Breakthrough app aims to smash taboos about training during your period

9 Jun 2017

Image: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Ireland-based Orreco has developed a new app to help athletes optimise their performances.

Irish sports and data science company Orreco has released a new app, designed to help women to exercise to their full potential during their period.

The company says FitrWoman has been designed, developed and tested by women, for women.

‘Historically, there’s never been much talk about the menstrual cycle and how it impacts women in sport’

Future Human

The app, which is available for free on the Apple App Store, provides training sessions for women built around their hormone levels on any given day of their menstrual cycle. It also includes nutritional recommendations, alerts for when the athletes might be more susceptible to certain injuries, and a calendar update that shows when your next period is due.

Orreco says that the app is a world first and has been underpinned by evidence-based research.

FitrWoman was conceived and developed by Orreco’s product development manager Grainne Conefrey and PhD research scientist Georgie Bruinvels. Bruinvels is an international distance runner.

Bruinvels’ research paper on sports, exercise and the menstrual cycle was published last year by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The two women will unveil FitrWoman at the 2017 Female Athlete Conference in Boston today (9 June).

Smashing taboos

“Historically, there’s never been much talk about the menstrual cycle and how it impacts women in sport,” Conefrey said.

“In fact, it has been shown to be one of the key causes for drop-out in younger women. Many already know that changing hormone levels can negatively affect mood and energy levels, and how the body responds to certain types of training – they just don’t know how to influence those factors. FitrWoman will change all that.”

According to the company, the app applies individualised data about a woman’s menstrual cycle to offer training and nutrition recommendations tailored to the fluctuating hormone levels of their cycle.

It gives women direct access to personalised day-to-day suggestions, which lets them manage their training and nutrition to optimise performance throughout their cycle.

Orreco was founded in Ireland in 2010 by sport scientist Dr Brian Moore and haematologist Dr Andrew Hodgson.

Orreco’s actionable data solutions have already gained significant traction with professional sports stars in Formula 1, on the PGA tour, and with players and teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, English Premier League and Olympic sports.

The Orreco team includes 16 PhDs, who have worked with 35 Olympic medalists since the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and published more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The company’s growing client roster now includes NBA team the Dallas Mavericks and NBA star Wilson Chandler of the Denver Nuggets.

Orreco is the first high-performance sport company in the world to partner with IBM Watson, the cognitive computing platform.

The Irish company’s actionable data and expertise is fed into Watson to help coaches and professional athletes make key decisions based on the latest scientific research and personalised solutions for nutrition, sleep and training programmes.

Orreco investors include NYC-based Teneo Holdings and Tom Killalea, former VP of technology at Amazon, and Orreco board member.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years