Whether it’s a new years resolution or you’re returning to your training regime after the obligatory festive break, an increase in exercise and/or intensity needs to be carefully thought out to ensure you get the best out of every workout or training session.This post provides you with some fantastic guidance not only to make sure you are ready for every session but also help boost your heart rate variability (HRV). From your sleep to your nutrition we’ve got it covered!

Enjoy your Sleep!

A goods nights rest does wonders for you. Increased energy and productivity levels, improved heart health, a better mood and even a longer life are some of the benefits of getting good, regular sleep. Chances are you are not getting it.

  • High temperatures at night do not provide a good sleeping environment. When the temperature is high it takes longer to get to sleep and can lead to a fragmented sleep. Try adjusting your room’s temperature to between 16-18 degrees (60-68 Fahrenheit).
  • Making your room as dark as possible is a must for a good night’s kip.
  • Refrain from using the ever-present technologies in our lives before bed such as tablets and phones.
  • Avoid caffeine either all together or at least after 4pm for the best chance of dozing off quickly.

A good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to revive a low HRV score, additionally, temporarily reducing your HRV through training workouts is a great way to stimulate the adaptations needed to improve your athletic performance so a good nights sleep and performance go hand in hand!

Eat Smart

A well balanced diet will help improve your sports performance and HRV. An article we did back in the summer on Superfoods and Sports Performance explored research suggesting antioxidants in certain superfoods can eliminate the ‘free radicals’ that build in our body during exercise. Free radicals fatigue muscle cells that become detrimental to performance. Research certainly backs this up, a study on superfoods and performance, used New Zealand blackcurrants to see if they improved cycling performance and recovery in trained endurance athletes. It found that 78% of those that ingested blackcurrant capsules improved their 16.1km time trial performance in comparison with a placebo group who demonstrated no improvement It also found that performance was increased by an impressive 3.6 % during the same time trial. The production of Free Radicals is a well-documented consequence of sustained and high intensity exercise. So when you next shop don’t forget to pick up some blackcurrants!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

It’s vital you replace the fluid you lose when you exercise, breathe, sweat or urinate. A high rate of fluid consumption during the first two hours of post-exercise rehydration does not only positively affect your HRV but is known to increase plasma volume significantly and decrease the risks of nausea and headaches.

At the other end of the scale, dehydration can negatively impact cognitive functions, physical performance, your immune system, body temperature and cardiac output.

It’s clear that after a hard workout or event it’s important to make sure that you have properly re-hydrated and in turn not only will your HRV improve but you will be ready for your next work out!

And Rest….

Well timed rest days are crucial to your recovery as muscles need a certain amount of rest in order to strengthen, grow and super compensate. But how do you know when to rest to avoid overtraining and optimize performance? How much rest do you need personally? It’s simple, enter ithlete.

Daily ithlete readings indicate how well recovered and ready for physical strain your body is. Once you give the body training loads it can cope with, your training effectiveness will improve, and you may see a decline in day-to-day HRV variation. Ultimately you will stop losing time to non-functional overreaching (NFOR), related illnesses (such as coughs and colds), or unproductive sessions!

Wait, there’s more….

ithlete Pro includes A fully configurable timeline chart for heart rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate, training load and subjective data, enabling better insight into which lifestyle factors impact performance and recovery most.

Another exclusive feature of ithlete Pro, is the Training Guide which provides a unique pictorial representation of the user’s energy and recovery states, together with individualised zones, allowing him or her to choose the most suitable training on that particular day. It also interprets each new reading and delivers advice in a straightforward single sentence.

To get your two-week free ithlete Pro trial sign up here!