My honest review of three period tracking apps
It seems like the sports world is hungry for information about tracking your cycle. How do you track? What does it mean for athletic performance? What strategies can you use to manage period symptoms and match training to your cycle? There’s a lot to unpack here, and I definitely can’t do it all in one post! For today, I just want to tackle period tracking apps.
I’ve used this app for about a year or more, so this is the one I’m most familiar with. It’s geared toward active menstruating females. This app is nice as it includes suggestions on how to alter training depending on which point in your cycle you’re at. For example, some women notice a difference in reaction time, mental acuity, strength, or endurance depending on which phase they are in. This app not only tells you which phase you’re in, but what you might expect and how to match training to your phases.
- Menstrual cycle phases explained
- Recipes and nutrition tips
- Workout guidance based on cycle
- Sleep tips
- Period log
- Symptom log
- Notes section
- Rotating menu of information at the top of the app (designed like Instagram Stories)
- Integrates with Strava
- Comprehensive for the female athlete
- Geared toward active women (I like this –it helps with my exercise!)
- Coaching service available
- It’s free (there are also paid features)
- Sometimes loads slowly or not at all (is it the app? Is it my phone? Is it my internet? I never have trouble with other apps)
- Training suggestions based on your cycle are static and generic. I was expecting new info every month.
This one is a behemoth of an app. It has EVERYTHING. Which may or may not be a good fit for you personally. It is super comprehensive, with information on period cycles (of course), but also when you could get pregnant, tracking discharge, food ideas, and weight loss.
To be honest, the weight loss one turned me off to this app. As a dietitian, I know how harmful it can be for someone to use an app for weight loss. They are usually inaccurate, tell people to eat way too little, and can easily trigger disordered eating. There is nothing on the app warning of weight loss harm, or that screens to see if weight loss even MAY need to happen. It just walks you through a series of questions about weight loss and goals, then prompts you to upgrade to a paid version. This definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. I wouldn’t recommend using this (or any) app for weight loss. But Flo is great for period tracking.
It also has a “secret chats” section. Topics range anywhere from sexual health to acne to ex boyfriends. People can post their comments on there. I think their intent is to build community, but when you ask questions like, “I’m sexually attracted to a person I am not supposed to be: What should I do?” And open that up to comments from random people, well, it’s gonna get sketchy.
Flo is like the tabloid of period tracking apps.
- Lots of features and articles
- Symptom tracker is pretty comprehensive–it has sex drive, mood, and discharge, which FitrWoman doesn’t have (unless you manually enter it in)
- Tells you what day of the cycle you are on right on the front page (I find this handy)
- Weight loss feature (boo, IMHO)
- I wouldn’t want my teen using this (Secret chat, ummm no)
- No athlete or workout information to time training to your cycle
By far the most basic, this is a no-nonsense, free app (if you have an Apple phone, obvi) that will get the job done. The Health app tracks sleep, activity, menstrual cycle, nutrition, and more. It can also integrate with other apps. If you have a fancy new Apple Watch, it can also track irregular heart rhythms. For this article, I’m only going to focus on the menstrual cycle aspect of the app.
Apple Health allows you to track symptoms and spotting. The symptoms are pretty limited to only 14, versus 20 for FitrWoman, and 37 for Flow. There’s no feature to log your own symptoms or write notes. You can set up push notifications to learn when your period will come and fertility guidance. This popped up on my watch the other day: “Your period will likely start in the next 7 days.” Don’t know if that was super helpful, but it’s there if you want it!
- Simple with no in-app purchases or pushy upgrades.
- Integrates nicely with my watch and whatever else is going on with my phone (activity tracker)
- Free if you have an iPhone–it’s just already loaded on there
- Is Big Brother Apple watching me? Probably, but so is Google and everyone else (hi mom!)
- Pretty limited as far as really understanding how your period affects mood and exercise performance
- No information as to how to manage symptoms
So there you go! If you don’t already use a period tracking app, I’d suggest starting. It’s a great way to understand more about your cycle and what to expect every month!
~This is general information and opinion only and is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare professional before undergoing any diet or lifestyle change.