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Building a Brand: How Hélène Guillaume Turned An Idea Into A Revolutionary App For Female Athletes

By Jennifer Roback

Photo of Helene Guillaume

What is a woman?

This is the question that Hélène Guillaume set out to answer with her fitness app WILD. AI.

Founded in 2017, Guillaume's app has changed the way women are viewed in the fitness market and has since created a platform where women can train based on their menstrual cycles.

"We had a pretty bad understanding of the human body in general but it was worse with woman," Guillaume said. "When I started looking into if there were differences or if there was research I found very little."

The idea behind most training apps is that they are universal and made for both men and women, but most of them fail to take into consideration that the male and female bodies are different.

Growing up, Guillaume revealed that even she was ashamed of being a female athlete with a period because of the way it was portrayed in media.

While training competitively as a rugby player, triathlete and ice swimmer, Guillaume told Entrepreneur that she had trouble predicting her body's performance because of the lack of understanding.

“I was training like I had a male body – following the same protocols and types of nutrition," she said. "I knew my body was different, but in the circles I was in, assigned female bodies were dismissed as ‘moody’ and ‘complicated’. People made jokes about women in sport. There was no attention being given to this topic, and no way for me to understand the variations that came with my menstrual cycle.”

It is a well known fact that a woman's menstrual cycle can have an impact on exercise but apps don't reflect that in the way WILD.AI does and that was what Guillaume wanted to change.

"WILD. AI is essentially extensive research on 'what is a woman' and we translated that research into our app to help woman eat and exercise better depending on what stage they are in during their menstrual cycle," Guillaume told WIS.

WILD. AI is a fitness and nutrition app that is built around a woman's menstrual cycle, to make sure they are exercising and eating the proper way for maximum results.

Research has shown that understanding your period is more important than you might think when it comes to seeing results in the gym.

"Some research has found that strength training during the follicular phase (days 1-14 of the cycle) resulted in higher increases in muscle strength compared to training in the luteal phase (days 15-28 of the cycle)," a spokesperson for the science team at Clue, the period tracking app, told Patient. "Therefore, if you start paying attention to your cycle phases, you may find your strength training pays off the most in your follicular phase."

Many females also use their periods as an excuse to not exercise because of the pain but aren't aware of the fact that exercising properly during your cycle can help reduce that pain.

Research has show that when you exercise, your body will release hormones called endorphins which block pain receptors in your brain, helping stop the pain from a woman's contracting uterus.

WILD.AI is available for download on both android and apple devices

While WILD.IA is a tech base app, Guillaume revealed that her brand is so much more.

"While we are a tech product, we also have a very strong message that women were never weak or never these fragile little beings that marketing has made us out to be," Guillaume continued. "We have 40 years of menstrual cycle's and there is nothing negative about having your period and I think a lot of companies really try to change that."

While Guillaume's journey into the fitness industry has been successful, it didn't come without challenges.

One of the biggest ones included simply getting investors to invest in an all-female fitness app.

"Early on, people would say things like ‘it’s not my topic, I don’t understand it’ or it doesn’t apply to their body, so they didn't see why this is an area they would invest in," Guillaume revealed.

"Another pushback we got was people saying ‘but it’s really niche’ and it’s not, we’re athletes too even if the media does not show it."

While WILD.AI continues to grow, Guillaume and her team continue to do research on the female body to help their users.

Most recently, WILD.AI and Dr. Stacy Sims from the AUT Sports Performance Research Institute in New Zealand launched a new study to gather information from their users to help their on going research about how the Covid-19 vaccine affects athletic performance.

"Women play sports, women do sports, they want to see them on TV...So, yes we have a tech product but we also have the branding of what is a woman and changing the impression and understanding of the woman body," Guillaume continued.

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