Category Archives: Athletic Training

New Graphs: SweetBeatLife Update!

Yes, you read it right! There is a SweetBeatLife update available, which includes brand new enhanced graphs. The graphs are completely interactive and allow for a better view of your SweetBeatLife metrics.

Key features of the new graphs:

  • Zoom in by putting your pointer finger and thumb on the graph and moving your fingers away from each other. Double tapping the graph can also be used to zoom in.
  • Zoom out by using the same two fingers and making a pinching motion.
  • By holding your finger down on the graph, you will create cross hairs to pinpoint.
  • There is a yellow circle with an “I” in the middle of it in the top right corner which opens up the graph’s key.
  • Turning your phone to the left will give you a landscape view.

Note: If you do not see these graphs when you open SweetBeatLife, this means you have to manually install the update. You can do this by going to your App store, click on the bottom right tab labeled Updates, and install the SweetBeatLife update.

See below for examples of the new graphs:

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We have been constantly working on SweetBeatLife to make it the most full functioning heart rate variability (HRV) application you’ve ever used. We hope you enjoy these new graphs as much as we do!

Happy Quantifying!

Interview with Ronda Collier: How Heart Rate Variability Can Help You Manage Stress by Primal Blueprint

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Description: Host Brad Kearns talks with Brock Armstrong (the voice of the MDA blog podcasts and a Sweetbeat ambassador/product tester) and Ronda Collier, CEO of Sweetwater Health, makers of the Sweetbeat Life iOS application. Sweetbeat Life allows for convenient Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measuring and information storage. This discussion will acquaint listeners with the basics of HRV, and proceed quickly to discuss some of the finer points of HRV’s effectiveness in monitoring stress and recovery. Heart Rate Variability is a measurement of the variation in intervals between heartbeats. More variation indicates better cardiovascular fitness and stress management, and is represented in a higher HRV number on a 1-100 scale.

Finer details of this show’s discussion include: how Low Frequency (LF) and High Frequency (HF) values correlate with sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity; techniques for how to moderate your stress response and improve your recovery through breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and extra sleep; and a step-by-step process for how to get started in HRV monitoring (buying the proper equipment, operating the Sweetbeat Life app smoothly, and understanding how to best use the informational graphs generated by the app). This is a fantastic show to help you jump head first into the amazing health technology of Heart Rate Variability!

Topic timestamps:

  • What is HRV?: 01:19
  • Autonomic nervous system: 03:01
  • You want a high HRV: 08:32
  • Crossover point: 13:46
  • Look at other stressors: 21:31
  • The brain’s job: 23:37
  • Getting quality sleep: 30:31
  • Analyzing sleep cycle: 33:09
  • How to get started: 35:42
  • How did Ronda get into this?: 42:29
  • Stress measurement: 44:2

Listen to the full podcast here!

Author of “Less Doing, More Living” interviews Ronda Collier

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Ari Meisel interviews Ronda Collier on HRV. See below for a summary and a list of topics. At the bottom you will find a link to the original podcast.

Summary:

In Episode #104 Ari talks with Ronda Collier, CEO of SweetWater Health™, a company striving to revolutionize mobile health monitoring and stress management by combining verified medical research with the most recent mobile-tech innovations. During their conversation, Ari and Rondatouch on the frequently overlooked value of Heart Rate Variability and the future of health technology. 

7 Key Points:

  1.        The heart does not beat at a consistent interval like a metronome
  2.        Stress isn’t “bad”; How we react to it – our inability to come down – is what makes it bad
  3.        People who are in constant “fight or flight” mode normalize stress in their brains, which makes it difficult for them to institute change because these individuals don’t “feel” stressed
  4.        Monitoring HRV is a great way to maximize recovery from physical training and keep track of stress
  5.        When HRV levels are low do “busy work”; When they are high do “creative work”
  6.        Sensitivity to certain foods can significantly impact stress and HRV levels
  7.        Good nutrition, consistent exercise and self-awareness are the pillars of healthy living

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  •          02:05 – Happy Thanksgiving from Ari and the Less Doing Team!
  •          02:55 – Felix and Ari address tryptophan
    • Editor’s Note: Ari mentions that tryptophan occurs naturally in the body – he meant to say the opposite, we can only get it from outside sources vl
  •          03:25 – Tryptophan is not what makes us tired…overeating makes us tired
  •          07:56 – June 9th-12th of 2015, Ari will speak at the Fortune Leadership Summit
  •          19:27 – Ronda discusses her background and the journey to founding SweetWater Health
  •          20:40 – HRV: Heart-Rate Variability
  •          22:28 – It’s not that stress is a bad thing of and in itself…it’s how quickly we can recover from that stress.
  •          23:00 – Why should we care about HRV? Why even track it?
  •          25:55 – SweetBeat and how the SweetWater apps work
  •          27:00 – The SweetWater and the Vital Connect HealthPatch
  •          29:57 – HRV has been used by athletes for decades to help them mitigate the risks of overtraining
  •          29:05 – How can HRV monitoring work for a non-athlete?
  •          30:50 – SweetBeat can alert people to everyday behaviors that induce commonly overlooked stress
  •          32:10 – Meditation has always been a challenge for Ari
  •          33:15 – How Ronda personally uses her HRV monitoring tools
  •          33:39 – The bucket of willpower
  •          34:30 – When HRV is low; do busy work. When HRV is high; do creative work
  •          34:45 – When you are “in-flow”, HRV starts to go up naturally
  •          35:32 – Food sensitivity and how it relates to stress
  •          39:10 – Most people are not aware of modest heart rate spikes
  •          40:23 – The future of SweetBeat
  •          41:35 – The value of correlation
  •          43:27 – Ronda’s Top 3 Tips for Being More Effective:
  •          43:43 – Improving nutrition; eating fresh
  •          44:00 – Being self-aware of what’s going on inside your body
  •          44:30 – Exercise, even minimally, every single day
  •          45:10 – BeatHealthy.com

Click here to hear the podcast!

Triathlon World Summit Tickets Available Now!

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The Triathlon World Summit brings you experts that will teach you their tips and tricks to improving performance and health.

Our very own, Ronda Collier, has been interviewed for the Triathlon World Summit. She will be speaking about upping performance using heart rate variability for training. Register now for free! Ronda’s interview will run LIVE November 21st and 22nd. There are a total of 25 coaches, athletes and visionaries speaking between now and then, including our partner Ben Greenfield! View the schedule on their website.

They will play several of the interviews live and free. To get access to all of the information (over $600 in educational information, videos, slides, etc.), you must purchase the digital access pass.

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY: digital access presale tickets are available for only $47 until event starts. The event begins on November 9th, at 2 pm PST. Get your presale tickets now!

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View nearly 30 HOURS of multi-media interviews between Kristian Manietta and the world’s experts and thought leaders on:

COACHING: The Coaches who are helping you remove the noise so you train better, improve health while also helping you get to the performances you desire even when the time you have to train seems against you.

NUTRITION: The Nutrition specialists helping change the game by getting you more metabolically efficient, recovering quicker, and not destroying your metabolism or long term health in the process.

THE MENTAL GAME: The NLP expert, the lessons from World Champions and the Coaches helping you learn how to develop this crucial 6 inches between the ears so you don’t fall short.

MOVE BETTER: The Movement specialists giving you the keys to better economy. Want more power, speed, better fuel efficiency and the ability for you body to endure.. then you need to learn from these guys.

The Triathlon World Summit is packed with so much information—answers you’ll need so Triathlon doesn’t wreck your health but improves it while helping you get the performances you desire — you’ll not only watch it once, but also keep it on hand for future reference!

 

“CrossFit’s dirty little secret..” – by Joe Bauer

joebauerJoe Bauer is a fitness and weight loss expert with over 13 years of experience as a CrossFit coach and personal trainer. Joe’s known as AllAroundJoe on his blog. He was able to make some very interesting discoveries using
SweetBeatLife’s HRV for Training feature. Read below for his blog post and a link to the full podcast.

“When it comes to CrossFit it’s easy to get addicted. You start to see improvements, it’s fun, you see more improvements, you’re looking amazing, you see more improvements, you’re getting competitive, you see more improvements, you push even harder, you start to feel like crap.

You cannot figure out why you feel like crap. You’ve been eating great. Mostly Paleo, lots of calories.

You workout all the time. Sometimes up to 2 hours a day. You drink tons of water. You take all of the recommend supplements for muscle growth and recovery.

Lake Chelan Ice Bath

In order to start feeling better for your workouts you take pre-workout supplements loaded with caffeine, or drink coffee. It works for a little while, and you crush workouts.

What you don’t realized is that you are fatiguing your insides. You hormones are drowning.

Finally you hit a wall. You can’t sleep (or you can’t stay awake). Your energy levels just don’t feel right unless you’re jacked with caffeine.

And finally you’re workouts start to suffer. You can’t hit the numbers that you used to hit, and when you tell your body to push… it literally shuts down, and you can hardly move.

When you ask your coach they probably say to take some time off, and eat more.

You take a week off, and when you get back to CrossFit you feel better. Well, you feel better for a few days or weeks. It really depends on how many times you’ve gone through the overreaching cycle.

The problem is that every time you train you don’t fully recover.

Eventually your hormones can’t keep up. And in my case it was my adrenal glands.

These are the glands that are located on top of your kidneys, and produce that hormones that are responsible for your fight or flight (sympathetic), and rest & relax (parasympathetic) nervous systems.

In my case the fight or flight system became fatigued, causing all of the above symptoms.

The initial feeling of fatigue is what lead me to the Ben Greenfield podcast, and the SweetBeatLife iPhone app.

My HRV ReadingThe SweetBeatLife app measures your Heart Rate Variability (HRV), and the power of your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

The coolest things is that the HRV can tell you how recovered your body is, and if it’s ready for another CrossFit workout. It will literally tell you to have an easy workout day, or even take the day off. It does this when you simply open the app and take your heart rate for 3 minutes in the morning.

The SweetBeatLife app is so beneficial that I’ve asked ALL of our competitive athletes at StoneWay CrossFit to start using it daily. If the app says to take the day off there’s no arguing.Parasympathetic/Sympathetic

We all want to get better, and we get better during rest from hard training.

I’ve always told people to listen to their bodies, but the real truth is that we can listen, but without tools like the SweetBeatLife app we have no idea what our bodies are saying.

In this episode you learn about CrossFit and overtraining, plus…
  • The HRV tracking Sweet Beat Life app.
  • Where to learn about HRV.
  • What heart rate monitor that I’m using.
  • And much more.
Resources and links mentioned in this podcast

Sweet Beat Life app for iPhone
60Beat Heart Rate Monitor
Ben Greenfield Fitness HRV/SweetBeatLife Podcast #1, #2, #3

*above could be affiliate links. I get a small commission if you click through them and buy, but they in no way make the products cost anymore. If you decide to use them please let me know so I can thank you.

Listening options

Help me out!

If you haven’t done so already, it would totally help me out if you could give me a quick iTunes review by clicking the link below. My goal is to help as many people as possible with this podcast, and each review helps me get more people listening.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/allaroundjoe-podcast-fitness/id690333495

iOS 8 and Bluetooth

There is a known Bluetooth issue on Apple’s newest iOS 8. Many of you have noticed this issue is affecting your heart rate monitor Bluetooth connection (along with car connections, headphones and speakers). Note: If you have not updated to iOS 8, we do not advise doing so.

Already updated to iOS 8?

According to Apple developers, they have resolved the Bluetooth issues in the new iOS 8.1. This version is rumored to release on October 20th. It is our highest priority to assist Apple in fixing this issue. We want our users to get their daily HRV readings!

The good news!

We have submitted a new version of SweetBeatLife and Bulletproof Stress Detective to the app store, which includes a working firmware update for iOS 8 and the HealthPatch. As soon as it is processed by Apple, it will be available for download. SweetBeatLife and Bulletproof Stress Detective users with the HealthPatch will be ready to run sessions on iOS 8.

Note: Once the apps are processed by Apple, we will send out an email to let users know to update their HealthPatch firmware.*

Update Your App!*

SweetBeatLife and Bulletproof Stress Detective users can update their applications. This update includes SweetBeatLife 1.2.2 or Bulletproof Stress Detective 1.0.2 with a pre-installed firmware update for the VitalConnect HealthPatch. The HealthPatch is now compatible with iOS 8!

How come the HealthPatch works but other Bluetooth Low-Energy (BTLE) monitors may not work?

For security reasons, the VitalConnect HealthPatch uses a more complex “handshake” to connect via Bluetooth. BTLE chest straps use “open” Bluetooth. Apple hopes to resolve the open Bluetooth issues in the new iOS 8.1.

How do you update?

Some of you have your app store set to update automatically. If you want to see which version of software you are running, select the General tab > About. If it matches with the mentioned versions you are good to go! If it doesn’t – go to your device’s App Store. You will see the Updates tab (bottom right corner) > Update SweetBeatLife or Bulletproof Stress Detective. If it says, “Open”, you already have the most recent version.

Train Smarter with Biofeedback: A User’s Experience with HRV

We love sharing our users’ feedback, especially when it is a well written review of the benefits of using HRV for Training. Below you will find a post by Van who writes his own blog about Endurance Skating. He is specifically reviewing SweetBeat, which is our first HRV application. We recommend updating to the newest HRV app, SweetBeatLife, which can be downloaded here!

Enjoy!

“If somebody was to ask me what I considered the best £5 I have spent this year, my answer would unequivocally be this: buying the SweetBeat HRV app for my smartphone. I can’t think of anything else that comes close, and it has very quickly become an essential biofeedback tool that I use on a daily basis.

What Is Heart Rate Variability?

Your HRV is the inconsistency of your regular pulse.. if that makes sense.. and 60 is NOT "Excellent".

I first heard of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) on an episode of the Fit Fat Fast Podcast, and was immediately intrigued by it. HRV measures the pulse irregularity of your heart beats; a more medically accurate description would be to say that it measures your cardiac arrhythmia. While we normally think of your heart rate in terms of beats per minute, even at complete rest your heart beat is varying within a range, so when we refer to a heart rate of 60bpm for example, this is actually a simplification of a heart rate range that is always fluctuating around this mean number.

What Determines HRV, And What Does It Tell Us?

Without wanting to geek out on the biology too much, our heart beat is controlled by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), and more specifically the interaction of the two opposing branches of this system – the Sympathetic branch, sometimes known as the “Flight or Fight” branch, and the Parasympathetic branch, which is sometimes referred to as the “Rest & Digest” branch. When we are nervous and highly strung it is because the Sympathetic branch is dominant, and when we are at ease and restful then the Parasympathetic branch is coming to the fore. The two branches are in a constant tug of war – the sympathic branch working to speed up the heart, and the parasympathetic working to slow it down. In a fit and healthy person the interaction of these two branches will actually cause greater fluctuations in the heart rate, so rather counterintuitively, it turns out that an optimally functioning nervous system will express itself in a *higher* degree of variability. That is essentially what we are measuring when we look at HRV – not the health of the cardiovascular system, but rather using it as a proxy for the health of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

 

You Autonomic System is wired up to the whole sound system.

 

Your ANS is a crucial biological system that is often taken for granted, but it controls everything from your respiratory, coronary, digestive, and many other systems in the body. And just like any other system in the body it can easily deteriorate to a suboptimal level through fatigue, neglect and abuse, and when it does then everything else wired up to it also performs suboptimally.

Recording Your HRV

My new BFF

As I mentioned, I use the SweetBeat application in conjunction with my Polar H7 Blutooth chest-strap. The application calculates your HRV score based on a statistical measure of the root mean square of successive difference between heart beats – or simply the rMSSD. This gives you a score between 0 and 100 based on quite a complex algorithm which is beyond my explanation, but the bottom line is simply that the higher your HRV score the better.

Your Heart Rate Variability score is totally distinct and independent from your actual heart rate. It’s perfectly possible to have a both a high or low HRV score at the same heart rate but on different days, based on how much stress has been accumulated by your Autonomic Nervous System on those days.

Coincidentally, I also use the same heart rate monitor in conjunction with another smartphone app (in my case Runmeter) to record my standard heart rate during training sessions – learn to love your Heart Rate Monitor, folks.. it’s worth its weight in gold.

At the time of writing I’m aware of one serious alternative to SweetBeat, which is the “ithlete” app. There is also a rather simplistic app from Azumio call StressCheck which crudely measures “stress” (or HRV I assume) by using the phone’s camera light instead of a heart rate monitor to detecting your pulse pattern.

On Stress…

There are many definitions of the word “stress”, but for the purposes of this discussion we define it as the release of excessive cortisol from the adrenal glands in response to some form of stimulation. Stress comes in 3 major forms:

– Training stress
Your body has an finite capacity for exercise. The more exercise you do, and especially the more anaerobic & high intensity exercise that you do the greater the toll taken on the ANS.

– Environmental stress
Your diet can be great source of stress if your nutrition is poor and too high in inflammatory foods such as sugars and seed oils. A tough or extreme environment will also raise stress levels – poor air quality, altitude, extreme heat or cold, and too much noise will all raise stress.

– Emotional stress
What is happening in your work and in your private life has a huge impact on our stress levels. I’m not a clinical psychologist, but I think we are all familiar with these sources of stress.

The important thing is that your ANS doesn’t differentiate between different forms of stress – stress is stress, and the more you can do to keep non-exercise stress to a minimum then the more stress from exercise you will be able to handle for the same recovery. Yes folks, getting organised in your work and private life leave you greater capacity for exercise! A little stress is normal and is in fact an essential requirement if your body is to make the physiological adaptations that we desire from training, but it is a fine line when we talk about optimal stress, and too much will weaken us and impair the recovery process.

I should also stress (haha) that anaerobic workouts really do hit the ANS system far more than aerobic workouts. You can do an hour or two of light aerobic work and feel fine and have it barely dent your HRV score the next morning, but maximal anaerobic efforts of just 10-15 minutes or a heavy weights session at the gym can often result in your HRV score plummeting the next day (and leave you with pretty severe DOMS).

How I Interpret My HRV

6 months' of HRV data I have recorded - notice that my typical range is roughly between 60 and 90.

One HRV reading is not very meaningful – to be useful, your HRV must be tracked and plotted over time. It’s important to do it at the same time and under the same conditions each day, so the best practice is to record it when I wake up each morning. As the number of data points increases you will get a picture of what your typical HRV range is. Over time, should recognise a strong correlation in how you subjectively feel each morning and the objective HRV scores that you record. When you feel good your HRV should be noticeably high and vice versa.

I know that my personal HRV range at rest is is typically between about 60 and 90. I consider any score above about 78 to be a green flag to go as hard as I like for that day, between about 68-78 is OK and normal, and anything below 68 is an orange flag. When I’m really strung out I will typically see scores in the low 60s or even the 50s, and often on these days I’ll take a rest day or just do a very light recovery session at most.

Anecdotally, when doing my MAF treadmill tests, I have observed that I am able to set my best numbers on the days when my HRV is the highest, and conversely when my HRV is bumping along the bottom of my range then I’m typically much slower – the difference can be up to 20 seconds per mile, although I don’t have that many data points to go on just yet.

Importantly, your HRV score and range is not easily comparable to anyone else’s as it’s partially genetically determined. What’s important is the typical range that your HRV score falls between. However if you are seeing consistently very low readings (eg consistently below 30), you should take this as a BIG warning that your general health is likely to be quite poor.

Conclusion

The advent of Smartphone technology has opened the door to an important biofeedback technique that until very recently was out of reach of most people without expensive specialist equipment and lots of time on their hands. Apps have now become available that bring this to you for very little cost.

Recording HRV is a massive step above and beyond simply taking your resting heart rate in the morning. Over time it gives you a hugely valuable insight into how your body works, and to see how over-exercise, under-recovery, and other stress factors impact it. Professional sports teams like Barcelona FC have been using HRV for some years in helping plan their training sessions, and now you can do this also; the technology has been brought to your fingertips – all you have to do is strap on your heart rate monitor each morning and tap a few times on your smartphone.

You can kid your friends and your family how you are feeling on any particular day, but you can’t kid your body and if you’re under-recovered then it will show up somewhere if you know where to look – HRV is the window that provides us with this information. Tracking your HRV can play a big part in training as smartly as possible and getting the most from your workouts – use to introduce the flexibility in your training to leave the really hard sessions for when your HRV score confirms that you are well rested, and don’t feel bad at all if you train very lightly or not at all when your HRV indicates that your nervous system is in the gutter.

Further Info
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http://sweetwaterhrv.com/blog/uncategorized/ronda-collier-gives-you-the-heart-rate-variability-101-presentation/

http://sweetwaterhrv.com/blog/category/heart-rate-variability/

http://myithlete.com/

http://www.fitfatfast.com/ep-24-sweetbeat-and-soap-boxes/

http://www.fitfatfast.com/ep-47-hrv-dont-stop-til-get-enough/

http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/02/heart-rate-variability-testing/

Click here for the original article!