Incredible benefits come from measuring Heart Rate Variability, one of the most valuable measures of biofeedback information available today, which is why I am so excited to introduce the BradBeat iPhone app!
Measuring HRV gives you a direct window in the functional state of your autonomic nervous system, so you can accurately observe your stress levels, recovery rate and readiness to train, and make better decisions to balance stress and rest in daily life. This is the age of high tech testing and wearable devices, but it seems like most of it is just gimmick or for entertainment value. HRV is different. HRV measures the beat to beat intervals between heart rates—the data you see as spikes on the graph of your EKG test in a hospital or laboratory. More variation indicates a harmonious balance between sympathetic (fight or flight) function and parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system function, and delivers a higher HRV score on the 1-100 HRV scale. A metronomic beat indicates you are stressed, overtrained, or have poor cardiovascular health, delivering a low HRV score.
Recent technology innovation enables you to track HRV in real time using the BradBeat HRV iPhone app, which has been custom designed to my specifications by Sweetwater Health, leaders in mobile HRV technology. Yes, I had a ton of fun getting super technical with Jo Beth and Rhonda to develop this awesome app, and also go through an incredibly rigorous application process with Apple to get onto the App Store (nice to know there is no lame stuff on the App Store). For only $9.95, the BradBeat HRV app is easy to use by athletes or anyone else interested in monitoring stress/rest balance.
The BradBeat HRV (and other mobile HRV apps if you have Android), pair with a wireless chest transmitter to reveal real–time data on your iPhone, which you can archive online or download to a spreadsheet. My podcast guest Joel Jamieson tells me the HRV machines he used on athletes back in the day cost $30,000 and required 11 electrodes placed all over the body.
This show gets a little technical as you learn about the important nuances such as additional readings of low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) autonomic nervous system function, but you will come away with an excellent understanding of the benefits of HRV and how to use them to your maximum advantage to make better decisions and learn to gain more control over your stress response. For example, when you are cruising along on a stress hormone buzz, you might feel “great” and take on a stressful day or a hard workout, but you’re amped up state will deliver a low HRV reading. Consequently, you will be compelled to build in rest periods in pursuit of healthy stress/rest balance. It has been a great experience to bring this product to market, and I believe HRV can help you more than any other biofeedback metric or wearable device. HRV goes beyond the long-established tracking of resting heart rate to determine state of recovery and readiness to train. Visit the App Store to order and learn more about the features and benefits, including which chest transmitters work with the BradBeat.
You can measure your heart rate variability every single day. [04:43]
A stressful day or a stressful workout, will put us into sympathetic dominance because our body likes to rise to the occasion. [09:26]
We want a harmonious balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic. [12:50]
Whatever your baseline average value is that you establish over time from carefully tracking it, that is what you want to monitor. [15:35]
You can get EKG technology right from your smartphone app. [18:09]
Measure your heart rate and HRV at the same time every day. [20:13]
If you are in sympathetic dominance, going on a strenuous workout at that time is not a good idea. [24:04]
If you have a sustained pattern of a lower than normal resting heart rate, this could mean that you are bombed out. [26:53]
Overtraining syndrome is one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen in my 30 plus years of working with athletes. (Neiman) [29:00]
If you see a much higher than normal HRV, it is widely believed to be good news but that is not so. [32:46]
Our main goal here is to track and establish a healthy baseline and notice departures from that baseline and make adjustments in our training or in our stress rest patterns of life accordingly. [33:36]
Without realizing it, we become comfortable and accepting of our high stress life. [38:32]
- “Overtraining syndrome is one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen in my 30 plus years of working with athletes. To watch someone go from that degree of proficiency to a shell of their former self is unbelievably painful and frustrating.”
- “Our main goal here is to track and establish a healthy baseline and notice departures from that baseline and make adjustments in our training or in our stress/rest patterns of life accordingly.”
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad: 00:08 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author and athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit and happy in hectic, high stress modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balanced that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Brad: 02:33 Here’s another nuance that I only recently learned about from Joel Jamison. I believe he talked about this a little bit in his episode on to Get Over Yourself. Podcast is if you see a spike, a much higher than normal HRV. This is widely believed to being a rock star, but Joel says not so. Right? So the general assessment here is that if your HRV is higher, that means you are really super rapid and recovered and ready to go kill it or you’re getting fitter and fitter and now your heart rate variability is in the 70s instead of the 60s. But what Joel has observed with his elite athletes and regular clients, if that this spike in HRV though again departing from your baseline, could mean that the parasympathetic is really kicking in to become dominant.
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Brad: 04:45 Hey, would you like to learn all about a very important biofeedback measurement known as heart rate variability previously only possible to measure through a laboratory or hospital EKG report. And now for the first time this incredible technology mobile device and a chest strap, you can measure your own heart rate variability every single day and record this important value that is the measurement in the variation of beat to beat intervals in your heart rate. So probably the greatest innovation in training and recovery monitoring since some smart people started to track the resting heart rate values probably 50 or 60 years ago, realizing that athletes would have variation and resting heart rate based on their level of stress and recovery in their hard training patterns. So HRV actually been used for decades. Going back to the eastern bloc athletes. were into this technology, uh, required a $30,000 laboratory device and 11 electrodes placed all over your body.
Brad: 07:12 So it was a big deal. Highly sophisticated. Joel Jamison, one of the early pioneers firstname.lastname@example.org the noted MMA trainer who’s been on the primal endurance podcast before, and they Get Over Yourself podcasts before he’s been using this stuff for years and years and he indeed had to use one of these expensive machines in the early days. And now the technology’s gotten better and better and we can all do it. You just have to go to the APP store and get my exciting new custom developed app called Brad Beat HR v. That’s right. I have my own HR v APP. Oh my gosh. The hurdles and difficulty of becoming an APP developer on the APP store and getting approved. They get rid of all that five by nine stuff. So we made it through all the hoops. My technology partner in this venture is called Sweetwater health. They’re the developers of the HRV technology and custom license.
Brad: 08:05 This with my specifications for a really simple and easy to monitor and record your HRV values daily or on a regular basis and identify your general state of health recovery and stress rest balance. So this wonderful tool of great interest to athletes to make sure that you are training in a sensible manner and to guide your training decisions. And here’s the key and the critical importance of HRV. Is it gives you a direct window into the functional state of your autonomic nervous system. These are the two branches, sympathetic and parasympathetic. So it’s giving you a direct window into your stress rest balance that you might not be able to easily identify by subjective evaluation or by tracking just resting heart rate. So this goes deeper into the functional state of your cardiovascular system, particularly the harmonious balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic function. Probably you’re familiar with the sympathetic nervous system, which we call the fight or flight activation, whereby the parasympathetic nervous system nickname is the rest and digest activation.
Brad: 09:26 So we want to have these in harmonious balance in general are over the longterm. Knowing that a stressful day or a stressful workout will put us into sympathetic dominance because our body likes to rise to the occasion, pump out fight or flight hormones, get stuff done. Some of that stuff includes traveling on jets is a sympathetic stimulator doing hard workout, uh, engaging in a a very stressful week at work or with the kids or whatever’s going on in your hectic modern life. But to be able to gauge where you stand and transcend the often confusing influence of stress hormones. This is something that I’ve experienced so many times in my athletic career where training really hard, activating the fight or flight hormones, challenging your body to peak performance efforts and then riding along on this endorphin high, this stress hormone buzz to the extent that you don’t realize that you’re out of stress, rest balance, you’re running on fumes, you’re running on adrenaline.
Brad: 10:32 I think we can all relate to this. If you reflect on times in your life where you have a prolonged personal crisis, a family illness, relationship, trauma, whatever it is, and you’re kind of locked into this wired state where you don’t feel normal sensations of fatigue, you don’t have trouble getting out of the bed in the morning. Instead, you wake up, your hands are shaking, you’re nervous, you’re not hungry, you’re racing through your day, you’re going, going, going, burning the candle at both ends. We have the people working toward their IPO at the startup and putting in the hours and they’re so energized and focus that they have no problem working 12 1415 hours a day doing it the next day. But then what happens when we prolong this imbalance lifestyle is we crash and burn because the fight or flight response is designed for brief fight or flight and life or death efforts, survival efforts running from the proverbial saber tooth tiger back in primal times.
Brad: 11:28 And today we activate fight or flight. We overstress the fight or flight mechanisms routinely when we engage in chronic training patterns or we travel frequently across time zones or we’re trying to do it all and raise the kids and clean the house and make a career and then go get our workouts in. Whew! So when you measure HRV in conjunction with the long popular resting heart rate, you get a very accurate indication of where you stand and a wonderful guideline to make sensible training decisions, including pulling back the reins even when you feel good and motivated because you have indicators through your HRV values that you’re out of stress, rest balance. You’re in sympathetic dominance. Someone’s telling you to calm down. You say, I know, no, I feel fine. I’m going to go, go, go, go, go. Okay. So the numbers don’t lie on the heart rate variability. So when your heart is beating and let’s say 60 beats per minute, for example, it’s not really pumping blood once per second, there is a subtle variation in the rhythm of the heartbeats. This is called the R-R interval, uh, as seen on the spikes on the EKG graph.
Brad: 12:50 So if you’re looking at an EKG readout on a spreadsheet, you will have a value for each R-R interval in between heartbeats. Uh, so if you’re getting a total value of 60 beats per minute, right, and you look at the R-R intervals, you will see values like 1.07 seconds 0.98 seconds 0.9 for 1.01, 1.04 and it totals up to 60 beats per minute. But this variation is very important because what we want is we want a harmonious balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic.
Brad: 13:29 So sympathetic dominance is making your heart beat in a metronomic manner. The more stressed you are, the more your heart beats in a metronomic manner. Consider when you’re up doing an intense workout and your heart rate gets up to one 90, it is going bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang with minimal variation. Now if you’re in a yoga class and you’re doing some meditation and you’re minding your breathing, you’re super, super relaxed, the parasympathetic system is dominant and you’re experiencing a slow down of your heart rate thanks to parasympathetic influence and then a speeding up of the heart rate, thanks to sympathetic. And so they’re in harmonious balance and you’re going to get a greater variation in beat to beat intervals.
Brad: 14:18 So this is perhaps counter intuitive. The greater the variation in your beat to beat intervals, the more chill you are and the more healthy your cardiovascular system is functioning. Isn’t that interesting? So what you’re doing when you’re tracking HRV is you’re getting a value, uh, for simplification. The developers of the technology put the HRV on a one through 100 scale. So we’re taking this, uh, R-R intervals, tracking that and assigning a value from zero to a hundred on the HRV. Uh, the lower the HRV, the more metronomic your heart is beating the higher the HRV score. So the higher score is better because that indicates a great variation in your beat to beat intervals because you’re getting influenced from both sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. So that example I recited where it says 1.0.07, .98,.94, 1.01 1.0 for this person is more chill and perhaps has a stronger cardiovascular system than a weak, feeble, overstressed or overtrained person who might get R-R intervals of 1.01 point 99 1.0 1.02 point 99 1.01 get me.
Brad: 15:35 Okay. So the calculation comes out to a 73 on the one through 100 HRV scale or a 58 on the HRV scale or a 92 on the HRV scale. So you’re striving to, uh, track over time, higher values and in fact, if you get in shape, you will see a gradual trend toward a higher HRV value. Got It? Here’s the other thing. It’s extremely personal. So whatever your baseline average value is that you establish over time from carefully tracking it, that is what you want to monitor. You don’t want it to compare to the next person as much as we’re doing. When we talk about resting heart rate and the elite athletes are getting their resting heart rate down in the 30s and an unfit person who smokes has a resting heart rate of a hundred and the average person has 72 and if they’re more linear discussion of a lower resting heart rate means you’re fitter and stronger with HRV.
Brad: 16:33 It’s so personal that whatever your calculation is, that’s what’s important to you. Yes, of course, an unfit or weak feeble person, overstress person is going to have HRV values probably in the forties or the 50s and an elite athlete might see HRV values in the seventies, eighties, or nineties but generally speaking, we want to just focus on our own HRV baseline and HR trends over time. For example, my average HRV values are probably in the low seventies and I know people that are similarly fit and healthy to me that are running HRV numbers in the 90s. And I’m like, wow man, how’d you get up that high? But it’s like, it don’t matter. Okay. Because what we’re trying to do is track these trends and make sensible training decisions based on a stress rest, balanced a state of recovery. So here’s how to get with the program and get high tech. And I am the advocate for low tech. I think a lot of this, uh, monitoring devices and wearables are so ridiculous because my athletic career predates all this stuff and it seems like much ado about a techie just for the fun and the interest of being a techie rather than actually helping you, uh, become a better athlete or a healthier person. But I will make the exception to the incredible value of tracking, resting heart rate. Of course, as we’ve done for decades and particularly HRV which is taking a far beyond the value of resting heart rate, going to the next level and looking in that window to your autonomic nervous system functioning.
Brad: 18:09 So how do we get involved? First you got to get the tools man: smartphone APP. That’s the device that’s actually giving you an EKG in the comfort of your own home, right? It’s EKG technology brought to the APP and you need a wireless chest transmitter. You might be familiar with using these when you’re doing heart rate training and you have a heart rate watch. So you need to get the Bradbeat HRV APP for your iPhone. And then you need a Bluetooth enabled chest strap, a rated with the term low energy. That’s the qualification. A great strap is made by Polar, it’s called the H seven or Wahoo who makes a nice chest strap. You can go on Amazon and find these for around 60 bucks, 65 bucks just for the strap. Or if you have a really sophisticated device like a Garmin or a, uh, high end Polar watch, you can probably use the same strap for the HRV APP. Uh, but if not, you need to get this low energy Bluetooth enabled chest strap. And I have links on the, uh, the APP page approved devices that work with the BradBeat HRV.
Speaker 2: 19:22 Brad beat not available for android yet, but there are numerous other choices so you can get all educated about HIV and get the technology that works for you if you’re using android, but we’re talking for the iPhone simple, go buy the APP. It’s all of $9.95 for this amazing technology. And then the straps going to cost you 60 bucks if you don’t have one already. So what you’re going to do is get into a rhythm of establishing your HRV baseline over a good period of time, maybe three weeks, a month of a period of time in your life where you’re feeling normal, you’re not overstressed and get a really strong baseline value. Track it every single day. Uh, the APP actually has one button, you push it and you hit save and everything’s archived online. You have an account, you can email your R-R report to your doctor if you want.
Brad: 20:13 If you see yourself skipping a lot of beats because the ectopic beats the unusual beats where your heart rate gets too many or too few will be revealed a prominently on the graph with a red spike. Eh, hate when that happens. Yeah. And more of them happen when you’re under stress in life. So kind of getting connected with your stress level in this way will help you in a big picture, uh, with tools like regulating your breathing and getting good at lowering your stress response, raising your HRV. And when you’re having a tough day at work, go back to your cubicle, sit down, take a few breaths, maybe even put the APP on and just get connected to the autonomic nervous system. But for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, uh, the basic objective here is to measure your heart rate and HRVat the same time every day in a relaxed state, in bed as relaxed as possible.
Brad: 21:09 Uh, so first thing you do is get up and pee because I’ve noticed that even having to pee slightly will influence my HRV value. It’s a slight stress stimulation just to have to relieve yourself. So you get back in bed, you lie down, relax, you strap up with the wireless chest strap, you watch the APP and you lay quietly in bed and the morning HRV tests, there’s a single button you push for the morning HRV tests. There’s another button for a testing at any time. So you can have different uh, database values there and you wait three minutes. That’s how long we need to get the accurate calculation for all the values. And I’ll talk about the LF and HF value shortly, but after three minutes of beeper will go off and you’ll get your morning value. So as you probably know, there’s some correlation between low resting heart rate.
Brad: 22:03 We’ve always thought that too, being that you’re in a good state of recovery, ready to train hard and a high HRV pairing, low resting heart rate with high HRV. But there’s so many nuances to this technology that I’m going to describe a in a little more detail what all the trends might mean. But generally that’s what we’re looking for. A low resting heart rate, high HRV. That means your cardiovascular system is rested and strong and ready to go. Now there happens to be an additional level of sophistication to this HRV technology and these are values called LF, low frequency and HF high frequency. So within the HRV reading you’re getting a low frequency, uh, output for the cardiovascular system in the high frequency, generally speaking, the high frequency is associated with parasympathetic function and the low frequency is associated with sympathetic function.
Brad: 23:01 So inside that HRV number you can go a little deeper and track these values of HF and LF. And again we’re looking for baseline or we’re looking for uh, patterns, consistent patterns, so HF and LF and balance, that means parasympathetic. Maybe parasympathetic is a little bit dominant in the morning because we don’t want to wake up and into high stress morning. We’ll look for HF ratio, one to one HF to LF or two to one HF to LF. But again, highly individual. So we’re just looking for if your HF seems to be around 2000 every morning and LF is 1000 you chart that, you track it. And then if day your LF is 5,000 in your HF is 500 and believe me this stuff can happen, especially when you wake up the next morning after taking a five hour flight and getting missing your bedtime, eating a bunch of food at midnight when you land in New York and grab a pizza slice on the street and then get up at 8:00 AM getting ready for your meeting.
Brad: 24:04 Your values are going to be whacked and even if you feel fine and ready to go for a six mile run through central park, your HRV readout is telling you that you are in sympathetic dominance and a strenuous workout at that time is probably not a great idea. And you’re digging a hole into the world of overstress rather than respecting the need to balance that a hectic travel schedule and disturbed sleep with a gentle walk in the park instead. Okay, so we have the HRV zero through 100 scale; higher being a stronger and more balanced cardiovascular output between sympathetic and parasympathetic. And then a deeper look at sympathetic with the LF value, the low frequency and the HF value, the high frequency. Okay. So, uh, speaking of LF and HF, we’re looking for that ratio and we’re also looking for the total value.
Brad: 25:07 So if I mentioned that example of 2000 and 1000 and then another day it’s 500 and 250. So you have kind of a lower number on both. That just means a lower level of activation of your autonomic nervous system, possibly indicative of being tired or just not enthused for an exciting high energy, high productivity day. So for quick example, here’s looking at my, uh, exercise journal, a routine week of pretty good workouts, no trouble, uh, tracking my HRV and heart rate every morning. So here’s one reading. It says heart rate 49, HRV, 72 HF 1,500 LF 1000. So close to one to one a next day. HRV, excuse me, HR 52, HRV, 79, uh, LF 3008 HF 1000. So a little bit more activation of the sympathetic nervous system on that day. Oh, why? Cause I flew to Portland the night before. Uh, here’s another one, heart rate, 55, HRV, 71 HF 2,500 LF 1000. Back to a little more parasympathetic balance. But all these are in a nice enough range where I don’t really care and everything’s going fine. Now here’s some nuances to learn about, to help you adjust your training if necessary and also, uh, appreciate the technology, uh, perhaps further than the basic notions that get bantered around.
Brad: 26:53 Uh, one thing to note in terms of low resting heart rate, because we’ve always thought that lower is better and elite marathoners have heart rates in the 30s. Okay. If you have a sustained pattern of a lower than normal resting heart rate, this could mean that you are bombed out. Overtrained your hardest actually tired. I remember one of the worst bounce I had of overtraining when I was competing as a pro triathlete. My heart had dropped my resting heart rate and drop lower than I’d ever seen it. 36, 38, 36. Usually it was 42 to 44 for years and years. That was my range. It’d be 42 to 48 was the normal range and all of a sudden I’m in the high thirties and I saw all kinds of doctors wondering what was going on. I was exhausted for weeks on end. Obviously it was adrenal exhaustion, too much traveling, too much racing, and the smartest guy among the whole bunch because no one said anything was wrong with me. I was a super healthy fit specimen. But I went to this acupuncturist and he said, your heart is tired.
Brad: 27:59 My heart was so tired it was only beating 36 beats a minute. Doctor Maffetone confirms this thinking not just a goofy speculation, but that sustained lower than normal. Resting heart rate is maybe not good news. Now, a sustained lower than normal HRV indicates that you are in longterm chronic overstimulation of the stress response. Your heart is beating in a metronomic manner due to your highly stressful lifestyle practices, including training binges, where you’re pushing the envelope. And here’s the funny thing. Uh, there’s this resistance response to exercise. It’s called, whereby the harder you train, the more stress hormones you put out. And sometimes for a brief period of time, the better you feel. And you can buzz along on this stress hormone high and feel great.
Brad: 29:00 Even HRV values and resting heart rate values will be favorable. Uh, let’s say the next day after a really stressful workout, this is called the resistance response to exercise stress. Your body loves rising to the occasion when you tackle a challenge. This is me quoting myself in Primal Endurance and we’ll stay in a heightened state of arousal for a certain period of time after it’s over. That could mean you feel fresh to the next day or you go six weeks really hardcore and then you bomb out. Or Debbie Potts story, she’s been on the podcast, I’ve been on her excellent holistic athlete podcast. Uh, she went 10 years of hardcore Ironman around the globe, including six times finishing the Hawaii iron man world championships. And then one day everything fell apart and she went on a multi year journey to reclaim a healthy balanced life. So you’d just output so much energy into Ironman triathlon that her system completely fall apart. And Oh my gosh, this is a more common trend than we realize. We don’t see endurance freaks bombing out and then going on Instagram and putting up a pound low HRV.
Brad: 30:11 It’s more like a pound, excuse me. Hashtag is the proper term hashtag epic view from the summit. Okay. But what happens to a lot of, uh, high stress athletes that don’t respect proper stress? Rest balance is this overtraining syndrome. Dr. David Neiman professor of Health and Exercise Science at Appalachian State, former vice president of the American College of Sports Medicine Authority says overtraining syndrome is one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen in my 30 plus years of working with athletes. To watch someone go from that degree of proficiency to a shell of their former self is unbelievably painful and frustrating. Oh my goodness. So let’s see if HRV can save us from these jumping off the cliffs, these falling off the cliffs where we have no warning and we completely bomb out. Uh, there’s an article, a sidebar in the book Primal Endurance where, uh, I had just this exact example of doing a really high stress sprint workout in hot temperatures and then the next morning getting a high HRV value and a low resting heart rate thinking, wow, I recovered really well from that workout 12 hours prior.
Brad: 31:27 But it was this resistance response to exercise 24 hours after that. So 36 hours after the workout at an absolute nosedive on HRV from 54, from 72 to 54 or something. So if you’re off by more than 10%, let’s say, so I was reading out of my journal and it said 71, 79, 74, uh, that’s nothing to be concerned about. But if you’re losing, uh, you know, seven to 10 points on the one to 100 scale, uh, for, uh, more than one or two days, you’re talking about a overstress pattern and unnecessary adjustment to your training pattern. So that’s what we want to look for is this baseline baseline baseline and then seeing a trend downward with the HRV readings or a change in the usual ratio of HF to LF Uh, again, I want to reiterate the importance of measuring HRV at the same time every morning in a completely relaxed state. So no coffee, no chit chatting a while, you’re measuring it, no TV on in the background. Just want to really relax and pull off a good number and also get that resting heart rate down to an accurate resting heart rate value.
Brad: 32:46 Here’s another nuance that I only recently learned about from Joel Jamison. I believe he talked about this a little bit, uh, in his episode on the Get Over Yourself Podcast is if you see a spike, a much higher than normal HRV, this is widely believed to mean Rockstar, but Joel says not so, right. So the general, uh, uh, assessment here is that if your HRV is higher, that means you are really super rested in recovered and ready to go kill it. Or you’re getting fitter and fitter. And now your heart rate variability is in the 70s except the 60s. But what Joel has observed with his elite athletes and regular clients is that this spike in HRV.
Brad: 33:36 So again, departing from your baseline could mean that the parasympathetic is really kicking in to become dominant. Remember, parasympathetic dominant means, uh, more variation and beat to beat intervals. Sympathetic dominance. The Metronomic heartbeat is because you traveled across the country and woke up in New York City, uh, had a pizza the night before, right? A stress factors getting you into sympathetic dominance, and that’s a lower than normal HRV. So we know that lower the normal HRV is an issue, uh, overstress pattern higher than normal HRV. Parasympathetic dominance could mean that the parasympathetic system is really kicking in big time because you fried yourself with a bout of overly stressful workout days, traveling days, whatever it is. So it’s sort of a recovery reaction to overstress periods. Well, the parasympathetic is, uh, beyond normal dominant. This is a sign that you’re fighting hard to recover from the previous stress. Therefore you don’t want to slam yourself again until that HRV is back down to normal. So I know we’re used to a bigger is better, more is better thinking, especially in the fitness realm and to get everything in proper perspective. I know it’s a little confusing and maybe tough to follow, especially if this is your first exposure to it. But I want to get this point across that our main goal here is to track and establish a healthy baseline and notice departures from that baseline and make adjustments in our training or in our stress rest patterns of life accordingly.
Brad: 35:21 So one cool benefit of doing this every day is teaching yourself to relax, to get the good reading and noticing what things cause a disturbance to your stress response system. Even gentle conversation or even having to pee tiny little bit gives you a little bit of sympathetic spike and you’re going to get a lower reading. Believe me, I’ve tracked this and evaluated it. So learn how to relax, get skillful at laying there and getting a good reading. I like to gaze at the, uh, the graph in real time and try to control my heart rate. Uh, Yogis can do it. I can’t brag that I’m going to uh, raise and lower my heart rate like a, a true, a depth. But what I’m doing is looking at that graph and trying to achieve more beat to beat variation when I see the numbers popping up on the screen in real time. 1.2, one three 1.117, 1.09 1.3 for one. And then that’s translating over into the, uh, real time HRV calculation. So much fun. And there is some value to doing this. Any time you feel stressed because we’re so used to locking into sympathetic dominance that we’re living this overly stressful lifestyle, driving accelerated aging and disease risk factors. There’s a great quote from the cofounder of Sweetwater health, these two high powered ladies, Ronda Callier and Jo Bethdow down in Silicon Valley. They had long careers in the software and the programming industry and they transitioned their tech skills into their passion for health and develop this technology. Uh, so Rhonda is talking about how we are so accustomed to hectic, fast paced, high stress lifestyles that we don’t even understand. We don’t even realize the significance or the importance of bringing that parasympathetic system into the mix. A quote from Rhonda, the brain acts as a pattern matcher and a filter.
Brad: 37:26 That’s the brain’s job. The brain recognizes what’s familiar and filters out other things so you can remain focused on the task at hand. If you’re in a chronic fight or flight state, your brain recognizes this familiar operating mode. You feel amped, emotional, reactive, harried and rushed and so forth, but you feel comfortable in this operating mode. Sound familiar? Sound like anyone, you know? Yes, it’s easy to point fingers, but how about reflecting for a bit there? Do you feel comfortable in high stress mode? The brain accepts even a dysfunctional situation or dysfunctional behavior because it is familiar. You might even feel relaxed and think everything is fine. Since your familiarity filters out any negative perceptions of chronic stress. Instead, you’re chronically stressed. State shows up in the form of absent mindedness. Yes, high cortisol levels. High sympathetic stimulation does not correlate with good brain function. The brain works better when we’re relaxed and focused rather than harried and stressed and distracted. And Rhonda mentioned the example of the cyclist driving into his garage with a bicycle on his roof rack. It happens so many times that the, uh, mechanics, the repair guys at the bike shops, uh, before the customers all the way across the store, they say, oh, roof rack into the garage on the person’s like, yeah, how’d you know? Oh mercy. So as we get more in tune and track every single day, our HRV readouts and our low frequency and high frequency readings, I believe that we can gain a greater appreciation for the stress rest balance. That’s what makes it a lot of fun. And also the ability to make good decisions. So quick summary of everything. Get started on HRV technology. It’s the cutting edge stuff. It goes beyond that resting heart rate, but you need the tools first, which is to get a wireless chest strap, uh, labeled Bluetooth low energy, chest drab, look for the Wahoo, like the fish tacos in California. It’s a restaurant chain, WAHOO or the POLAR H seven long respected as the leading brand in heart rate, uh, technology. So you get your chest strap and then you can download the Bradbeat HRV APP on the APP store. And there you go. You pay a $9.99 and you are in business. So you just launched the APP, you sign up for the free account so you can log an archive of all your results and you go to town, a simple pushing of a few buttons. Uh, pairing your Bluetooth chest strap with the APP and you’re often running, uh, the morning measurement is a three minute stint. So you lay in bed, relax for three minutes, super relaxed and try to get a good reading, recording the resting heart rate, the HRV value on a one through a hundred scale and the L F and h f ratio. That’s low frequency, high frequency, sympathetic, parasympathetic. And then you’re going to track your values over time, making sure that you have a really accurate baseline over three or four weeks time. And then notice any trends away from your normal baseline in both resting heart rate, HRV and LF and HF, total values and allege an LF and HF ratios.
Brad: 40:58 Okay. So low HRV reading is a sign of a metronomic heart rate, uh, indicating that you’re overstressed, uh, over overtired, uh, have a weak cardiovascular system in general if you’re unfit and a high HRV would mean that you’re, uh, rested a parasympathetic and sympathetic in harmonious balance, giving you a good variation and beat to beat intervals and uh, indicating a strong cardiovascular system in general. And don’t forget those nuances such as a spike in HRV beyond your baseline could mean that parasympathetic is working hard to get you back into balance after frying your system with a lot of sympathetic stimulation, uh, and also the low resting heart rate and not always being a good thing.
Brad: 41:48 It could mean a bout of adrenal exhaustion from prolonged pattern of overstimulating fight or flight response. And also the resistance response to exercise stress where I blast myself with a sprint workout in a hundred degree heat and wake up the next morning 12 hours later, and have a very impressive reading only to see the HRV value tanking 24 hours after that. So you can ward off over training patterns with minimal delay, uh, unlike just measuring resting heart rate. How’s that? You got a good education? I know it’s a little techie there. Uh, but if you can get into this and learn to use this to your advantage, it can help you make great training, decisions and lifestyle decisions to thank you for listening to everything you need to know about HRV. Go onto the APP store, checkout Brad beat HRV. There’s a lot of technical specs and more discussion of how to get the right chest strap and what to do and some of the other benefits and values that it measures how to upload them. All that fun stuff. All right, I’m going to go relax and measure my HRV.