Keeping track of things like your heart rate variability, resting heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, and physical activity can be interesting and as time goes by, you may notice trends that you can take action on. For example, I noticed that after March, my overall heart rate variability was trending down, a negative sign of health as a higher HRV than your baseline is a sign of good health and recovery.
Ever since I got the Oura Ring, I’m able to track my deep sleep, heart rate variability and my resting heart rate in a more accurate fashion. Heart rate variability is the time interval between heartbeats. Typically, the higher the HRV, the better. The Oura ring is able to measure this by measuring your HRV while you are sleeping at the same time of the day, which makes the readings more accurate than other devices like the Apple watch or FitBit.
A lower resting heart rate during sleep is also associated with good recovery and health.
On normal days, my deep sleep, HRV, and resting heart rate are relatively good and consistent and my Oura Ring’s readiness score is not too bad. It’s not optimal because my weeks vary in terms of training and other activities.
I regularly go to the gym and engage in heavy workout circuits most of the time. Working out and sweating on a daily basis feels great. Muscle soreness also feels great in small amounts but sometimes it can be annoying. My solution is to get a deep tissue or Thai massage as often as possible. It may cost me bucks but at least I feel like a million bucks afterward. When I stumbled upon Hypervolt, I was pretty excited to try it out. This is my Hypervolt review based on my experiences where I try to lay out the pros and cons of the popular device.
Many people fall into the camp of HIIT (High intensity Interval Training), demonizing LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) exercises. Why choose a side? There are benefits to both.
Here are some benefits of steady state cardio
- Burn extra calories and fat
- Low impact compared to heavy lifting or HIIT which gives your body time to recover from high impact work
- Helps promote more blood flow, reducing inflammation and soreness and improving cardiovascular function, mitochondrial and cellular health
- Reduce stress and cortisol levels
You can only train as hard as you can recover
People have different ways they believe assists them in their recovery process. This includes protein shakes, massage devices, ice baths, sauna and more. Some methods of recovery may have more of a placebo effect than anything else.
One undisputed fact today is the importance of sleep for physical and mental performance and recovery.
A couple points to note about sleep and recover:
- Most of the natural human growth hormone is produced during sleep.1
- Lack of sleep seriously impacts athletic performance, mental errors, injury rates, reaction time, and overall health2.
- Athletes and those who work out more above average require above average sleep.3
- While you sleep, your body creates more white blood cells to assist you in attacking viruses and bacteria.4
Not too long ago, for one of our daily WOD + strength workouts at our CrossFit gym, we started off the strength portion of the workout with a 5×5 squat. After a brief warm up of 2-3 sets of 135 pounds, I felt that I was ready to begin increasing the weight. At around 205 lbs. at the bottom of the descent of the squat, I felt a sudden pain on the lower back. It was an acute pain and caused my legs to weaken and give out. Luckily, I was able to bail out and dropped the barbell behind me.
After about an hour, I was able to slowly get up with assistance and “walk it off”. The next couple of days would be very difficult in terms of just getting out of bed. After 7 days of the injury, I was still having issues sitting up without pain.
This acute injury was caused by my impatience to not warm up properly as well as increase weight too quickly. When faced with an injury like this, there’s a few things to keep in mind during your recovery.
Drinking whiskey and beer when I’m out socializing and a few glasses of wine when I’m eating dinner or relaxing at home is something I thoroughly enjoy and regularly indulge in. The problem is that overdoing alcohol can give you hangovers and have negative effects on your training, fitness gains and overall health. Alcohol consumption is linked to a multitude of chronic diseases, not to mention the additives, preservatives, and sugars that are often found in many alcoholic beverages. That’s where Dry Farm Wines come in. They claim to be one of the healthiest options when it comes to indulging in wine.
I’ve been tracking my sleep for quite some time now using the Apple Watch. I used to use the now-defunct Zeo Sleep Tracker, a device worn on the head using EEG signals to track your sleep. I’ve also ordered the Oura Ring, one of the more accurate consumer devices to track sleep.
Using the Apple Watch’s Sleep Watch app, I can only estimate my “restful sleep”. The app does not claim to know when you are in REM or deep sleep, very important sleep cycles. Hopefully, the Oura Ring can provide more insights into those cycles of sleep.
Although the iOS app doesn’t detect REM or deep sleep, I rely on it to detect my heart rate during sleep. A dip in heart rate during sleep is healthy and indicates more restful sleep. Studies correlate a lack of a heart rate dip with all-cause mortality, with findings state that “those with very small or no dips in sleeping heart rate were about 2½ times as likely to die in the next 7 years as those with normal or large dips during sleep”.1
Despite differences in the protein and fats I choose to eat and the seasoning I use, I can get bored of eating similar style meals every day (eggs, meat, veggies etc..). That’s why I allow myself to have cheat meals where I eat basically whatever the hell I want.
Cheat meals can involve drinking copious amounts of alcohol and eating appetizers, desserts, and fried foods, all of which can be pretty unhealthy and damaging. I’m not on a mission to be unhealthy but if unhealthy dishes is what the menu has and what people recommend, that is what I will try.