Nobody cares how many calories you burn in the workout, be smarter

If you are still measuring your workouts by how many calories you are burning, or even worse you are chasing to burn loads of calories, you are looking at wrong numbers. Potentially numbers that could harm your health. Ultimately sign of good fitness, wellness and healthy is your resting heart rate decreasing and your HRV Increasing.  Here is bit on what HRV is and why it’s important.   

Definition of HRV (Heart Rate Variability)

Simply Heart Variability variability in the timing between the beats of your heart. Your heart beats 60 times in a minute, it’s not once every second--sometimes it could be 1.2 seconds, sometimes 0.8, etc. That variability comes from competing inputs from your nervous system. 

A wide variation in time intervals generally reflects “Healthy” Balance between Sympathetic (Fight or Flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) input to your heart tissue. 

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Sympathetic and Parasympathetic

Two branches of the autonomic nervous system. The do stuff, activating part [sympathetic] and the rest/digest, slow down, recover [parasympathetic]. When both are giving instructions to the heart it causes variability,” which is a good thing. When those systems are well balanced you see a lot of variability because they are both getting their way. HRV is a signal of your nervous system being balanced.

Better Metric than Just Heart Rate (or calories burning) . Why is HRV an important metric and relevant beyond your resting heart rate. Because it’s your nervous system manifesting in your heart

Resting Heart Rate & HRV as Fitness Indicators. 

When your heart rate goes down, it means that each heart beat is more effective. When your HRV is higher there is more capacity to allocate resources towards exercise. HRV naturally goes down while you’re exercising hard. The less stressed you are, more room there is for sympathetic activities to come in and dominate.

What Things Affect HRV? Activity level, stress, fatigue, illness, hydration, alcohol, and more. It’s one of the most sensitive metrics that there is. This makes it powerful. HRV changes a whole bunch day-to-day, but also within the day

Hydration. Hydration determines your blood volume, the more liquid in the system, the less hard you heart has to beat to circulate oxygen and nutrients.

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Sleep. Meeting your sleep need in obviously huge. Anything that’s going to make it hard to sleep is likely going to harm HRV. This includes, too much caffeine, emotional and physical stress and bad diet.

Workouts. Your program should have a balance of loading and unloading workouts. You most definitely should not be doing only high intensity workouts (HIIT). Also if you are emotionally stressed (work, family, life) you might have to do more strength and recovery workouts to increase your HRV.