My Ulcerative Colitis Experiences

My Ulcerative Colitis Experiences

I now have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis for over 15 years. It’s an inflammatory bowel disease where your immune system fails in some way and creates inflammation within your colon. For me its the lower part of the colon and rectum.

Sometimes I am in remission, a period where I have no symptoms, but most of the time I either have light symptoms with periods of heavy symptoms. Symptoms include bloating, bloody diarrhea, and mucus mixed with blood discharging instead of normal stools. During bad periods of a flare-up, you can end up going to the restroom 10 times a day or more.

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How Traveling Messes with My Sleep and Health and How to Fix it

How Traveling Messes with My Sleep and Health and How to Fix It

When I travel, I feel like it’s a time to explore the city to the fullest. This means eating, drinking and getting terrible sleep. Just like I allow myself to have cheat days or weekends, I allow myself to cheat when I travel. This works for me because I don’t travel all the time but if I did, the poor exercise routine, diet, and sleep would ruin any gains I had from working out regularly.

So starting today, I’m making it a point to travel healthier, even if I don’t travel on the regular. This post is just a way for me to document this.

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The Apple Watch V02 Max Accuracy

The Apple Watch V02 Max Accuracy

First of all, what is VO2 max and how do you measure your personal VO2 max? Here’s a quick FAQ on VO2 Max.

The only accurate way to measure VO2 max is to wear a face mask and actually measure the amount of oxygen flowing through the mask and to your lungs. Obviously, the Apple Watch doesn’t come with a face mask attachment you can connect via Bluetooth, yet. So how does Apple Watch measure V02 Max?

Apple watch uses a metric known as “Predicted V02 Max” and is based on your heart rate activity during exercise. Since the relationship of the heart rate and the VO2 max varies between everyone, it’s not a perfect indicator of your VO2 max, but with regular testing, you can see the trends of improvement or decline in relation to your own VO2 max baseline.

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Practical Uses of The Oura Ring

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.

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Alcohol, Resting Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability and Sleep

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 is 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.

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Things That Helps Improve my Sleep Quality

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

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How to Measure VO2 Max Using Apple Watch

Did you know the Apple Watch can be used to give you your estimated VO2 max score? I didn’t, but you’ll be happy to know that it can measure it without you having to go through the more troublesome and traditional way of measuring VO2 max by running your ass off on a treadmill.

While not as accurate as the treadmill-oxygen-mask method the Apple Watch gives you a simple way you can start collecting and testing your own VO2 max.

What is VO2 max you may ask, here are FAQs about VO2 Max.

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Drinking Alcohol Will Destroy your Sleep Quality

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

 

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Eric’s Dexa Scan Results for 2017 and 2018

If you want to know your lean mass percentage and other cool metrics about your body composition, the DEXA scan is one of the easiest ways you can find out.

The DEXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) is a fairly accurate way of measuring your body composition. This includes your bone mineral density as well as your lean body mass and fat mass.

The DEXA scan does this by exposing you to low level x-ray beams throughout your body while you lie on a table. There are few items of interest that the DEXA reveals. One is the lean mass versus fat mass percentage per region (head, arms legs etc..), the other is the bone report that tells you your bone mineral density per region.

I got my scans done at BodySpec, where you can get a scan for 45.00 or 2 scans for 85.00. You can also get your Vo2 max measured as well as your resting metabolic rate (RMR)

I’ve done this 2 years in a row. For consistency, both times I’ve done it was around the same time of day and in a fasted state.

Here are the results:

Read moreEric’s Dexa Scan Results for 2017 and 2018