Hey Athletes! Do you know what HRV is? Tune in to this week’s Ask Me Anything to find out what it is, how to improve it, and more!
Episode 33 of Ask Me Anything is up!
This week’s question is from Ryan. He asks what is HRV, how to measure it, and how to improve it. Jerred and Joe give a definition, give examples on how you can track it, and how to improve it!
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Ask Me Anything: What is HRV, how to improve it, and more
[00:00:00] Jerred Moon: Welcome to garage the math. He asked me anything. It’s pretty simple. I’ll be answering questions from the thousands of athletes that follow our daily programming. If you have a question or topic you want submitted, go to dot com slash AMA. Let’s get started.
All right, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the garage gym athlete podcast. Jared moon here with Joe Courtney. So Joe,
Joe Courtney: Hey, what’s it
Jerred Moon: not much, man. Jumping into an ask me anything today. We have a question from Ryan. Ryan asks, what is heart rate? Variability? How do I measure it? What am I looking for with it?
And how do I improve it? Love the show and the programming. Thank you. Well, thank you, Ryan. so we will get into this one, HRV Joe and I have a lot of experience with it, just HRV tracking, HRV looking at the data, seeing if it’s useful, early years of it. so let me just [00:01:00] briefly discuss what it is. So the.
So heart rate variability is the measure of variability between heart rates or heartbeats. so your beat, your heart does not beat in a normal pattern. So if you were to have a 60 beat per minute heart rate, meaning one beat every second, it’s not actually. One second, my heart beats one second. It beats again, one second.
And beats again. That’s not what your heart is actually doing. What it’s doing is it’s taking 0.7 milliseconds to beat and then 1.3 milliseconds to be, and it keeps jumping back and forth. And so the measure of that over a time, let’s say minute is your heart rate variability. So it’s the variation between heart beats and the more variability you have.
The better. And so that is that’s, you know, very different for people because when you’re looking at resting heart rate, typically the lower, the better for athletes and with heart rate variability, the [00:02:00] higher, the better. and I have a lot more to say about that, but it’s just meaning that your body is more prepared to take on.
A challenge, you know, you’re, you’re more in a rested state and, that’s, that’s, that’s the, the short of it. I’ll talk about how to improve it, things that we’ve done. But Joe, what’s your take on heart rate variability. So one of
Joe Courtney: the things he asked is how do you measure it? And usually your wearable is going to measure it for you.
So ours, for the longest time we had woop measures it, AppleWatch you can have get measured now. the ordering years measures it. Garmin does not, it has its own heart rate variability. It gives, it gives its own score. It’s like a small decimal number. I still haven’t figured out that completely, but it’s not like your typical three digit or whatever.
You know, 50 to 150 or whatever, a number. and I’m, I do remember that it was something that I would look into because it would affected how I would do my recovery, my nutrition and things like
Jerred Moon: that. Yeah. And one thing to [00:03:00] know, I mean, I I’ve struggled with this like heart rate variability, is it actually useful information?
And I don’t know. I don’t know if it is a, you know, there, there are studies saying that it is, so I’m not going to try and fight the science on it. I’ve looked at a lot of HRV studies, but it is very, very much correlated in their studies on this too. It’s very, very much correlated to your resting heart rate.
So if you have like a really low resting heart rate, really low for you, and that’s, that’s one thing I want people to know, like with resting heart rate, there is kind of like standards. Like if you’re in the forties, that’s good. You know, and Joe, if you’re in the thirties, and then, and if your resting heart rate is like 100 that’s bad, but heart rate variability is not like that heart rate variability.
Is very much independent per person. Like I’ve seen really good athletes, have like a heart rate variability on the high side of food, 40 milliseconds and on the low 20 milliseconds. And I’m also seeing people who aren’t that [00:04:00] far fit with like heart rate variability is like 200 and, you know, down to like, One 20.
And so I really don’t think that it’s like resting heart rate. Like I think it’s very independent per person. so that’s one thing to know. You shouldn’t really compare your HRV to anyone else. It’s just your HR HRV compared to yourself over time is what you’re looking for. And also I’m just going to say that there is the resting heart rate.
Like if you have a low resting heart rate that typically low for you means you’re going to have a high HRV. And if you have a high resting heart rate, you’re gonna have low HRV. It’s very correlative data, a hundred percent. I
Joe Courtney: did find that part of variability is much more erratic than resting heart rate.
Like my resting heart rate might only fluctuate three beats, but my heart variability might be a hundred point different stay day.
Jerred Moon: Yeah. And that’s, that’s why I’m not a huge, I could never manipulate it as much as I want it to, you know, and that’s why I didn’t. Cause I could get everything dialed and imperfect and still [00:05:00] have a bad HRV day or whatever.
And, you know, I just don’t, I think it’s, I don’t think it’s that helpful. I think tracking your resting heart rate is more helpful, but yeah, as far as measuring it, Apple watch, if you use the breathe app on your Apple watch, which is built in that will force a HRV reading. If you’re wanting to, how do I take it when I want to take it?
the aura ring just takes your HRV. Like every minute throughout the entire night when you’re sleeping. And then there’s also this feature called moments where you basically do a breathing session or a meditation session and it takes your HRV then. and you mentioned Garmin, woop woop takes it when you’re sleeping and they don’t let you do anything else.
and that’s about it. So how to improve it, the, you know, if you reduce inflammation in your diet, you know, through your diet, that’s a big one. but then just exercise in general. I think making sure you’re hydrated, eating enough food, like all these things help you with your HRV. It’s all basic have healthy living guidelines.
but [00:06:00] you’re not going to see some sort of like transformation where like my mate, my HRV is 30. How do I get it to one 50? I don’t think it’s going to happen for you. Like you kind of have. It’s like a genetic thing to a certain degree, and you can only manipulate it so far within the parameters that you, you can.
but I don’t think it’s the most useful metric that you can be tracking. I think tracking heart rate is far easier. you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment. You can go buy like a pulse ox, which, you know, we’ll do respiratory rate or your oxygen saturation levels and, your resting heart rate.
And you can just do that in the morning. It’s like one of those little finger things that you have the doctor that cost like 15 bucks and you can buy them at CVS or Walgreens. Whatever. So resting heart rate, I think is way, way better to track than HRV. To be honest, I’m kind of over HRV. I don’t really, I don’t really look at it that much anymore.
I do watch my resting heart rate though. I pay attention to that.
Joe Courtney: Yeah, it was cool to see and, adjust. recovery based on it. So like whenever I would see mine was really well, I do, I would first things I would change for hydration, make sure I dialed [00:07:00] that in that day, then protein then carbs for just for that day.
And then the next day I’d see it go up and it’s like, okay, cool. I just need to know that. But after you do it after a while, you just kind of know what to do. And I think. For people that really need it. I think this is another one of those, you know, 1% changes to where you’re already doing everything very perfectly and whatnot.
If you really just need to be like the most elite athlete that you want to be, then that might be a 1% thing to see how it affects. But for most people, it’s not going to be that detrimental to keep it on point all the time.
Jerred Moon: Yeah. And, and the, the things that crush, it are like alcohol. like if I had two beers.
right before bed and then went to sleep. I mean, both things would happen. This is why I say paid attention to resting heart rate. My resting heart rate would go up and my heart rate variability would be in the trash. So it’d be like, if my typical resting heart rates, like 43, it would jump up to like 56.
And in my typical resting, our heart rate, variability is one 20. It would go down to like 30, you know? So there’s huge drops in your HRV, [00:08:00] but, there are things that crush it, and. You know, it’s just, yeah, it’s cool to pay attention to those things as well. I think that’s, what’s cool about just tracking data in general, finding out how things affect you is a, you know, I’ve also found eating late.
It has a similar effect to alcohol, but not near as, as aggressive. It’s just a slight and if I eat food late, alcohol, and then I really think, I think this whole HRV and resting heart rate thing with training. I’m really more on the fence now, not fully. They’re more on the fence that this is something that should, is a little bit more, should be reserved more for very serious athletes who train multiple times per day.
Cause if you’re training once a day, let’s say even twice, I still don’t think you’ll be pushing yourself so hard that you’re. You’re going to get crushed. Now I have done like Murph really hard and hot weather and seen it affect my heart rate [00:09:00] variability and resting heart rate. So my recovery is off, but normal training for the most part, you’re not going to see any huge fluctuations.
Maybe if you’re just getting reintroduced to training, you will. but it won’t be a factor if you’re training once a day for an hour, hour and a half. you know, in recovering, well, you won’t, you won’t need to track that stuff, but if you start training more or if you go, you’re going to be doing the Murph project or something like that, where you’re doing a Murph every year, every week for a year, then it might be something to pay attention to just to make sure that, because if you do see these things trending downwards over a longer period of time, that means you’re about to get sick.
You’re about to get injured, something’s going to happen. So it is good to pay attention to for those reasons. But for most people you won’t see a lot of fluctuation if you’re just keeping things normal.
Joe Courtney: Yeah. And that’s when it comes in handy that you can take it on the spot. I’m like, woo. But things like Apple and aura and, with garments, our rate score that the, their version of it, you have to have a chest strap on and you have to actually activate it and sit there for a minute and just breathe.
And then it’ll give you your score to actually really tell you, you know, whatever it does for your
Jerred Moon: training. And I actually want to look into whoop again. I [00:10:00] mean, I can just pull it out of my desk drawer and strap it on, but they added respiratory rate. Two, I think the, not just the app it’s been in, it’s been in the app for a while, but I think they added it to their recovery score.
So their recovery score used to take in three factors. It was resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and your sleep previous night’s sleep. And I think they added a fourth prong to that and that’s respiratory rate and part of the respiratory rate has to do with COVID and all this other stuff. But, I’m very interested to see now, because the reason I kind of moved away from loop is because they didn’t tell you exactly what their algorithm is, but I felt like it was like 80% dependent on heart rate variability.
And I just disagreed with that after using their product for two years, I think this is no, it doesn’t work now on multiple podcasts before, but I want to see now it’s like the aura already does that and they factor it into your recovery score. But I wanna say whoop has more, consistent recovery scores.
Now they added that respiratory rate. Let’s talk about something that barely fluctuates. I’ve been tracking it for since may and [00:11:00] I mean, respiratory rate, like it barely changes. Yeah. I mean, I can see it, go back and forth or whatever, but like you, there’s not a multi-point difference. It’s a decimal difference, with respiratory rate.
So anyway, that’s my food for thought on just recovery stuff and whatever, but hopefully that answers HRV question. Yeah. Cool. Well, if you like this, this podcast, go ahead and leave us a five star review, positive comment. and then also on YouTube, subscribe to the channel, give us a thumbs up, leave us a comment there.
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