Industry

WHOOP Launches Menstrual Cycle Coaching, Annie Thorisdottir Offers Praise

February 8, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Instagram @anniethorisdottir
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WHOOP, the wearable technology company that measures strain, recovery and sleep that’s popular in the CrossFit community today, has rolled out a new feature—Menstrual Cycle Coaching—designed for women with natural cycles to “better factor their cycles into their training plan and sleeping habits,” explained Emily Capodilupo, VP of Data Science and Research at WHOOP.

It’s a feature that was quickly embraced by 11-time CrossFit Games athlete Annie Thorisdottir, who provided feedback to WHOOP since using their Menstrual Cycle Coaching in recent weeks to gain insights into how the various hormonal shifts she experiences throughout the month influence her sleep, strain, recovery and ultimately her training.

“I felt like this was something that should be readily available for not just elite level athletes but everyone in general as to maximize your efforts in training and get the best possible results in competition,” Thorisdottir said. “Our hormonal levels change throughout the month so it is only natural that fueling and performance will also be affected.”

Feature details: Before launching their Menstrual Cycle Coaching feature in November 2021, WHOOP’s research team looked at almost 400,000 days of data across 14,000 menstrual cycles from close to 5,000 women who menstruate. 

  • Today, those using the feature are able to track their menstruation within the Journal feature on the WHOOP app, and then the Coach feature takes the information and suggests how much they should train or rest based on where they’re at in their cycle. 
  • “For example, as your hormones change throughout your cycle, you will have periods in which you are more or less primed for intense training, or in need of more or less sleep, which is why strain and sleep coach will adjust to provide personalized recommendations based on each phase of your cycle and how your sleep and training have responded to them in the past” Capodilupo said.
  • But what’s especially unique and important to the WHOOP feature compared to other companies, Capodilupo added, is how it takes “into account current day-to-day baselines to make recommendations or provide insights.”

The big picture: Tracking her cycle has had an impact on her sleep, nutrition and training, Thorisdottir explained.

  • “I’ve learned that it’s not just time spent in bed but the quality of that time, the time you actually sleep and recover that matters. With the added stress of having a toddler and a less rigid sleep routine, it (has) been crucial to me to track how I recover day to today so I can maximize the training, not overreach, and not under train,” she said. 
  • Since using WHOOP’s Menstrual Cycle Coaching feature, Thorisdottir has been “cycling my carbs a little differently depending on which part of the cycle I am in,” she said.
  • She added: “I know at what part of the cycle I am the strongest, and when I breathe the best. I also know that (during) certain parts of the month it is likely that high intensity training will hit me harder and I will need more sleep in order to recover. All of these things (are) items that I never even considered just a few short years ago. This is something that every single woman should be aware of.”

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