[Transcript] – HRV: The Single, Next Big Trend In Biohacking And Self-Quantification And How To Use It.

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/self-quantification-podcasts/how-to-use-hrv/

[00:00] Introduction

[02:33] Ronda Collier

[03:30] The SweetBeat System and The Upgrade

[09:47] Bubbles in the Correlation Screen

[14:03] The Health Patch

[20:38] The Three Heart Rate Variability Tracking Sessions

[24:51] The EKG Heartbeat Trace Window

[32:26] Why Measure Heart Rate after a Meal and Not HRV?

[40:26] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield and it’s probably no secret if you’ve been a podcast listener for a while that one of my favorite ways to pretty much track my body of all the different things that you could use to self-quantify is the something called Heart Rate Variability and I’ve actually had several podcasts before on heart rate variability where I’ve talked about this pretty cool health monitoring technique that allows you to tap into how recovered your nervous system is, how ready your body is to train for the day.  It even allows you to kind of predict whether you might get sick or you might get injured and the particular system that I’ve been using for pretty long time to track my heart rate variability is called SweetBeat and it’s basically just this iPhone app and you are heart rate monitor or something else that we’ll talk about in the podcast today and you do a simple measurement every day.  For me it’s five minutes in the morning when I’m lying in bed before I get out of bed in the morning.

Now, what I’m going to do in the show notes for this particular podcast is I’m going to link you to other podcasts that I’ve done on heart rate variability.  For example, I have one called The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Using Heart Rate Variability and I have another one called Everything You Need to Know About Heart Rate Variability Testing and the show notes for this particular podcast you can grab over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/sweetbeatlife.  That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/sweetbeatlife.  Hopefully that’s not too complex for you to remember if you’re out running or biking or doing your laundry or something as you listen in.

We’ll my guest in those other podcasts on heart rate variability was Ronda from SweetBeatLife and Ronda actually has more than 25 years of experience in technology product development and developing these really cool leading edge consumer electronic products and she spent the past several years as an independent scholar researching non-invasive health monitoring techniques and really she’s been at the forefront of developing the type of technology that’s used in the SweetBeatLife heart rate variability tracking technology.  So Ronda is a huge wealth of knowledge and we’re privileged to have her on the podcast to tell us how we can get better results out of our tracking and better results out of knowing what’s going on inside of our bodies.  So Ronda, thanks so much for coming on the call today.

Ronda:  Oh, thanks you so much for having me, Ben.

Ben:  Well, you know the reason that I wanted to have you on Ronda is that this whole SweetBeat system I’ve been using to monitor my own health that a lot of my clients are using now, it’s gone through a pretty massive little upgrade in terms of…

Ronda:  Indeed.

Ben:  What it actually monitors and kind of the tools that can be used to monitor.  It kind of go above and beyond just heart rate monitors and you’ve got this new thing called the HealthPatch now.  So we’ll talk about that a little bit later on, I think.

Ronda:  Yeah.

Ben:  But first of all, why’d you do this upgrade?  Like, were just basically finding customer feedback, influence, adding new variables or has technology progressed or what exactly happened?

Ronda:  Well, so the initial piece of the upgrade obviously was to come into the IOS7 and the new look and feel and that was a very small piece of it.  But we’re involved with the Qualcomm Life platform ecosystem and they…

Ben:  What is that?

Ronda:  Qualcomm is the big wireless company that makes chips for all our phones, okay?

Ben:  Okay.

Ronda:  And they have a division called Qualcomm Life that is in the medical area and the fitness area because ultimately they want to sell chips to all of the wireless devices but they’re doing some really cool stuff in terms of collecting information.  And so, they basically are an essential spot to collect all of your FitBit, mapmyfitness, Withings information and so working with them we got this idea that yes, the data’s cool and yes, there’s tons of dashboards out there showing you your data but what is the real sort of meaning behind all that data besides just seeing graphs?

So what we did was think, let’s do something that has meaning and so we came up with this correlation feature, okay?  This is one of the big new features of SweetBeatLife.  And so what we do was we take the things you’re already measuring so if you have a FitBit, if you’re using say, mapmyfitness, we take some information from that and we do support the Withings scale and blood pressure caps.

Ben:  Yeah, the Withings I actually have that scale.  It analyzes your body fat, [laughs] the CO2 in your home.  All sorts of interesting things.

Ronda:  [Laughs] Yeah.

Ben:  So you’re now able to bring in the data from these other devices into the SweetBeat app and then you can correlate your heart rate variability with that data?

Ronda:  Your heart rate variability with that data, your stress with that data or so let me back up a little bit.  There’s a certain type of metric that we call sort of essential metrics that people should know.  That is their blood pressure, their weight, their cholesterol and their heart rate variability.  Heart rate variability really is that important.  It’s something that people should know.  And so what we do is we have these metrics that you can then correlate all your other metrics too.  So for example, I’ll use HRV as one example.

You’ve been measuring, you’ve been tracking your Withings and your blood pressure and your calories in and out and all of that for a year, okay?  And now you’re training for an Ironman and so you want to go back and go, what have I been doing and tracking that consistently gives me the most recovered nervous system or highest HRV?  And then that gives you information so that you can reasonably, predictably be at your best HRV place the day of your Ironman, okay?  And so this is really powerful data.

Another one for some of your other listeners is weight, okay?  Sometimes it’s really elusive.  I feel like I’m been doing the right things to stay at my optimal weight but I just don’t get it.  And so what we do is, you can select weight as your metric instead of HRV that you care about and what it will do is tell you what you’ve been doing in tracking that are bringing you to your optimal weight, okay? You can also choose blood pressure.  What am I doing where my blood pressure’s where I want it to be, okay?  And so it’s really powerful for bringing actual usable information from data and I think that’s the new term – information versus data.

Ben:  Okay, so basically if you’re tracking all these data, if you’re really into self-quantification and you’re not necessarily even doing really advanced self-quantification like you’re just sticking with some basic variables like weight, blood pressure stuff like that, you can pretty much automatically, feed all that into the app and directly see how it’s affecting really what’s most important which is your heart rate variability or your entire nervous system.

Ronda:  That’s right.

Ben:  Okay.

Ronda.  That’s right.

Ben:  So I could theoretically see for example, I’m at 182 pounds right now, like that’s how much I weigh.  But when I’m competing or training hard a lot of times I’ll drop to like 175.  I could actually track that and see if my heart rate variability corresponds to my weight, for example?

Ronda:  That’s right.

Ben:  Interesting.

Ronda:  And you can see what weight you are where your HRV tends to be higher.

Ben:  Got you.

Ronda:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay, I definitely noticed that on the new app and by the way, for those of you listening if you’re just like, heart rate variability, huh, what are they talkin’ about? Definitely, go to the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/sweetbeatlife because you’ll probably want to go back and listen to the other episodes that we did just because frankly, we’re not going to go into a big discussion in this podcast on what heart rate variability is.  We’re kind of progressing with the idea that you kind of already have your head wrapped around that.  If you don’t, go listen to the other two podcasts.  Consider this to be like number three in the series.

So anyways, Ronda you’ve got this new correlation screen which is pretty cool because now we can kind of feed all our data into one place and it’s kind of laid out with like bubbles.

Ronda:  Right.

Ben:  And I know is you can touch these bubbles and it like flips them.  What exactly is going in there?

Ronda:  Yeah, so I’ll take this moment so your listeners understand.  We’re putting a lot of information on a simple screen, okay?  ‘Cause there’s so much to convey that it’s complicated so I do advise SweetBeatLife has a really great little video, there’s this little video button.  I do advise to watch that and pay close attention, okay?  So what we have is the…

Ben:  What do you mean it’s like a how to video or?

Ronda:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay.

Ronda:  Yeah, so it describes everything in detail and if you just spend a couple of minutes watching that little video then that whole screen will suddenly have meaning.

Ben:  Is that the one on the app?  That video?

Ronda:  Uhuh!  Yeah.

Ben:  Oh, for some reason I missed that.  Okay.

Ronda:  It looks like a little film clip in the corner.

Ben:  Okay.

Ronda:  Looks like actual film.  And so if you press that and you have to have done the update.

Ben:  Okay.

Ronda:  It started on the last update it wasn’t on the original release.

Ben:  Okay.  Got you.

Ronda:  We had just a lot of confusion like I said.  You’re going to look at that screen and go, okay what does this mean?  But then once you watch the video and understand it you’re like, “oh wow, look at all these great information I’m seeing.”

Ben:  Okay.  Got you.

Ronda:  So we’ve got this central bubble on the left the blue bubble.  And that is what we call sort of your important body metric such as blood pressure, weight, HRV and those little ones we support now would have eventually had glucose once we can support that.  And those are the kind of things that you really care about, okay?  And then all the other things you do like what kind of activities you’re doing, what kind of exercise, how many steps you’re taking, how many calories in calories out and all that.  Are these bubbles that surround the blue bubble?  And so what you have at the top is actually what you’ll see are bubbles from big bubbles at the top down to small bubbles at the bottom.  The big bubbles have a high level of correlation, okay?

Ben:  Okay.  Got you.

Ronda:  Yeah, and the small bubble just goes down in order of levels of correlation, okay?

Ben:  Okay.  Yup.

Ronda:  And then the small bubble has the least amount of correlation, okay?

Ben:  Got you.

Ronda:  And then you will also see that there’s green bubbles and red bubbles.  So the green bubble means that it’s a positive correlation or a proportional correlation so for example, if you’re HRV goes up as your weight goes up, it’s a green bubble, okay?

Ben:  Right.  Makes sense.

Ronda:  If your HRV goes up as your weight goes down it’s a red bubble.  That means it’s inversely correlated, okay?

Ben:  Or if like for example, actually for the average temp that correlation, is that your body or is that your home temp for that one?

Ronda:  Oh, that’s your body temp.

Ben:  Okay, and we’ll talk about the HealthPatch in a second.  You could find that as your average body temp goes up your heart rate variability decreases and then the bubble will be red.  So and by the way, if you’re listening in it may behoove you to press pause download the app, pull up the screen and then you could go back and listen to what Ronda said because honestly, just hearing her talk about big bubbles and green bubbles and red bubbles may seem kind of confusing unless you’ve actually seen the screen.

Ronda:  That’s right.

Ben:  So anyways, and if you’re one of my clients or someone who I coach, you sure as heck better know what she’s talking about because you’re supposed to have seen that screen already. [laughs]

Anyways though, we’ve got this correlation screen which allows us to then take Withings, FitBit and mapmyfitness any of these sites that we’re using and then feed that into the heart rate variability app so that we can then see how again what I consider to me the most important metric heart rate variability, how that’s influenced by all these variables.

Ronda:  That’s right.

Ben:  You’ve also as part of this new upgrade or as part of kind of how you’ve progressed with technology got a way to record your heart rate that goes way above and beyond just recording your heart rate with kind of the old school method of using a heart rate monitor like in the past you put on heart rate monitor and that sends a signal to the app and now you’ve got this new thing called a HealthPatch.  Can you tell me a little bit about the HealthPatch?

Ronda:  Oh, we are so excited to have the HealthPatch for so many reasons. You know the athletes all have heart rate monitors and chest straps and they’re good with that but a lot of people just won’t wear one, okay?  They just refuse and so what we have is this HealthPatch that looks like a big Band Aid, okay?  And it measures and it’s not only an FDA approved single-lead EKG, it also measures respiration rate, skin temperature, body posture, number of steps and let’s see… calories burned, okay?

Ben:  Uhm.

Ronda:  Accurate calories burned.  I just want to stress that.  Don’t ever trust the machine at the gym and you know, really and also while some of the…

Ben:  The treadmill that tells you that you just burned fifteen hundred calories walking for 40 minutes, yeah.

Ronda:  That’s right.  And for people trying to lose weight it’s really important that they kind of get how much each workout.  You know, if you’re on a long term weight loss plan if you have 20 or 30 or 40 pounds to lose, that 200 extra calories a day makes a difference and so you really want an accurate calorie burn, and so the HealthPatch uses your heart rate and skin temperature and a nice algorithm that calculates calories burned.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s what I really like is that a heart rate monitor is not telling me things like respiration rate and skin temperature and it also doesn’t tell me things like steps and activity and I’ve got to be honest, I don’t use the HealthPatch every day because I know some people are curious like if I’m one of those guys who walks around with like the FitBit on all day and I’m just not.  I feel like a big robot when I’m constantly gathering data.  What I like to do and this is what I do with the HealthPatch, was I wore it for like a week just so I could get like some preliminary data and I will wear it a for a little while every morning and that’s just the way that I roll.  And I do know there are some people out there who are just total self-quantification nerds, more power to you.  If you want to wear the HealthPatch all day long, that’s great because you’re probably going to get more out of it than I even do you know, in terms of like your steps and your activity and it could replace your FitBit or anything like that and it just kind of sticks.  Well, there’s three places you can stick it it’s like middle of your chest, below your nipple and then like kind of in the upper part of the peck, right?

Ronda:  Right.  That’s right.  And yeah, I think I do want to point out to your listeners that are interested in it.  I actually use it like you, Ben.  I wear it for certain things to check things out so for certain workouts I do I want to get an accurate calorie burn, okay because I’m tracking all these for my correlation and I want it to be accurate.   So I will wear this on my 8-mile hike and then come back and see how many calories it actually was.  And then I don’t have to wear it on that same hike again.  I already know.  On a mountain bike ride or even I’ve taken it to the elliptical at the gym and compared it to what the elliptical said and it’s about 220 calories off.  The gym said I burned 650 and the patch said 420.

Ben:  And honestly for me, I personally don’t care that much about calories.  It’s just like ‘cause I’m training so much like calories are really important but what I think is cool and folks have asked me before when I’ve talked about it on the podcast like how the barbell squat.  I found that that decreases heart rate variability pretty significantly.  Which is actually short term a good thing.  It puts your body in this huge stress mode and then you get this big bounce back response and it’s one of the better exercises you can do at the gym.  How I know that is I actually wore the HealthPatch during a workout and for me knowing things like skin temp during a workout and heart rate variability during a workout I think those are really cool variables to be able to measure.  So again, you can kind of use it as you see fit, you know records the same with your key workouts that you do regularly to see how they’re affecting your body and it doesn’t mean you have to wear the HealthPatch 24/7 again, even some people will.

Ronda:  Right.  That’s right.

Ben:  But yeah, I use it in the same way as Ronda is like I put it on here and there throughout the day when I actually need it.

Ronda:  Yeah, and I want to point out to your listeners that my use model is to take the plastic off, put the module in because the patch itself has the battery and it’s disposable after the battery dies but you have this module that you keep using.  So I stick the module in, I wear it for whatever I’m going to do and then I take it.  I don’t seal the module in and if you look at it you can seal it in if you’re going to wear it for three days and might get it wet.  And then I pull the module out and put the plastic back on the patch.  It lasts me a month, you know.

Ben:  Yeah.  Exactly.  ‘Cause it keeps on sticking into your skin.

Ronda:  Yeah, it does.  And if you’re just using it say, for your HRV in the morning ‘cause it’s more convenient, it’ll last a couple of months.  That way you just wake up and slap the patch on and turn on the app and you don’t have to like hook a chest strap and get the lids wet or anything.

Ben:  Yup.

Ronda:  So I find it really a lot more convenient for that and because the used model people think of oh, wearing it for three days.  And they’re kind of expensive for that sort of a used model.  You can get a couple of months out of a patch for HRV for training.  If you take the module out and just put the plastic back on and save the battery life, yeah it’s good.

Ben:  Yeah.  Cool.  Very cool way for non-invasive monitoring.  And so that’s another feature.  Another thing I wanted to ask you about, is now when I pull up in the app I have three options to select the type of heart rate variability tracking session that I’m going to do like when I’m lying in bed in the morning and I want to do that morning measurement.

Ronda:  Uhuh.

Ben:  One is to monitor stress.  One is to monitor heart rate recovery and one is to monitor HRV for training.  There’s like three different options.

Ronda:  Right.

Ben:  Can you kind of go through why there’s three in which one you’d want to choose?

Ronda:  Okay, well monitor stress will run a monitor stress session for as long as you want, okay?  You can run that while you’re driving to work.  You can run it while you’re sitting at your desk for hours, okay?  You can actually sleep in it if you want.  We have a lot of customers who want to sleep in it and it will run until you press stop, okay?

Ben:  Okay.  Got you.

Ronda:  Yeah, so that’s the one that you do just for indefinite.

Ben:  That’s the one that you could just have on like during an entire workout or a hike or all night long while you sleep.  That type of thing.

Ronda:  That’s right.  Heart rate recovery was a feature that our customers wanted early on and so we left it in and people actually really like it ‘cause we give some really meaningful feedback.  Heart rate recovery you would press and start probably towards the end of your workout or maybe you’re running it through the whole workout.  But you would choose that if you want to measure heart rate recovery.  And so what you do is turn on the session and when you’re done working out and you want to measure your recovery you just press “I’m done” you press stop and then sit down or stand still and it will measure how quickly your heart starts recovering.  And then it will give you a score based on pretty much industry accepted how many beats per minute you’ve recovered, okay?  I think if it’s less than 12 then that’s really not good.  You’re sick.  And when it’s up at 30 or 40 then that’s pretty good.

Ben:  Okay.  Got you.  So the super fit people who are listening in ‘cause I honestly like a lot of people listening in to our podcast are pretty freaking far out of couch potato mode, they’re probably not going to use the heart rate recovery as much as they’re going to use like the stress monitoring.

Ronda:  That’s right.

Ben:  What’s the HRV for training?

Ronda:  So HRV for training is automatically timed.  So that’s the one when you’re lying in bed, when you don’t want to even use your brain because that will affect your HRV in the morning.  You really want to be kind of sleepy and not thinking.  Not thinking about your day ‘cause that can cause stress.  And you pull it up and you just hit HRV For Training and it will run a three-minute session [0:22:55.8] ______.  You don’t even have to think you just lay and then it finishes all by itself.  And that’s the one where we’ll actually go in to our HRV for Training graph with the reference line, okay?  And so the monitor stress sessions do not go into the HRV for Training with the reference line graph.

Ben:  You mean the EKG heartbeat trace?

Ronda:  No, there’s a graph called HRV for Training.  So it’s a summary of your daily HRV for Training.

Ben:  Oh, yeah.

Ronda:  Okay, and so there’s a reference line that’s basically adaptive to your HRV.  This comes from a clinical research paper.  Actually, there’s several clinical research papers and so we just follow that rule.  And simplistically if you’re above your reference line, train as usual or increase.  If you’re below your reference line one day it’s a low exertion day and two days we recommend a rest day.  If you follow below that line two days in a row then probably go ahead and take a rest day.

Ben:  Yeah.  So this is the one if you’re listening in this is that quick three-minute measurement.  It used to be five minutes I think, now it’s three.

Ronda:  We took it to three because our customers asked for that and we did some analysis and learned that things settled down at three.  Anything shorter than three I don’t personally believe it’s accurate enough.

Ben:  So it’s pretty much green light, go.  Yellow light, take it easy today.  Red light, probably not a good idea to go.

Ronda:  Right.  That’s right.

Ben:  Or do it.  High intensity interval session.  So you’ve got HRV for training window that pulls up.  If you do the HRV for training which would be like the simple morning measurement that you do.  Whereas, you do is the monitor stress button to actually monitor workout or hike or like a sleep session or something like that.  And then you’ve also got when you’re measuring this EKG heartbeat trace that shows your heartbeat and you can actually flip that window around, right?

Ronda:  Yes, you’ve got several windows behind there.

Ben:  And so can you explain what happens when you flip that window?

Ronda:  Absolutely.  So the first window is an animation however it is your beat to beat intervals so that’s kind of cool.  Then you can flip it around by pressing there’s a little button on the lower right hand corner under the EKG and you’ll get all of the data coming off of the patch or if you’re using a chest strap you will see your raw HRV information.  We like to call it the geek screen.

Ben:  Uhm, yeah.

Ronda:  So this screen will show you your low frequency sympathetic nervous system or fight or flight power numbers.  It will show you your high frequency or para sympathetic rest to repair power numbers.  It’ll also show you the ratio of those two.  It shows you RMS’s and these are geek terms but people love it.  Which is root means square of successive differences.  It’s just statistical terms sort of like standardization.

Ben:  Yeah, I don’t know if you remember that we actually went over that stuff.

Ronda:  Yeah.

Ben:  In pretty good detail in the last episode so people…

Ronda:  Okay, it’s all just zoom over that.  But basically, it shows you all your HRV: LF, HF, RMSST, HRV heart rate.  It also shows you your respiration rate and all these is in real time.  All your RR intervals.  Your energy burns so it has calories per hour and total calories.  It has your real time skin temperature steps and activity is in G’s actually so it tells how hard you’re running or how high you’re jumping in that sort of thing.  Then you can flip the screen around again and get your actual instantaneous heart rate, okay?  This is a really powerful screen because you can actually get a visual of your heart rate variability.  If it looks like a sort of a steady line around the same heart rate, that’s sort of your visual for low heart rate variability.

Ben:  Right.

Ronda:  But if it’s sort of moving around like a snake yeah, that’s good.  You want a lot of that.  You’ll also see by the way, any ectopic beats, okay?  And a lot of fit people have PVC’s.

Ben:  You mean like if you have an arrhythmia or something like that?

Ronda:  Yes, you will see it on the screen.

Ben:  Really, I didn’t know they did that.  Interesting.

Ronda:  Oh yeah.  The HRV calculations that we put through, it’s an industry standard a medical industry standard filter to remove ectopic beats for the HRV calculations ‘cause that will give you a false reading of HRV so we take ‘em out for that.  But for this particular screen you will see any arrhythmias or ectopic beats and so it’s very powerful for that as well to give you…

Ben:  For some reason I hadn’t seen that.  I’ve got to go back and look at that now ‘cause that’s really interesting because I’ve gone in and done heart rate stress test just to see what happens to my body and my PVC’s.  Technically, you could wear this then at the gym and you could do your own cardiac stress test.

Ronda:  That’s right.  It just looks like a spike in the graph.

Ben:  Not that we’re endorsing taking your medical care into your hands.  Well, I guess we kind of are, huh?

Ronda:  Yeah, we kinda are.

Ben:  [Laughs]

Ronda:  And then another thing for some people that do heart math go coherent with this.  What you’ll be able to see the graph that you’re used to seeing on heart math with this sort of the sign wave heart rhythm on this graph, okay?  So it’s really powerful.  It’s actually beat to beat instantaneous heart rate, unfiltered.

Ben:  Okay.  Got you.  Very cool.  This is so cool.  Again, if you’re listening in like this is the one thing if you’re going to do self-quantification this is the one thing that I think gives you the most data all at once.  And actually, I’m learning a few things I didn’t know that about heart arrhythmias.  So really interesting.  Okay, cool.

Ronda:  And then you could turn it into landscape can’t forget the landscape.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask you about you like flip it and it brings you up to a new graph.

Ronda:  Yeah, it’s just clockwise so you can’t turn it either way.  It’s just one way and that’s just what it is.  But you can see your real time graph of either your real time RR intervals like I just mentioned in landscape modes so you get a better view or you can flip press the RR button and then you can get real time heart rate, HRV, stress, LF and HF in all graph.  And so you can actually see and sometimes graphs are just easier for the brain to pick up than numbers.

Ben:  Uhm.

Ronda:  And so you can see especially if you’re wearing it at your desk or while you’re driving you’ll be able to see if something triggered you, okay?

Ben:  Yup.

Ronda:  It occurred to me, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before.  For those who know what they’re looking at you can tell when you cross from aerobic to anaerobic by looking at these graphs.

Ben:  Really?

Ronda:  And it’s like a little.  You can.  So what’ll happen when you’re working out with SweetBeat is that okay all of your HRV will plummet, okay because your heart rate’s going up.  And your power levels of LF and HF plummet but generally your sympathetic or LF is dominant, okay during the aerobic piece, okay?  And then when you cross that line, and correct me if I’m saying it backwards, when you cross that line into anaerobic yeah, your HF will become dominant.

Ben:  That’s the opposite of what I would expect.  I would expected for your sympathetic nervous system to become dominant when you go anaerobic.

Ronda:  No, it’s the opposite and HF I think, it comes in to start mediating the high heart rate.

Ben:  Oh okay, so basically as you begin to get that higher heart rate and suck oxygen your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in to help to monitor that and rein it in.

Ronda:  It’s almost a safeguard.

Ben:  So it’s pretty much the opposite of what you’d expect?

Ronda:  It is ‘cause LF kicks in because you just started moving you need blood to the muscles, you need the heart rate to increase and yeah, when you see that crossover suddenly your stress will go from red to yellow or red to even green.  That’s your crossover point.  So it’s kind of cool.  I use it and I liked it, yeah.

Ben:  Very cool.  Okay.  Awesome.  And then you still got the food sensitivity testing on there?

Ronda:  Yeah, we do.  It’s not as cutesy of an interface and we did add an ability if you’re doing manual or yeah it’s manual testing on this one.  We did take the camera sensor out but we added the capability.  Now the real coco pulse test which we model with our food sensitivity test is very clear to specify to do your pulse for one full minute but due to customer request we added the capability to select a 15-second reading and then we multiply it by four to come up with the minute heart rate.  So you know, really following the coco pulse test we advised to do it a minute but you do have the option now to do a 15-second reading.

Ben:  Now, I’m curious in this kind of relation that correlation screen two, like why is it that you just measure heart rate after a meal and not heart rate variability?

Ronda:  So we’re following the guidance of Dr. Koka who did a lot of research on this.  He was a renowned immunologist in the 50’s.  Founder of the Journal of Immunology, I mean he’s got quite the resume.  And so he wasn’t doing heart rate variability but what he learned was if you eat or are exposed to something that you have a low level sensitivity to you’re not breaking out in hives, you’re not having anaphylactic shock.  But your body is responding and reacting actually to an offending substance.  Your heart rate will increase more than 60 beats per minute from its baseline in the morning within 90 minutes of being exposed.  And it can be that last 30 minutes that’s why we take a heart rate meaning at 30, 60, 90.

Now for those of you who are using the chest strap during this ‘cause it’s much more convenient to just put your heart rate monitor on press ‘I’m done eating’ and go about your day and it will take your pulse for you.  That will give us data to then move into research about what’s going on in HRV when an offended food is eaten.

Ben:  Yeah.  So you take it you could still measure this all during the day.  Get your heart rate variability score and kind of see how that correlates as long as you know when you ate breakfast, when you ate lunch, when you ate dinner you can look at the graph in the screen and kind of know even though there’s not a lot of studies that have actually looked in to it you know, like the coco pulse test.

Ronda:  Well, not for food sensitivities but you just mentioned something interesting.  There is a certain pattern of heart rate variability that should occur in healthy individual after you eat and specifically your LF should go up for a certain amount of time and then come back to normal.  If it doesn’t it’s an indication of possible insulin resistance.

Ben:  So if you eat a meal, your LF, your low frequency should go up for a period of time after that meal.  Why is that?  Because again the low frequency would technically be an activity of your sympathetic nervous system, right?

Ronda:  That’s right.  That’s just what the research shows.  It’s really interesting.  It’s counter intuitive.

Ben:  It’s weird.  Yeah, it’s totally counter intuitive ‘cause you’d expect your rest and digest nervous system not your fight and flight nervous system.  So.

Ronda:  And it’s just ‘cause for a little while and then parasympathetic kicks back in.

Ben:  And if it doesn’t go up what did you say it indicates?

Ronda:  They learn this by running a heart rate variability on diabetics, okay?  And so what they learned was if it doesn’t it’s an indication of insulin resistance.

Ben:  Very interesting. Wow.  This is so freaking cool.

Ronda:  It is.  There’s so much with HRV.  It’s just crazy, I know. [laughs]  Well, the nervous system is like the first thing that gets perturbed before any physical symptoms show up that’s why it is so important for people to monitor HRV you know, at least once a month even just regular people. So if after he hears the monitor, suddenly it starts like being really different and you don’t feel sick yet but that’s a sign to go to your internist and get a full workout.

Ben:  Yeah, okay.  Cool.  Wow.  Again, I’m going to put the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/sweetbeatlife that’s just like it sounds bengreenfieldfitness.com/sweetbeatlife.  You pretty much need to download the app and the app cost money.  I forgot how much it is like is it ten bucks or?

Ronda:  Yeah, it’s ten bucks.

Ben:  Okay, so yeah.  So you get the app and that’s ten dollars and then you can buy like you can use your own heart rate monitor.  You can also buy the HealthPatch device and that’s a little bit more spendy I think it’s what is like two hundred bucks or something like that to get a HealthPatch?

Ronda:  Yeah, it’s two hundred bucks right now.  It just got released so until volumes go up the price will come down when volumes go up.  But for now, that’s why I recommend really making each patch last a month or two.

Ben:  It’s really pretty much similar like a FitBit or whatever really in terms of the cost.  I don’t know.  So yeah, you can either just get the app or if you’re really into this stuff you want to go into total nerd mode get the app and the HealthPatch and then that’s pretty much it then you’re off to the races and you start use everything we talked about.

Ronda:  And tie in your FitBit account, your Withings account and all your mapmyfitness stuff and go do it.  So once again I’m doing this for SweetBeat and I’m having to correlate so I can speak intelligently about.  But I linked, it’s called Lucid.  It’s a popular calorie tracking app.  And I link that in with my FitBit.  And so it goes up to the FitBit cloud and then gets pulled back into the correlation function.  ‘Cause I don’t like the FitBit food tracking.  So there’s a lot of things you can start linking together and then have them ultimately show up in your correlation screen.

Ben:  Interesting.

Ronda:  Yeah.

Ben:  Cool.  Well, you’re getting even more advanced than I’ve actually been using it for but that’s pretty cool so you’re correlating quite a bit in terms of the websites that you’re using and again I know, we get some complaints from people who are like, “oh, it’s too much to track.  You’re taking the enjoyment out of life whatever.”  Well, then just like start by doing a three-minute measurement in the morning honestly.  That’s what I recommend everybody do.  I sit down.  I journal.  I breathe.  I take the measurement.  Boom.  Done.  And then if you want to go track your workouts and everything else then more power to you but honestly, I’m totally not endorsing that you ruin your life by going into full self-quant mode and not enjoying what you eat ‘cause you’re looking at your heart rate app and all that jazz, like you know, ultimately we’re talking about doing what works for you in terms of still being able to enjoy and relish life but also getting some good data.  And like three minutes in the morning is pretty simple to do.

Ronda:  Well, that’s right.  I just want to once again emphasize.  It’s just like and not everyone’s not a tracker.  I’m actually not naturally a tracker I’m doing this for work but it’s just like you know how much you weigh.  You have a general idea of your blood pressure and cholesterol.  You should know your HRV too.  And that’s not sort of a burdensome thing if you put it into that context.

Ben:  Yeah.  Cool.  Alright I’ll put a link to everything we talked about in the show notes.  We’re just pretty much just the previous two episodes that Ronda and I have done.  I’ll link to those.  I’ll link over to where you can download the SweetBeatLife phone app in the iTunes store and then the SweetBeatLife website which pretty much has all the other information that you need.  So that’s it.  Ronda, thanks so much for coming on the call.

Ronda:  Oh, thank you Ben.  I always enjoy these things.  They’re fun.

Ben:  Alright folks, well this is Ben Greenfield and also Ronda is it Collier or Collier?

Ronda:  Collier.

Ben:  Collier.  Okay neither. [laughs] Ronda Collier from SweetBeatLife signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com/sweetbeatlife.  Have a great day.      



I’m really not a big self-quantification nerd. I don’t like to be plugged into stuff all day long. It just makes me feel like a giant robot (and being constantly plugged into things like Bluetooth devices just gives me the tin-foil hat wearing heebie-jeebies). But I do religiously take one simple measurement every single morning: heart rate variability. And the method that I use to measure heart rate variability is, in my opinion, the singe, next big trend in biohacking and self-quantification. It’s called SweetBeatLife, and all you need to use it is the SweetBeatLife phone app. In today’s audio interview, I speak with Ronda Collier, who has more than 25 years of experience in high technology product development with a proven track record of delivering leading edge consumer electronic products. The previous two heart rate variability podcasts with Ronda (that I’d recommend you listen to before you listen to today’s podcast if you don’t know much about heart rate variability) are below:

–Everything You Need To Know About Heart Rate Variability Testing

The Do-It-Yourself Guide To Using Heart Rate Variability Testing to Track Your Stress and Nervous System Health

By analyzing HRV and Stress along with additional data, SweetBeatLife provides a deep dive into health and provides insight into what activities you engage in that effect the health metrics you care about. This is important because the next big trend in bio-hacking is understanding the relationships between different metrics like your weight, your blood pressure, your blood glucose, the number of steps you take and your actual internal health and nervous system. SweetBeatLife integrates and correlates data from popular fitness platforms like MapMyFitness, Fitbit and Withings and integrates seamlessly with the extensive biometrics from the new HealthPatch sensor (which we talk about in the podcast). The SweetBeatLife features that we discuss in the podcast include:
Monitor/Relax: The Monitor screen allows users to choose which feature they would like to use (Stress Monitoring, HRV for Training, Heart Rate Recovery). After starting a session, the user’s metrics will fill this screen: heart rate, HRV, stress level, current mood.


EKG EKG (RRs): The EKG-like heart beat trace is the first window on the Monitor screen. By flipping this window around, the user can see several other real-time features.


NEW Stats: The stats screen, more widely referred to as the “geek” screen, shows all the metrics used in the algorithm calculations and then some! If using the HealthPatch, the user will get to monitor their respiration, energy, skin temperature, steps and activity.


NEW Graph: The graph screen shows a real-time building graph of your heart rate from RR Intervals. Turning the phone 90 degrees counter-clockwise will bring up the graph in landscape. Unselecting RR in the top right corner will allow the user to see all of the other metrics in real-time.


NEW HealthPatch: The HealthPatch by VitalConnect, uses SweetBeatLife’s software to record the following data in real-time: heart rate, respiration, calories out, skin temperature, steps and activity. This is the future of noninvasive monitoring.


NEW Correlation: The correlation screen uses a patent pending algorithm to correlate all of the Fitbit data the user has shared with SweetBeatLife. This data will come from the app itself, the HealthPatch and any other apps the user has authorized (Fitbit, Withings, and/or MapMyFitness). Settings allow the user to view demos or analyze the correlations between their own data. The user chooses which metric they want to correlate to the others (HRV, stress, or weight). They can choose to see all of their data or put in specific date ranges. By doing this, the user can see their current, max, and min metric compared to their other data. Touching the bubbles flips them for more data.


HRV for Training: In competitive sports, improved performance is achieved by alternating periods of intensive training with periods of relative rest. SweetBeatLife uses patent pending algorithms to create a personalized reference line for the user based on 3-minute daily HRV readings. Using the reference line, the app recommends the user “train as usual”, have a “low exertion day”, or take a “rest day”.


Food Sensitivity Food Sensitivity Test: To use the food sensitivity test, a user must first take a morning reading of the pulse to establish a baseline for the day. Before eating a meal, the user records the foods comprising the next meal and performs a pulse test. After the user is finished eating, the app will prompt users to record their heart rates every 30 minutes until 90 minutes have passed. Once testing is complete, the meal will either pass or fail for food sensitivity. The Food Sensitivity test methodology developed by immunologist Dr. Arthur F. Coca can be found on the web.


History Sessions History: Accessing saved sessions is easier than ever. The history is split into three sections: charts, sessions, and food. Now users can separate their food sensitivity tests from the rest of their sessions. By selecting a saved session, the user can view their metrics in a graph, upload to MySweetbeat, Facebook or Twitter, and new capabilities now allow users to send their RR intervals in a CSV file to any email address.


Grab the SweetBeatLife phone app by clicking here, visit the SweetBeatLife website here, and leave any questions, comments or feedback below! Either Ronda or I will answer and point you in the right direction.


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One thought on “[Transcript] – HRV: The Single, Next Big Trend In Biohacking And Self-Quantification And How To Use It.

  1. spin wheel says:

    Thanks for sharing!

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