Irish sports data group Orreco has unveiled a new app to help connect coaches and women athletes through the use of the company’s female health platform.
FitrCoach is intended to work with the redesigned FitrWoman app, which allows women athletes to record physical and mental symptoms and wellbeing, in a bid to identify patterns potentially linked to their menstrual cycle and help them train more effectively as a result.
The app offers women guidance on nutrition and training, personalised to the user and taking into account her cycle and symptoms.
Studies carried out by FitrWoman have shown up to 70 per cent of women athletes say their performance is affected during their menstrual cycle. However, less than 30 per cent said they have been educated on this.
“We believe women’s physiology is a superpower that can be harnessed. Men don’t have that indication,” said Orreco chief executive Brian Moore. “You can actually harness the power of your physiology to be your best on any given day. Knowledge is power. If you know when you can start to see see the pattern emerge, then you know how to handle it.”
The FitrCoach companion app syncs data shared by athletes with their coach to help them devise training plans that take into account the unique physiology of their athletes.
A basic version of the platform gives access to basic menstrual cycle tracking and other fundamentals free of charge. The premium version adds detailed reporting and analytics on every athlete, offers coach resources, symptom management strategies and advanced data visualisation tools for cycles and symptoms.
Athletes can opt in to the platform and share information with their coach on symptoms they’re experiencing – or not – and any challenges they’re facing.
“The coach companion was a way to help coaches to understand this can be a difficult conversation to even start,” said Mr Moore.
FitrWoman is in use by a number of elite-level teams and sportspeople, including the Irish women’s football team, Chelsea FC women, British Athletics, USA Swimming and USA Volleyball. But the company said the app is designed to be used by all women who want insights into how their menstrual cycle is impacting their training.
Among the app’s users is 10-time Olympic medallist and US swimmer Allison Schmitt. She has been using FitrWoman since 2019, and began working with the company in 2022 to break down the taboos associated with periods.
“It’s about being the CEO of your own body,” she said. “Our goal is to be proactive and really understand your own symptoms in so that you can be your best no matter what day of your menstrual cycle you’re on.”
Founded by Dr Moore and consultant haematologist Andy Hodgson in 2010, Orreco uses machine learning and data analytics to monitor the health of sportspeople, helping to accelerate recovery and prolong careers. The company was named the winner of The Irish Times Innovation Awards in 2023.