, do you know of a way to drop my BP just for the medical exam in case I can’t get it down by then? Seriously.)   Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again for all your help and thanks in advance for (hopefully) answering my question.
Here are the deets on me:
6’4” – 235lbs – 34” waist – 12.5% body fat (as per the Navy BF% calculation)
Activity Level: Moderate. I walk about 30 min 5x a week as part of my daily NYC commute.  Weekend activity consists of running after my 2 year old and shopping on foot.
Bloodwork (As of 10/3/2011)
Total Cholesterol: 175 (HDL 39/LDL 124)
Triglycerides: 66
Glucose: 82
Daily Supplements:
600mg Magnesium Citrate (200 in the morning, 400 before bed)
10,000iu Vit D3
10,000iu Vit A (retinol)
2100mcg Vit K2 (Life Extensions K2 Complex)
1g Vit C
3 caps of Kelp for approx 1200mcg iodine
200mcg Selenium (Life Extensions Selenium Complex)
1 Centrum Silver Multi
5g Creatine Monohydrate (for cognition benefits)

8. Best Fitness program

SGT Ayala says:

Hello, First off I would like to say thank you for reading this E-mail and also for providing the world with such a wonderful education on nutrition.  I have been eating paleo since 2011 and would with out a doubt it has changed my life.  I even have my soldiers on it.

I guess my question is with all of the fitness systems out there and all the controversy that sounds each one of them, which would be ideal for the war fighter?  My Platoon Sergeant and I are looking fitness system that would replace  the Army  fitness program that does a really good job at creating injuries.  My soldiers and I have used conventional training methods and never really achieved good results.  People say Gym jones is the answer, then another says Crossfit, still others say Stew Smith programs are best.  Im a pretty stubborn to change so if I do change I want to know I’m not wasting my time.

Than you again for your time and patience.


9. AntiDepressants and AntiAnxiety Medications -The AntiPaleo Solution for Depression and Anxiety?

Will says:
Rob and Greg,

I am a big fan of the podcast and all the work both you guys do.  I am relatively new to the whole paleo scene, basically been following it strict for a little over a month now.  I have a few generic questions regarding the use of antidepressants (SSRI’s) and/or antianxiety medications and possible implications on blunting the benefits of a strict paleo diet.  I am 26 and I was recently put on a low dose SSRI (Zoloft) as well as Wellbutrin for anxiety – though my question pertains to all antidepressant and antianxiety medications.  I have been reading a lot of mixed reviews on the Internet dealing with the downsides of SSRI’s – specifically, their negative affects on cortisol and more generally their overall impact on the adrenal system.  I have read multiple articles claiming that single doses (taking just one pill, one time and never taking it ever again) of an SSRI can double your cortisol levels.  Another article argued that SSRI’s could mask the indicators of adrenal fatigue, which could in fact be the source of ones anxiety and/or depression.  Finally, I have read that these medications can be bad for the gut and prevent it from fully healing.  A lot of these points I have read in Chris Kresser’s works and I know he is adamantly against taking antidepressants.  So my questions:

Do Antidepressants and antianxiety medications impact cortisol levels, adrenal glands, irritate the gut, and/or cause any other paleo blunting (general health) results?

If healing the gut and regulating components of one’s endocrine system is vital to good health can a person on SSRI’s and other antianxiety medications still achieve the FULL benefits of a paleo diet or can optimal results only be achieved once the medications are stopped?

Finally, if the antidepressants and antianxiety medications do have a negative impact on achieving optimal results from paleo is it a trade off worth making?  For example, if I have rough anxiety/and or depression that causes fatigue as well as puts me in a constant state of stress is it worth taking medications to mitigate those stressors?  Basically, I could function without the medications though likely in a much more heightened state of stress, due to my anxiety, which would likely create cortisol/insulin issues anyways.  If SSRI’s are as bad as I have read I am stuck in a bit of a Catch 22 here – either I’ll get elevated cortisol from antianxiety meds or I’ll get it from not taking the meds.  Should I stick with the meds OR should I try to kick the medication (safely) and focus only on using paleo and supplements to help with my anxiety?  If so, what supplements should I use?

Thanks for all the help, keep up the good work.

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  1. bankei says

    Thanks guys, I also second Fridtjof. I took college German and he is correct.

    I feel that this lifestyle can help a person discern as to whether psycho-emotional issues are truly cognitive-emotional-behavioral in origin, or due to a screwed up neuroendocrine system from the SAD and lifestyle. When I first began letting myself eat saturated fats, and slowly moving towards the paleo approach, I had many days of feeling a rush of energy as testosterone, serotonin, dopamine, and epi/norepi levels seemed enhance and normalize. And that mental fog that continuously knocked me over lifted.
    After this period, when things were going on in my life, I knew for a fact if they were interpersonal/psychological, or lifestyle related.
    There is immense untapped potential with the mental health field here!

  2. says

    question 4)OK, Angular cheilitis /keel- I – tus/ is often caused by a fungus…kennalog cream in an or abase gel can relieve this ( dentist prescribes)- but first, try changing toothpastes and see if you might have an allergy to the one you are using, or just try baking soda for a while….NO LISTERINE!!!

    question 3)
    as far as the low bar back squat goes, folks don’t know that the spine of the scapulae are pretty high…watch this video.

    question 6): recession is caused by grinding or clenching your teeth in your sleep. it is NOT reversible with anything other than graft surgery. Get a *professional* night guard and floss. the sports night guards do not work!!! the guard needs to let your teeth slide across each other as to not rock the tooth and ping out your ligament that holds the gum in place…….SHAME ON YOUR SURGEON FOR NOT INSISTING ON ONE IN THE FIRST PLACE!

  3. says

    I’m not familiar with cheilitis resulting from a fungus, but it is commonly associated with B2 or B6 deficiency. A high protein intake increases the need for B6 (as it is used during the metabolism of protein). Anything that might interfere with normal absorption could further affect the status of these vitamins. I’d say supplement a B spectrum pill or regular multivitamin and see if it goes away. If it doesn’t perhaps you can explore Eva Twardokens suggestion above.

  4. Anna says

    First of all, I want to thank both of you for everything you do. It really is greatly appreciated!

    Secondly: “Don’t you capitalize the first letter of all nouns in German?” You’re absolutely right.

    [And, as a sideline:
    Thirdly, Greg, you’ve got an amazing radio voice!
    And fourthly, even my boyfriend agrees on point three.]

  5. Jemima says

    I get angular chelitis occasionally if I’m a bit run down. I use a little zinc oxide cream dabbed on it before bed and it heals it up every time.

  6. Jen says

    Thanks so much for this post. I’m slowly getting off my depression medications after 5 years! Not having the easiest time, but getting by. I’ve been getting more ‘maybe you just need to stay on them’ then support in my endeavor. Question. Is there a specific way I should be eating (high protein or fat)? I have already ‘cured’ my acid reflux and recently cut out fructose to clear my acne, but I’d rather suffer with those than crying every night (not there yet/again). lol. Thanks for your help and your amazing podcast, might hit rock bottom again when I catch up and have withdrawals.

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