Category Archives: Stress

Congratulations to Our First Heart Rate Monitor Giveaway Winner – Tommy!

Congratulations to Tommy, our first heart rate monitor giveaway winner! We have sent Tommy a free Vernier hand-held heart rate monitor. It’s not too late to sign-up for our next month’s heart rate monitor giveaway. We will be giving away a free monitor every month until the end of the year!

Tommy’s Story:

“I am a software engineer with a pretty sedentary job. I work from home and sit behind my laptop most of the day. Over the years, I have been getting more and more out of shape, so I finally decided to get fit. I dabble in film making and visual effects in my free time so I tend to follow a lot of people from that industry on Twitter. One person I follow started a podcast called Fitness in Post. In one of his episodes, he interviewed a lady named Ronda Collier from your company. She was very interesting to listen to and that lead me to purchasing a heart rate monitor and your SweetBeat HRV and DailyBeat HRV app. Three weeks ago, I started on my journey to get fit and eat healthy. I use your app every morning to check my heart rate when I first get out of bed. I also use another one of your apps, SweetBeat HRV right after my morning workout to check my recovery rate. I get up at least once every hour and walk for five to ten minutes and I average about 14,000 steps a day. So far I’ve lost about 8 pounds, sleep better and generally feel better. I still have about 65 pounds left to loose.”

We are so proud of Tommy for taking his health into his own hands. Our users inspire us everyday to continue making products that help people understand their health. We look forward to meeting more of you during these next month’s giveaways!

Enter now through your DailyBeat application! Email us at support@sweetwaterhrv.com if you have any questions or concerns.

 

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Improve your HRV with the Delta Sleeper SR1

Many of you know SweetWater Health’s co-founder and CTO, Jo Beth Dow, as our resident biohacker. She has spoken at many quantified self events about her experiments. Most recently, she has been using the Delta Sleeper SR1 for better quality sleep and longer nights. Below you will find her testimonial:

“I am always searching for new techniques and technology that will help improve HRV.  Our partner and friend, Ben Greenfield of Ben Greenfield Fitness highly recommended the Delta Sleeper and he was posting his morning HRV after using the device.  I was intrigued after viewing Ben’s posts and I had to try it for myself.

I started using the Delta Sleeper SR1, a 1.5 ounce device, to determine what affect PEMF had on my heart rate variability.  Being an ultra lark I never had difficulty falling asleep but sometimes I had difficulty staying asleep.  I would wake up between 3:30 am and 4:30 am and start working.  Fortunately, I was getting 7 to 7 1/2 hours of sleep per night.  I never fully understood until now what affect my rather unique sleep schedule had on my husband.

The Delta Sleeper SR1 was easy to use and while I was sleeping I wasn’t even aware that I was wearing it.  The Delta Sleeper SR1 is a small device that you place on your brachial plexus using a thin adhesive strip. The first night I did not notice any difference.  The second night I was restless but woke up feeling unusually good.  The third night I had decided not to wear the SR1 and I had a very restless night.  I got up in the middle of the night and placed the SR1 on my forehead (this is not recommended application) but I was too groggy to apply the adhesive and place it on my brachial plexus.  I slept in until 7:25 am and felt wonderful!

I have continued to use the SR1 every night.  Even on the nights that I am not sleeping longer, I feel especially clear, relaxed and focused in the morning.  One night I told my husband I wasn’t going to wear the SR1.  I wanted to test the quality of my sleep without the product.  My husband responded, “You’re not?”  I replied, “What, you want me to wear it?”  His response was, “I want you to implant it.”

The SR1 has not only helped me sleep longer but as a secondary effect helped my husband sleep better.  Even the nights that I don’t sleep longer than my previous norm I feel like I am getting more quality sleep and sleeping deeper.  I have two months of HRV data since using the SR1.  My morning HRV has increased  9 points and is moving on an upward trend, reached an all time high HRV on several mornings and my afternoon HRV and LF/HF power levels have increased.  The numbers are impressive especially since the HRV value is logarithmic.

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To purchase the Delta Sleeper SR1, click here or on the image below.

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Increase Your HRV, Lower Your Stress

You’ve just found the most powerful nervous system enhancement & stress relief tools in the world

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holosync

 

 

 

 

Every person experiences stress from time to time.  Just the word may be enough to set your nerves on edge. Some, though, cope with stress more effectively, or recover from stressful events more quickly, than others. Some are chronically stressed and easily fall into coping strategies such as anxiety, anger, depression, overwhelm, sadness, overeating, and many others.

Effec­tive stress management and emo­tional reg­u­la­tion depends on your ability to flexibly adjust your phys­i­o­log­i­cal response to a chang­ing environment. This flexibility is also referred to as resilience and can be measured via Heart Rate Variability (HRV).

What does flexibility look like?

A flexible nervous system has a few components:

  • Balance between Sympathetic and Parasympathetic branches of the Autonomic Nervous System
  • The ability to carry a variety of electrical impulses throughout the body
    • Called power levels of the nervous system

SweetBeatLife measures these 2 branches of the Autonomic Nervous System via LF (Sympathetic/fight or flight) and HF (Parasympathetic/rest and digest). While a healthy balance of LF and HF power is a ratio of 1:1 to 2:1 respectively, many customers find that their LF response is consistently 5x, 10x, and even 20x greater than their HF response!

In addition, many people show LF power levels in the thousands while their HF power numbers are in the low hundreds. We even see LF readings in the hundreds and HF of less than 100. These low readings are indicative of chronic stress.

The Good News Is….

…you can re-wire your nervous system, increase your power numbers (and your resiliency) and measure your progress via HRV. How? By using Centerpointe Research Institute’s Holosync® audio technology in combination with the SweetWater Health iPhone app called SweetBeatLife.

Holosync® audio technology provides a super-enriched environment for your nervous system, causing enormous, beneficial changes in the brain. SweetBeatLife is the easiest and most accurate way to measure your HRV and track the changes in your nervous system as you progress through the Holosync® program.

By creating resilience via Holosync® meditation, people and situations that used to stress you no longer affect you the same way. Your nervous system becomes more balanced and resilient.

What is Holosync®?

Holosync® is an audio technology you listen to using stereo headphones, which enables the left and right brain hemispheres to be targeted separately. By gently altering the electrical patterns in your brain, Holosync® creates states pf profoundly deep meditation usually only experienced by advanced meditators meditating for several decades (e.g. Zen Buddhist Monks). Holosync® is based on research by Dr. Gerald Oster of Mt. Sinai Medical Center, a pioneer of the effects of binaural beats on the brain, and the world-famous Menninger Clinic.

Holosync® has been around for twenty-five years, and has been used by over two million people in 193 countries.

Most people know that an EEG measures the different frequencies of electrical brain activity. Alpha brain frequencies are associated with relaxation, focus and concentration and enhanced learning ability; theta frequencies with dreamless sleep, creativity, and visionary meditation experiences; and delta frequencies with deep sleep, access to the unconscious mind, and charisma and persuasiveness. It is believed that in these brain wave patterns, usually experienced during sleep, the nervous system and body repair and recover from the previous day’s stressors.

Research has shown that meditation alters the alpha, delta and theta EEG patterns significantly, thus aiding nervous system repair and recovery. Holosync®, by directing specific sound frequencies to each brain hemisphere, gently creates alpha, then theta, and delta brain patterns.

Your brain responds by creating new neural pathways linking the left and right hemispheres and similar links between the amygdala (the brain’s more primitive emotional center) and the pre-frontal cortex (the source of executive control). This enables the Holosync® user to mitigate emotional reactivity and self-sabotaging behaviors as well as experiencing the other benefits of deep meditation, but without the long learning curve.

HRV during Holosync Meditation

Below are some examples of HRV measurements during meditation using SweetBeatLife. While HRV is dynamic and not the same for everyone, there are average ranges for the general population. Image 1 (below) is from an individual meditating without Holosync®, and who has never used Holosync®. Notice the HRV maxed out at around 695. Image 2 is from an intermediate Holosync® user during Holosync® meditation. During this session the HRV was more than 5400 (higher HRV is a sign of higher nervous system flexibility). The advanced Holosync® user shown in Image 3 maxed out at 12,430 during a Holosync® meditation, clearly signifying a very high and healthy nervous system.

As you can see, the Holosync® users show a significant difference in HRV, a difference enabling them to navigate life’s challenges with more flow and happiness.

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Special opportunity for a limited number of current SweetBeat and SweetBeatLife users:

SweetWater Health and Centerpointe Research are partnering to study the effects of Holosync® on HRV. We’re looking for a limited number of SweetBeatLife app users to participate! Each participant will receive a free personalized HRV assessment valued at $100.00 consisting of a brief assessment at the beginning of the study and a comprehensive report when the study concludes.

If you’re accepted to participate, you’ll not only get the above assessment, you’ll also contribute to scientific understanding of HRV, its relationship to stress and resiliency, and the effectiveness of Holosync® meditation in improving both.

To participate, you must have the SweetBeat or SweetBeatLife app and a supported heart rate monitor, and you must purchase Awakening Prologue, the initial level of the Holosync® program ($179 for CDs or $159 for downloadable MP3s). Centerpointe Research even offers an unheard of one-year money back guarantee on Awakening Prologue. They have millions of satisfied customers around the world (including me—I’ve been using Holosync® for 6 years).

To apply for participation, click here.

Even if you aren’t interested in participating in this study, we strongly suggest that you try Centerpointe’s Holosync® program. It will improve your overall HRV—and give you many other mental, emotional, and even spiritual benefits associated with meditation. Please check out their website.

In a Nutshell

  • Every person has stress
  • Chronic stress may lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and other illnesses
  • HRV is associated with nervous system flexibility
  • A high HRV is indicative of a healthy resilient nervous system that can cope with a wide variety of situations
  • Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, anxiety and emotional well being
  • Holosync meditation dramatically accelerates the benefits of meditation
  • Holosync and SweetBeatLife provide the perfect toolset for you to achieve and track the benefits of deep meditation

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

ari

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!

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!