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038: How to use an Oura ring to monitor HRV and optimize recovery and performance.

Masterjohn Q&A Files Episode 38


Question: What are your thoughts on monitoring HRV for optimizing performance?

Measure your HRV every night and you stop exercising entirely to get a baseline. 

You completely stop working out, you don't go “oh no I'm going to lose my muscle mass,” nothing's going to happen for a week or two. And this is the whole foundation of you having good data.

This baseline ensures that you have good starting data that isn’t influenced by anything. 

Now you start working out. You do one workout that's typical, you keep taking your HRV, you may see your HRV plummet. Then you say, how long does it take me to recover on my current diet and lifestyle?

You repeat that, like you don't work out again until it's back up to the plateau level. Then you work out again and you see if you have a repeatable response where there's a certain amount of time on average that's fairly replicable that it takes you to recover your peak HRV after your typical workout. Then when you have that you get on that frequency.

You can then start playing around with factors — like does it matter what type of workout I do? Is my recovery level consistently different when I lift weights at 5 reps per set versus 15 reps per set. Is my recovery time consistently different when I do cardio, or when I do cardio and weights on the same day, or when I play soccer. Then you can start to tailor your recovery time around the specific workouts.

Maybe it takes you two days to recover from one workout and four days recovering from another. Lower body, upper body, if you have a lower body upper body split, does it take me five days to recover the lower body and does it take me three days to recover from upper body?

At that point you can start tweaking diet and lifestyle. Do I recover faster if I eat more carbs? Do I recover faster if I eat food X?  Do it recover faster if I take supplement X?  Always testing one thing at a time and making sure it's replicable before you form a conclusion before you do the next test.

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The Masterjohn Q&A Files
We use Zoom, a video chatting software, in webinar mode. You can ask your question anonymously in text, but you can also ask it publicly, and you can even get "on stage" and share your mic, web cam, or screen with everyone.
Chris Masterjohn, PhD