Experimenting With Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Pt. 2

I have to say… this experiment has been incredibly fun and insightful. I never thought I’d geek out on HRV (staring at graphs and numbers doesn’t excite me too much) but to be able to see, in real time, how you are doing each day against your baseline has been incredibly helpful in a couple of ways:

(If you want to hear the what and why of HRV I wrote about it here and here.)

Despite still being in the process of tracking my true baseline (2 months minimum), here’s what I’ve noticed thus far:

  • I’ve become smarter with how I should adjust and tailor my workouts according to my HRV score. Prior to HRV I was admittedly the person who loved to push it as hard as I can for 6 days of the week. Rest? What’s that?! Even on Sunday I would try to go on a long walk or a hike. Now, I am able to see the data itself as well as check in with how I am feeling to plan for the day, which leads me to my second point.
  • Mindfulness. Yes, tracking HRV has helped me to be mindful in a metta kind of way. From the picture below you can see that 1/15, Sunday, I was in need of a rest day. Had I not seen this for myself I might have gone ahead and gone for a workout. To be honest, I was actually considering it but after seeing this I decided to call up a friend and go for a long walk around the lake instead. Ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, I’m not sure how much a workout, or not, would have made a difference, but I find that tracking HRV gives you another data point to assess the question, “How are you really feeling today? How does your body feel?”.

It’s a somatic form of mindfulness which I find healing in many ways.

Screenshot_2017-01-19-07-33-03

  • Last but not least I find myself meditating during my workouts. Prior, whether it was Crossfit, SoulCycle, or another form of HIIT, the underlying thought ran along the lines of, “faster! harder! ouch! almost there!”. (Of course it’s a completely different story when I am focused on strength training or yoga where I find myself more in a relaxed and meditative state.) These days, thanks to more of an aerobic mode of training I find that I am always meditating during my workouts. With each row, pedal, run, etc. I find that I am highly focused on a positive thought or affirmation. Once I find myself in that state I enter a zone of pure bliss. For this alone I am appreciating the aerobic training base that comes recommended in Primal Endurance (even though in no way I am a competitive or endurance athlete).

And today? Well, according to the data above, I’m in the green which implies I’m ready for a workout. I’ll likely do a 50 minute low and slow aerobic training session, which happens to be one of my favorites now.. 🙂

Namaste.

 

 

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