Despite the growing recognition of the significance of the menstrual cycle as a driver of performance in female athletes, barriers to awareness and education still exist. Our recent global survey of active females, conducted in partnership with Strava and St Mary’s University Twickenham revealed that:
· 74% reported their menstrual cycle negatively affected their performance
· 82% had never discussed their menstrual cycle with their coach
· 72% received no education regarding exercise and their menstrual cycle
We found that the lack of discussion is often driven by the fact that there is little education for athletes and coaches about the menstrual cycle or how it relates to exercise and well-being. Female physiology is unique, and training and nutrition can be adapted to optimize performance.
Ovarian hormones travel in the blood and can influence a range of physiological processes throughout each phase of an athlete’s cycle. They can affect response to training, metabolism of food, general wellness and risk of certain types of illness and injury. For example, the risk of ACL injuries is increased when oestrogen peaks just before ovulation. These changes can alter the requirements for an athlete’s training, nutrition and recovery.
As part of our female athlete programme we developed FitrCoach – an education and monitoring platform for coaches and their support teams to understand the different stages of the menstrual cycle and help advance the way female athletes train in order to sustain peak performance at the highest level. FitrCoach is used by world-class organisations around the world including the US Women’s National Soccer Team, who delivered a history-making winning performance at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup!
FitrCoach syncs seamlessly with our FitrWoman app so you can support your athletes during each phase of their menstrual cycle.
Athletes give their permission to share their FitrWoman profiles with their coach on FitrCoach so you can monitor their status in real-time, plan ahead and individualize their training sessions. Once connected, you can see what phase each athlete is in, note what symptoms they have logged, and learn about how and why changing hormone levels affect female physiology throughout the menstrual cycle so you can maximize every session for every athlete.
Knowledge is power. FitrCoach helps you to prepare for every session so you can reduce injury risk, accelerate recovery and optimize performance.
The menstrual cycle is a natural process and an important indicator of good health that shows the endocrine (hormonal) system is working. We need to open up the conversation about periods to help unlock the performance potential in female athletes, with athlete health always at the forefront. For coaches and athletes alike, no matter what your sport is, it is not about training harder, it is about training smarter and working with a female’s natural physiology, not against it.
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