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November 22, 2021

New WHOOP Feature: Menstrual Cycle Coaching

Menstrual Cycle Coaching is part of the investment WHOOP is making in women’s performance science and research.

By Casey Meserve

WHOOP is rolling out Menstrual Cycle Coaching to help people who menstruate better integrate their menstrual cycles into their training and sleeping plans. Menstrual Cycle Coaching gives you insights into how the phases of your menstrual cycle affect your sleep and strain from one day to the next.

The menstrual cycle causes dramatic hormonal shifts throughout the month, producing different physiological responses. In some phases you may be more able to take on strain, can work out harder and experience higher gains, while in other phases you may need more sleep. By tracking menstruation in the WHOOP Journal, the Strain Coach and Sleep Coach can calibrate to each phase of your cycle and provide recommendations based on your phase.

WHOOP menstrual cycle calendar

Use the calendar feature in Menstrual Cycle Coaching to find personalized recommendations based on the phase of your cycle.

 

Coaching Recommendations Based on Research and Data

Women have been historically underrepresented in sports science and research, which is why WHOOP studied the relationship between the menstrual cycle, hormonal birth control, and recovery in partnership with female physiology and nutrition expert Dr. Stacy Sims. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, uncovered key differences between natural menstrual cycles and hormonal birth controlled menstrual cycles.

One of the study’s findings is that our ability to recover changes throughout the natural menstrual cycle differently than when hormonal birth control is used. The effect of hormonal birth control on recovery further varied depending on whether or not the birth control contains estrogen.

This study inspired WHOOP to ask how we could help people who menstruate understand how to train using their WHOOP data. Menstrual Cycle Coaching is the result.

Menstrual Cycle Coaching recommends maximizing training during your period based on how hormone levels change throughout the month. During the early follicular phase (your period), you produce more testosterone than at any other phase in your cycle. Testosterone allows you to build more muscle and recover better. On the other hand, as your body prepares for menstruation in the late luteal phase (just before your period) your body is less able to take on additional strain and it may be a good time for an active recovery day.

Whatever exercise you do, you’ll see better gains during your period than in any other phase. But everyone is different and if you have low energy or have poor recoveries during your period, you may choose not to work out harder during your period. Experiment with Menstrual Cycle Coaching while working out and see how your recoveries improve.

WHOOP menstrual cycle coaching strain

WHOOP provides personalized coaching based on your menstrual cycle.

 

Who Can Use Menstrual Cycle Coaching?

People who do not use hormonal birth control can benefit from using the Menstrual Cycle Coaching on WHOOP. Hormonal birth control methods, including pills, hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs), rings, and patches change the hormonal fluctuations throughout a normal menstrual cycle. If you do use a form of hormonal birth control the existing Strain and Sleep Coach algorithms are accurate for you. The week before your period is associated with lower quality sleep and more time spent awake than the rest of your cycle. You can learn more about the science behind Menstrual Cycle Coaching by reading this post on the Sleep Coach and your menstrual cycle.

 

WHOOP is Investing in Women’s Performance Science

WHOOP continues developing features to help women throughout all life stages including menstruation, pregnancy, post-partum, menopause and more. Menstrual Cycle Coaching is a continuation of the investments WHOOP is making in women’s performance science.

WHOOP menstrual cycle coaching

WHOOP provides members with personalized strain and sleep recommendations based on the phases of your menstrual cycle.

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Casey Meserve

Casey Meserve is a writer at WHOOP. Prior to joining WHOOP, they were an SEO Strategist at TechTarget, an editor at Patch.com, and a reporter for the Old Colony Memorial in Plymouth, Mass. Casey graduated from Bridgewater State University with a master’s degree in English Literature and from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts where they studied Journalism and played rugby. Casey lives in the woods of Rhode Island and enjoys growing vegetables and flowers for the deer to eat, running (slowly) and watching the Boston Bruins.

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