Sara Lynn Baker by Sara Lynn Baker

In the upcoming full-day ACE Health and Fitness Summit: Coaching and Training Women, happening on May 19th, attendees will get the pleasure of learning from Jiji Pollock, CPT, MS, and Ph.D. Candidate in Health and Human Performance. 

Jiji's session will be on "PMS and Exercise: Managing Training and Recovery to Boost Quality of Life." Did you know that 85% of women experience some type of PMS symptoms? And unfortunately, many are unaware that exercise can alleviate many of these symptoms. 

ACE had the opportunity to sit down with Jiji to talk about how impactful exercise can really be for women during their menstrual cycles. Keep reading to learn more about Jiji and the link between PMS, period pain symptoms and exercise programming.

 ACE: What is your exercise and fitness background?

 Jiji: I have been running and swimming since my teenage years. I fell in love with strength training in a Weightlifting-101 course as freshman at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo and have been strength training ever since. I was one of two females in the class.  

I became certified as a group fitness instructor in 1990... I then became interested in endurance training and have been ever since. I continued teaching fitness classes beyond my college years and while I raised my children.  As a graduate student in kinesiology in 1994, I became certified as a personal trainer.  During this time, I noticed the impact of the menstrual cycle on some of my female clients. There was not a lot of research on exercise and the impact of hormones and PMS back in the 1990’s.

I love learning and continue to attend workshops and conferences, reading books and articles to improve my knowledge and practical applications. After a long hiatus from school and raising my kids, I finally completed my master’s degree in kinesiology in 2019. I am currently finishing up my Ph.D. in Health and Human Performance pending my dissertation. 

 ACE: What is your current role at Institute of Motion?

 Jiji: I am the Director of Science. In this role, I work with a team to ensure we provide evidence-based educational content. I help facilitate and conduct lectures for continuing education courses, including exercise physiology fundamentals, exercise programming, athletic performance strategies, general health, and wellness science. I consult with corporate organizations with evidenced-based knowledge on exercise-related topics, training plans, health, and nutrition programs. I also provide our leadership team with research evaluation including developing and identifying creative solutions to address client needs.

 ACE: Do you have an area of specialty?

 Jiji: Although I have worked with male clients, most of my clients are female. I have worked with adolescent females, pregnant and post-partum clients, and perimenopausal and menopausal clients.

 ACE: For the ACE Health and Fitness Summit, you will be talking on PMS and Exercise.  Can you give us a little preview of what exactly you will be discussing regarding this topic?

 Jiji: One of my goals of my talk is to increase the awareness of the physiological causes of PMS.  I want attendees to understand the physiological importance of exercise to reduce PMS/menstruation pain as well as learn practical exercise recommendations to improve PMS symptoms.

ACE: Does exercise help manage PMS symptoms? Are there specific exercise strategies that you would recommend to women to help manage these symptoms?

 Jiji: Yes, exercise improves a woman’s physiology to help manage PMS symptoms. The “trick” is to learn the types of exercise to help get a woman moving when PMS symptoms are at their worse. If a woman is consistent with her exercise habits, PMS symptoms have been demonstrated to improve and diminish.

 ACE: Do these strategies change as women go through perimenopause and menopause?

 Jiji: The strategies will definitely help a woman through the menopausal stages because some of the symptoms may be similar.

 ACE: Why do you think this topic is important for fitness professionals?

 Jiji: I feel this topic is important for fitness professionals for a few reasons. First, it is to draw awareness that 85%, a significant number of women, experience PMS symptoms.  It is important for fitness professionals to understand that there are valid physiological reasons for PMS symptoms though it is often joked that PMS may be “phantom” feelings. Remaining physically active may help reduce and alleviate these PMS symptoms.

At the end of Jiji's session, you will be able to:
  • Identify physiological causes of PMS symptoms and period discomfort
  • Understand the impact these symptoms have on lifestyle and on the female body
  • Implement recovery management techniques and exercises that can improve symptoms and quality of life

To learn more and to register for the Virtual ACE Health & Fitness Summit click the image below or visit: ACE Health and Fitness Summit: Coaching and Training Women (


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