In 2019 the US women’s soccer team (USWNT) reported that they had added a ‘period consultant’ to their team of nutritionists and strength coaches as they prepared for the upcoming world cup.
From tracking each team member’s menstrual cycle their coach was then were able to design strategies to maximise performance during each phase.
Dawn Scott, high performance coach for both the USWNT and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), told Good Morning America,1
We could see what [menstrual cycle] phase a player was in and what some of their symptoms were,” Scott said. “I would just text or say to a player, ’Hey you’re in phase three and we know you get disrupted sleep, so make sure you do x, y and z.
Tracking their cycle empowered players to be proactive. Rather than just trying to push through or train ‘like a man’ they used their cycle to optimise their training.
The team went on to win the 2019 world cup with Rose Lavelle scoring the winning goal. She got her period the next day. Obviously this made headlines. But understanding our menstrual cycle and our hormones should be included alongside topics such as nutrition, training, & recovery.
Using menstrual cycle tracking should (and can) help us to plan our training, exercise and workouts.2 And I really do believe that this is the foundation of which everything else is built upon. It really shouldn’t be a headline! It should be a normal everyday discussion. And it is certainly not just for the pros.