I head to the gym and I know this is the day. I am going to hit that 750lb dead lift. I mean 3 weeks ago 720 flew off the ground and today is my day. I start my warm ups and for some reason something is off. I work up to 600lbs and it barely goes up, get that 720 again and it seems like it is nailed to the ground!!!! What happened? Where did all my strength go? I mean I ate right, I felt recovered, and I had the perfect periodization plan.
This has been my training at times. Being someone who has made his living being a strength and conditioning coach and fitness professional I can't take this lying down. Something I have always realized is that typical periodization models basically take into account three variables frequency, volume and intensity. I always knew there was something else that needed to be taken into account. Actually I knew there was alot that had to be taken into account. I mean I work a full time job, I have 3 children, I am a husband, and along with training, I own 2 business' and all these factors have the ability to put stress on my body. I could never quantify the amount of stress that all this caused on my body. Was I recovered from it? If I could measure this could I make the most of my workouts each day?
Fast forward a couple years and I start to read more about auto-regulation periodization and really re-visit and study Hans Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome model. This is something I learned in school but re-visiting it when I am more experienced and educated opened my eyes up tremendously. Also along with this came Heart Rate Variability (HRV) information. And not only is there technology that is easily accessible your training can take all these stressors into account with TELEO. So I began my life with TELEO and here are the steps that got me there.
Step #1 Research!Research!Research!
Always the first step is to look at how people who research for a living look at HRV measurements and its efficacy.
So first of all what is HRV?
HRV is something that has been used as long ago as the 1960's by the Russians. HRV measures the time between successive heartbeats over a given period of time. Specifically it measures the R-Intervals between heart beats. Basically an equation is used to give a number. A higher number reflects greater variability in the heart rhythm and thus a balance in autonomic function that has been tipped toward the parasympathetic side (rest and recover). A lower number indicates the opposite and shows that the body has turned up sympathetic function (fight or flight) while also turning down the parasympathetic function.
(This is specific to weight lifting and recovery)
Stability of heart rate variability indices reflecting parasympathetic activity
Bertsch, Katja, Hagerman, Dirk, Naumann, Psychophysiology, 5/1/2012
(Abstract: The results show good reliability of indices reflecting central parasympathetic control over heart rate and that about 40% of the variance of single HRV measurement can be explained by effects of the situation and person-situation interaction.
Analysis of Knowledge Production about Overtraining Associated with Heart Rate Variability, Leite, Gerson dos Santos, Sampaio, Lucia, Journal of Exercise Physiology, 4/1/2012
(Abstract: Longitudinal studies seem to be more suitable to monitoring the athlete's heart rate variability. Second, heart rate variability seems to be an excellent indicator, along with other markers, to understand the overtraining syndrome)
Step #2 - Anecdotal Evidence
I like research alot! I once heard a great saying that I believe is my mindset when it comes to research. "Let the research guide you not become you.". So I try things out on myself as well as look at what different organizations are doing. Readiness is being measured by most professional organizations now and major fitness technology companies.
I think truly understanding HRV/Readiness makes all the difference. We as humans have so many factors when it comes to training and we have all these devices that measure different external variables but the best measure we can have is how our body is internally handling external stressors or forces. Once we have that we can react dynamically to call upon performance or recovery to continue to keep us moving towards our health and performance goals in a safe and effective manner. I have modeled my own training and the training of my clients after this philosophy and the results have been amazing! Learn more or begin your life with TELEO by clicking the link below to learn more!