HEART RATE VARIABILITY - Elite HRV
HRV - Training and Recovery
I start with an experience that I had a few years ago.
It was a cold winter’s evening in the suburbs of London, England and the central heating was just warming up. I was following whatever routine I had in place during that time when I had this strong desire for hot chocolate (cocoa). I had never had this feeling before, and never since, but it was strong, Man! So strong that I put on my coat and walked one mile to the local supermarket.
As I entered the store I could feel the desire grow. With eyes wide and mouth watering, I arrived at the hot chocolate section. But everything changed in a heartbeat, (excuse the pun). I was greeted with a shopping aisle that was 100 metres wide and 10 metres tall! Ok, I’m exaggerating but it was BIG! Wall to wall hot chocolate! There must have been at least 100 different versions of this one simple product.
With absolutely no idea where to start I became overwhelmed and left the store empty-handed. The choices were just too great for my small brain to compute. I didn’t reach my aim but I did get to walk a couple of miles!
This experience gives an indication of my current view of the ‘health and fitness’ market. With an industry that is filled with gimmicks, gadgets and gurus, it is very easy, in my humble opinion, to get overwhelmed with the offerings. A plethora of choice can sometimes equal confusion, distrust and apathy; for me, anyway.
Putting potential cynicism aside I recently came across a health and fitness concept in the huge wellness ocean that captivated me. It actually blew me away once I grasped the concepts and I write this article to chart my journey from discovery to implementation.
Heart Rate Variability – A Discovery
About 4 weeks ago (May 2015), I was scanning an article in cyberspace when I saw a link to something labelled 'heart rate variability'. I was not familiar with this term and immediately thought it was a fancy way of describing heart beats per minute. It killed the cat but wasn’t going to do me over. Curiosity resulted in a click of the hyperlink and opened a doorway to new exciting knowledge.
I devoured the subject matter and light bulbs went off in quick succession. Alas I cannot link to the original article due to forgetting where I read it but no matter. I will provide links to other resources on the subject.
With juices flowing, my ‘all or nothing’ personality lit up and I began to research.......
What Is Heart Rate Variability?
(Taken from the Elite HRV web site with kind permission - http://www.elitehrv.com/hrv-basics)
Basic Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the measured changes of the time intervals between heartbeats. Unlike Heart Rate (HR) that averages the number of heart beats per minute, HRV looks much closer at the small fluctuations of the heart that occur in response to internal and external events.
HRV is a direct link to your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and can therefore be used to gain insights into your nervous system health and processes when the correct calculations are applied.
By applying the appropriate calculations to HRV, you can better understand your nervous systems, cardiovascular systems, and respiratory systems in response to life’s stressors.
By acting on your HRV biofeedback insights, you can optimize your training, manage stress, improve health, and maximize your performance in life.
What Is Required?
- Smartphone App
- Compatible Heart Rate Monitor
- A couple of minutes a day
Journey to Elite HRV
My initial research led me to a system called Bioforce HRV. It looked impressive but the price-point was too high for me personally. Although I was interested in this new exciting concept I was not ready to make a substantial financial investment. I’d recently shelled out a good 200+ UK pounds on sandbags and my ‘fitness budget’ was seriously depleted.
It was while I was browsing though my iPhone apps that I decided to do a quick search for HRV. I'm not big on apps so this approach was relatively new to me. Boy am I glad I took this approach. A list appeared on the phone and the imagery of Elite HRV made an instant impression. I was shocked to see that the app was free and immediately downloaded it. Laughing. I didn’t have a compatible heart rate monitor but the journey was now well underway.
Armed with in-depth knowledge and my new shiny Polar H7, I began daily monitoring………15 days of recording later and I have developed a real appreciation for this technology and the potential benefits that it can offer:
- Optimise training
- Balance work and recovery
- Measure stress levels and enhance the ability to reduce stress
- And much more.....
I look forward to further analysis once I have more data.
Morning Readiness - 15 days of monitoring using Elite HRV
Why Elite HRV?
There seems to be a growing number of HRV apps in the market and while I have no direct experience with them I write this article to highlight the one app that began my HRV journey.
Life has taught me that many times the first choice is usually the right one. Elite HRV was my first one and I believe it to be a great choice.
I did my due diligence and read up on all the other main apps out there and for me personally, this one ticks all the boxes.
I highly recommend it.
- Feature packed without being overwhelming
- Crisp clean user interface
- Optional data recording
- Export function
- Great support
- Data is stored online (great backup)
- Web application for teams
My experience to date has been wonderful. The app is very impressive and offers a host of features. The information on the web site has been exceptionally useful and my interaction with one of the founders, Jason Moore, has been a joy.
Heart Rate Variability is something that I am delighted to have ‘discovered’. I know it will change my approach to training and will optimise recovery. I currently follow a very clever and intuitive periodisation process within my training (both in the macro and micro cycles) and am excited to fine-tune this with actual data. HRV also goes beyond just training and recovery and I look forward to investigating the other elements in the future.
For a very small financial outlay, a powerful tool is available that I believe to be a 'game change'. Thank you to Elite HRV for making this an affordable way to acquire such great technology.
My journey of HRV discovery has finished but the real journey has just begun……………oh, and no more hot chocolate.
EliteHRV – Official Web Site
Link to EliteHRV User Guide (sign up to newsletter required)
Podcast featuring the Co-Founder of EliteHRV, Jason Moore
HRV Training (Wonderful resource for training and HRV)
Wikipedia Article on HRV
Note 1: None of the external links on this page or throughout this web site are affiliate links. I provide links to give access to further information about the training I undertake. I have absolutely nothing against affiliate links but I don't personally run any.
Note 2: Sometimes I will provide details about a training program but only details that have been put into the public domain by the program creators.
"Knowledge is NOT power. It is what you do with the knowledge that creates the power."