Category Archives: Change your behavior, Change your brain

Change your behavior, Change your brain

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!


“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.


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

Click here for the original article!


Starting Up With SweetBeatLife!

We’ve finally reached the next level in real-time monitoring. If you’re an elite athlete, professional trainer or fitness enthusiast looking for more meaningful data, now’s the time to up your performance with our newest application, SweetBeatLife. The new application uses StatsScreenstate-of-the-art sensor technology by our partners at Vital Connect, who created HealthPatch with extreme precision and accuracy.

IMPORTANT: The Vital Connect HealthPatch can only be purchased through our application or on our supported health sensors page. SweetBeatLife is the only application using the HealthPatch at this time! If you are unsure whether your device is compatible with SweetBeatLife or the HealthPatch, please check out our compatibility chart.

Below are some helpful tips for using SweetBeatLife with the HealthPatch and getting started with the new correlation feature, which includes data integration from other popular fitness platforms like MapMyFitness, Fitbit and Withings.


Purchasing the HealthPatch inside of SweetBeatLife is easier than ever!

  1. Open SweetBeatLife.
  2. Select the “General” tab on the bottom right.
  3. Select “Buy the HealthPatch”.
  4. Selecting the arrow below each option will drop down a description of that package.
  5. Enter your information and checkout


  • If you cannot find “Buy the HealthPatch”, then you might have to go back (< General) to the main screen.
  • Make sure you checkout all of the way. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 24 hours, you have not finished checking out!
  • International users who wish to purchase the HealthPatch, please email and we will have your request sent to the VitalConnect team. Please be patient as they finalize their international shipping system.

Authorizing Fitbit, Withings and MapMyFitness Data in SweetBeatLife

  1. Sign in to your account on our website. If you do not have an account, yet, please purchase the app and go to General > Account Settings, and sign up for one.
  2. Scroll down – between the small calendar and large calendar you will see a box. The box has clickable links for authorizing Fitbit, Withings and MapMyFitness.
  3. Select whichever platform you want to authorize and sign in to your account for that platform.
  4. Choose which data you want to see in the correlation feature. Do this by opening the app and selecting the Correlation tab > Settings > Select Data.


  • Math is not for everyone. That’s why we have added the handy dandy “Help” document in the top right corner of the Correlation screen. Please read this thoroughly!
  • You need at least three days of data on your SweetBeatLife to use the correlation feature.
  • In settings where you “select data” for correlation, the colors coordinate with each other. For example, all of the Calorie outs are orange, even though some of them are labeled different depending on the sensor.
  • Sessions cannot be transferred from SweetBeat to SweetBeatLife (at this time).

Downloading CSV files

Our users have been requesting this and it’s finally here in SweetBeatLife! You can now export your RR-Intervals in a CSV file. Many people enter this file into the freeware Kubios for a deeper look into their nervous system. To read more about this click here.

Did you buy the HealthPatch? Read these instructions before using the HealthPatch.


Purchase SweetBeatLife!

Questions? Concerns? Please feel free to email us at and we will get back to you within 24 hours.








Webinar: Heart Rate Variability (HRV) for Improved Sports Performance

SweetWater Health’s co-founder and CEO, Ronda Collier, will be hosting a webinar on May 14, 2014, 5 pm Eastern time via USA Triathlon. Listen in and see if Ronda can answer some of your HRV for Training questions. Sign up now!

Event registration

Most athletes know that getting enough rest after exercise is essential to high-level performance. Still many over-train and feel guilty about taking a day off though scientific research proves that improved performance in competitive sports is achieved by alternating periods of intensive training with periods of relative rest. Standardized training programs produce well documented results, but do not take individual responses into account. In the past decade, college sports teams and world-class athletes have been increasingly using Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to monitor fatigue and recovery from workouts. In this webinar you will be able to understand:

  • The Science and Physiology of HRV
  • Using HRV for Individualized Endurance Training
  • The Relationship Between Stress, Food, HRV and Peak Performance

USAT coaches who wish to earn 1 CEU for this webinar must purchase the webinar at and then complete the corresponding webinar exam. Coaches will pay $24.99 to view the webinar and if they wish to earn CEU credit would purchase the webinar exam for $9.99 for a total of $34.98 which includes viewing of the webinar and 1 CEU credit.

Cost: $39.99 for non-members, $24.99 for members

Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Length: 1 Hour

Time: 3-4pm Mountain, 2-3pm Pacific, 4-5pm Central, 5-6pm Eastern

If you cannot attend this webinar at the specified time and date, you can register in advance and the complete webinar recording will automatically be emailed to you after it is completed.

Ronda Collier, B.S.E.E., M.A. Psychology

Ronda has more than 25 years of experience in high technology product development with a proven track record of delivering leading edge consumer electronic products within both privately held startups and Fortune 500 corporations. She spent 3 years as an independent scholar researching non-invasive health monitoring techniques to improve overall personal wellbeing. This research led to the founding of SweetWater Health, L.L.C. in 2011 and the release of SweetBeat, the HRV measurement app in 2012.

Ronda has presented HRV basics and applications at the 2012 and 2013 Quantified Self conference and SweetBeat was featured at the 2012 Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco. In addition, she has been interviewed by several popular podcast hosts, including sports physiologist and author Ben Greenfield, and The Bulletproof Executive’s Dave Asprey. She is known for presenting HRV in a simple and understandable fashion.

Download SweetBeat on iTunes!

My Sugar Rehab: Day 89, Adrenal Fatigue – Guest Blog by the Swiss Nutritioneer

It’s time for an update on my adventure to my optimal self and the fight against my sugar addiction. It is now day 89 without me having a relapse. Yay!

Usually, I can eat a meal, get up from the table without having any desert and still feel happy and satisfied. This is huge. Risky for me are now only days when I eat too much fruit or wait too long with preparing my next meal. Then grasping a “healthy bar” (too much sugar) or a piece of cheese (personal sensitivity: can trigger cold sores) is still very tempting.

Otherwise I eat gluten free without any regrets (when I eat gluten, it can cause depression or self-doubt within 2 days) and I don’t buy anything that comes with an ingredient list.

All is well that ends well? Unfortunately not.

My own heart measurement (SweetBeat App, 60Beats chest strap) has shown that my HRV (heart rate variability) and HF / LF (high frequency, low frequency) values ​​are less than optimal. Both are measured to determine

  • the personal stress tolerance,
  • the biological (real) age,
  • the vital reserves,
  • the physical and mental fitness,
  • the recovery and regeneration capability,
  • and the respiratory function.

On the contrary, my values are ​​by far the worst that I have ever measured on a test subject. Oops, that was a shock, and my active cycling comeback scheduled for this spring had to be cancelled. My journey to my optimal self is thus far from over.

Well, my dear heart was always my weak point. What to do next was the big question. Being professionally involved with health solutions proves to be very helpful at such occasion. I used my Swiss Nutritioneer analysis system, as described in my online practice. The findings were as follows:

– Adrenal fatigue in the 2nd stage (caused by chronic stressors)
– Resulting catabolic dominance in the body
– Assumed compensation by adrenaline
– Chronic adrenaline acts like “poison” for my heart

The real headache was to identify my main stressors. After a meeting with myself that included a sheet of paper, a pen, a quiet place in the sun and the willingness to question everything, I was able to determine these factors quite clearly. There are two emotional stressors in my current life that cause enormous, chronic stress (multiple simultaneous projects with their organizational and financial requirements). By the way, the three main causes of chronic stress are listed here, if you need help to identify yours.

As a result, I created the following, optimal program for me:

  1. Nutrition
    Self-experiment applying Dr. Terry Wahl’s diet protocols. (Watch her TED Talk: Defeat multiple sclerosis and other diseases with healthy food! 17 min.)
  2. Remove emotional stressors
    – Change my attitude towards these ongoing projects (book recommendation Eckhard Tolle, The Power Of Now.) I plan to write an additional blog post about what worked for me to stay in the moment instead of worrying about future events or regret things happened in the past)
    – Breathing exercises using the Inner Balance App and the necessary ear sensor.
    – Freeze frame technique (book recommendation The Heartmath Solution)
    – Laugh! There is hardly a more powerful weapon against chronic stress than laughter. One Chuck TV episode in the evening works very well for me. You’ll have to find out what works best for you.
  3. Movement
    – Explosive, super short one rep max strength exercises of the strongest muscle groups in the body (chest press, leg press, shoulder pulls, calf raises), which trigger an anabolic hormone response.
    – HIIT (high intensitiy interval training): Extremely short but full gas sprints of max. 6 seconds with 2 minutes rest in between. A total of 6 to 12 sprints. (boosts anabolic hormones)
    – Overall, no workout longer than 15 to 20 minutes and no cycling (too much of a catabolic effect)
    – Work less, surf more. Or translated for landlocked countries: less work, more hobby;)
  4. Monitoring progress
    Every morning, using HRV and LF / HF 3-minute test (SweetBeat App)

Obviously, my next chapter on the journey to my optimal self and faster cycling is opened…


Visit iTunes to download SweetBeat!

To read the original article and more from the Swiss Nutritioneer, visit his website!

Rene von Gunten is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the Nutritional Therapy Association and also holds a diploma in Nutritional Balancing Science from the Westbrook University. Rene is a graduate of the renowned mentorship program in functional medicine by Dr. Kalish.


HRV and Snowboarding by Lifestyle Magnet! [VIDEO]

Jono, also known as Lifestyle Magnet, is one of our SweetBeat users. He is a real quantified selfer! Read below to see how he has used his data to maximize his snowboarding experience.

Snowboarding and HRV

“In this video I want to show how I have been experimenting with HRV and Snowboarding. It is the beginning of the season and the muscles are not quite in shape yet. But, the excitement to be on the snow is at an all time high, as in MAJOR stoke! Using an app called Alpine Replay and the SweetBeat HRV app I was able to determine where I was on the slope in relation to what my HRV was doing. When I first looked at the session chart of my snowboarding session and noticed the up-and-down lines for my HRV, I immediately assumed that the bottom of each of the bumps was what corresponded with the bottom of each run. To me it made sense: the body is engaged physically as you descend the mountain and then you recover sitting on the chairlift on your way back up again. Your mood is also elevated as you go up on the lift in anticipation of the next run. However on closer inspection I notice that my HRV continues to get less, or go lower after the run is over. It only starts going up sometime on the chair lift ride back up to the top of the mountain. During the preparation time right before the run as I am adjusting my bindings, my HRV starts to drop and continues to drop throughout the run. What will be interesting will be to see if the speed of recovery changes as the season progresses and I get more in shape.”

Click here to watch the video!

Get started with SweetBeat now!

We encourage all of our users to share their stories! Comment below if you are interested in sharing with us!

Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life by Ben Greenfield

Download the free chapter now!!

Ben talks about his new book in the video, “How To Achieve Your Peak Performance Without Destroying Your Body.”

Download SweetBeat (see in the video at 1:55)!

About the Book: “You have amazing physical goals. You want the best body you can get. You want to look, feel, and perform like a champion.

So you beat up your body with tough training, day after day, week after week, month after month. As a result, you’re held back by frustrating issues like brain fog, broken gut, hormone depletion, heart problems, and damaged joints – limited to living at a fraction of your peak capacity and powerless to tap into your full potential and achieve your dreams – potentially destroying your brain, heart, gut and metabolism in the process.

But what if you could get an incredible physique, do an Ironman triathlon, compete in Crossfit, run a marathon, become a powerlifter, do extreme exercise, play any sport you want and achieve amazing feats of physical performance without destroying your body?

Now you can, with Ben Greenfield’s brand new book “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life“.

Contrary to popular belief, it truly is possible to be healthy on the outside, to look amazing, and even to compete in teeth-grittingly hard events like Ironman triathlons and Crossfit – and still be healthy on the inside too. And this book gives you every training, nutrition, and lifestyle solution you need to do it, including:

  • The 2 best ways to build endurance fast without destroying your body
  • Underground training tactics for maximizing workout efficiency
  • The best biohacks for enhancing mental performance and instantly entering the zone
  • How to know with laserlike accuracy whether your body has truly recovered
  • 26 ways to quickly recover from workouts, injuries and overtraining
  • The 25 most important blood and saliva biomarkers and how to test them
  • 5 essential elements of training that most athletes neglect
  • 7 stress-fighting weapons to make your mind-body connection bulletproof
  • Proven systems to enhance sleep, eliminate insomnia, and conquer jetlag
  • 40 high-calorie, nutrient-dense meals that won’t destroy your metabolism
  • Done-for-you tools to customize your carbs, proteins and fats for your unique body and goals
  • 9 ways to fix a broken gut, create toxin-free life, and detox your body
  • A complete system to safeguard your immune system and stomach
  • Potent time-efficiency tips for balancing training, work, travel, and family
  • Training and meal plans so that you easily and immediately implement everything you discover

Whether you’re a triathlete, marathoner, CrossFitter, swimmer, cyclist, ultrarunner, recreational athlete or any other extreme exercise or regular exercise enthusiast, this is the last system for training, endurance, health, and life you will ever need.”