That's why "going with the flow" could be the answer to your fitness goals

That’s why “going with the flow” could be the answer to your fitness goals

Brittany Barreto, Ph.D., is a podcaster, entrepreneur, and molecular and human geneticist. (In other words, she’s really smart.) She Read her column here every month to learn what’s happening in the world of technology and innovation in women’s health.

Have you ever left Zumba absolutely beaming and feeling like the fittest version of yourself? Then the next week you drag your body out of class wondering how you survived. This energy fluctuation may be linked to where you are in your menstrual cycle.

The shift in hormones can impact the body’s ability to recover after a workout at certain points in the cycle. Your cycle can also provide opportunities to capitalize on certain types of training. Through the four phases of the menstrual cycle, the body’s replenishment needs also change.

Here are four innovative companies that are empowering women’s fitness by harnessing the power of their periods.

1. Jennis — an everyday period fitness app

Created by a gold-winning former Olympic champion, Jessica Ennis HillTHE Jennifer application uses the latest hormonal health science to suggest what foods to eat and exercises to get the most out of your fitness journey and improve your overall health. But don’t be intimidated by its founder’s athletic prowess! The app is for the everyday person who is looking to stay active and healthy.

Jennis has customized programs for people who menstruate and… perimenopause. Cycle mapping (tracks estrogen and progesterone over the course of the month) is provided to optimize your nutrition and workouts based on which of the four phases of your menstrual cycle you’re in. The perimenopause program takes into account typical hormonal fluctuations and symptoms. And structure a daily eating and exercise plan that aims to keep your body healthy by reducing perimenopause symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes, and disrupted sleep.

2. Wild.AI — an app for the female athlete

(Photo/courtesy of Wild.AI)

Do you have a half marathon upcoming or have you just signed up for a trainer to help you reach your fitness goals? Wild.AI provides training intensity, duration, and recovery plans tailored to your menstrual cycle, from early period to perimenopause to postmenopause. This app is ideal for people who want to improve their training and reach their fitness goals sooner by using their hormones to their advantage.

Read: Has menopause got you down? There’s an app for that.

Women’s bodies change significantly during their menstrual cycle. We don’t show up to the gym or even a meal with the same biology every day. For example, you are more likely to beat your personal record during ovulation due to the high energy caused by the estrogen surge. And research suggests it female athletes are more prone to the ACL tears during the end of follicular phase (the longest phase of your menstrual cycle) because the increase in progesterone increases how far your ligaments can stretch (invented term for this = laxity). The thinking is that if we take into consideration our day-to-day biology, we can stay healthier, train harder, and see better results in less time.

You can easily sync app and wearable data with your profile. Wild.AI offers both paid and free plans for consumers, and the app also offers software for trainers and nutritionists to use their scientifically based training and nutrition plans for their clients.

3. My Normative: An app for keeping track of what’s normal for your period

My Regulatory App

(Photo/courtesy of my Policy)

My Policy allows women to find their normalcy. The lack of research into women’s health has led to incorrect assumptions about what is average for every woman. For example, just 13% of women have a 28-day menstrual cycle, which is considered “normal” or “average”. So we could all benefit from finding out what our personal baselines are and evaluating our health based on what’s “normal” for us.

When you use the app, you can enter all kinds of information about how you’re feeling, what you’ve eaten, and what activities you’ve been doing. This information is visually displayed on a menstrual cycle map, making it easy to spot patterns and trends. The app keeps learning and provides insight into what your personal patterns are.

Another unique feature: You can sign up for clinical research projects where your anonymous data (i.e. private of your personal data) can contribute to science. For example, users have contributed to research on hormonal variability in high-performance athletes, how premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can affect health and well-being, and new research on ovulation.

We keep seeing new innovations as we learn more about how the female body works. Sports, fitness and nutrition have historically been based on a male standard. But as we can see from the above examples, the future of women’s health will incorporate hormonal fluctuations and other issues specific to women and those assigned female at birth. We may one day look back at what we suggested women eat and do to be healthy and shake our heads that those plans didn’t include menstruation. Fortunately, the future is closer than ever.

The product and/or service information in this column does not constitute any form of endorsement or recommendation by HealthyWomen. The links are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. This column may occasionally cover companies in which Brittany Barreto is an investor.

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