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Why Should You Use a Period Tracking App?

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Earlier this year we wrote a blog on Dieting & That Time of the Month discussing some strategies to help you keep on top of your nutrition through your menstrual cycle. This time of the month can trigger some cravings and result in increased hunger, and there are a ton of benefits to keeping track of your cycle.

Getting Started with Period Tracking Apps

You can kick it old school and put an ‘X’ on your calendar if you’d like, but with a phone app you can get down to the details and keep all of your data one discreet place. While there are endless options for apps that will help track your cycle and symptoms, out of all the free apps we researched Flo was the winner.

This app is highly intuitive and allows you to track daily data like mood, PMS symptoms, weight as well as possible modifiers like stress, travel or illness to help give context to your data. The app also provides predictions of when your next cycle will occur based on the data you initially input. It also adjusts its predictions over time based on your cycling patterns and accumulated data.

Why Track?

If you ask most women when their next cycle is and they’ll likely be able to give you a general estimate, but since the majority of women don’t cycle on a ‘typical’ 28 day schedule, it might be that your period comes a few days earlier or later than the previous month, making your ‘PMS predictions’ slightly off.

We’ve all had those days where we want to cry at the gym, while eating a whole pizza and giving cut eye to someone who breathes a little too loudly only to start our period a few days later and have it ALL make sense.

  1. Most obviously, hunger levels can fluctuate in and around your cycle. Some women even experience appetite loss and nausea so logging notes on where your appetite is increased or suppressed will help guide your meal prep choices.
  2. Tracking fatigue, motivation and recovery from training allows you to put into context particularly challenging sessions in the gym. If there is a trend that the week before or the week of your menstrual cycle this can be used to periodize training cycles or deload weeks. Also, if you find that the impact is more mental than physical, it could mean that you handle higher volume at lighter weights vs heavier weights that could need more mental edge to complete confidently.
  3. Understanding the scale’s trends can help soften some of the stress that happens when it shoots up a few pounds overnight. Although we *know* that it’s due to hormonal water retention, viewing patterns over the long term can help give us an idea of what to expect, and can be a reminder that fat loss can still be accomplished when the body is holding on to extra water weight.

Further Resources

Want to learn more about the science behind the menstrual cycle and see what experts have to say on the topic? Check out these links!

Interview With Lyle McDonald | Part 1 | Nutrition and Training for Women

The Menstrual Cycle and Contraceptives: A Complete Guide for Athletes

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Posted by Kate Hart
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