I recently started wearing a Whoop strap and blogging about my experience. The Whoop strap is a wearable performance monitor that measures your strain (workout intensity), recovery and sleep. Since my Sleep Number bed monitors my sleep, I am most interested in Whoop's ability to measure my recovery and strain.
I started wearing my Whoop strap on July 1st and within the first 3 days learned that I was not recovering from my workouts. I certainly was feeling this in my body and I was not at all surprised that the data correlated with my feelings.
It takes 7 days of data collection before you can access the Whoop coaching features. Until then, you just wear it all the time. You still get very interesting data within the first week, you just don't get analysis and suggestions. Here's my first week's strain and recovery.
As you can see my most intense workout was Saturday July 4 when I hiked up to Cottonwood Lake in the Crazy mountains and my worst recovery score was the next day. The hike was 10.5 miles and since it was the Fourth of July I enjoyed a few post-hike beers back at camp:) I have since learned about how alcohol and dehydration affect your HRV which impacts your recovery.
Monday I drank lots and lots of water and no beer and my recovery was the highest for the week.
Whoop calculates recovery using heart rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate and sleep. Before I started wearing my Whoop strap I knew very little about HRV. Now, I'm managing my recovery to maximize my HRV. As you can see in the image above HRV varies based upon age, gender, health and aerobic fitness. Since the first two variables are fixed, I'm focusing on health and aerobic fitness.
According to Whoop there are about 5 health factors that can influence your HRV. They are hydration, nutrition, sleep, limiting alcohol and stress management. Since my sleep is solid and my nutrition is on point (thanks to working with Coach Audy) I am focusing on hydration, which Whoop confirms is the number 1 way to improve recovery and HRV.
Being properly hydrated has many benefits, all of which I have blogged about, and the benefit that has the most significant impact on HRV is that hydration helps circulate oxygen to your working muscles. My heart is my most important working muscle and HRV tells me how efficiently it's working. According to Whoop I need to drink more water (and less post-hike beers.)
How much water should we drink? For many years I have followed the 1/3 to 1/2 your body weight in ounces. Now that I weigh 170 again (thanks Coach Audy) I should drink 51-85 ounces of water (or other hydrating liquids). That's a big range and according to Whoop it's not enough. This inadequacy is expressed both by my low HRV and by the thousands of data gathered by Whoop users. They have calculated the optimal hydration strategy for athletes (that's what we CrossFitters are) to be 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight. That means I need to drink 170 ounces of liquid every day! I have been barely getting half that amount!
In order to drink 170 ounces of water I need to down a little over 5 Nalgene bottles EVERY DAY! I better start drinking and staying close to a bathroom. I have not yet achieved 170 ounces in a day. I am making this a top priority and am looking forward to seeing HRV improve.
If you are interested in joining me on a Whoop journey, use my link to get your first month free. If you're already a Whoop user, join our True Spirit Whoop Group with the team code: COMM-AD6416. Stay tuned for my next Whoop! Wednesday post as I explore the strain score and how it relates to CrossFit workouts.
Monday I explored the appeal of a cleanse for a post-COVID reset and suggested that you might be able to make yourself feel better if you just drink enough water.
I know drinking water isn't as sexy as doing a cleanse. But, hey, I'm here to tell you the straight truth not try to sell you a nutrition system based on magic powders, pills, tinctures, and elixirs. We have an outstanding nutrition system just down the road, it's called Rocky Creek Farm.
Hydration is an often overlooked health practice that has numerous benefits. Being adequately hydrated can make your skin look great, help reduce joint pain, reduce hunger, and a whole mess of other good things. Check out the image below, click on it if you like, to learn all the benefits of staying adequately hydrated.
One of the reasons I suggest focusing on your hydration rather than wasting your money on a cleanse is because water does much of the functions most cleanses claim to do. Water has seven primary functions in our body:
That's right! Water does all of that on its own. You don't need to add anything to it for it to help your natural detoxification system do its job.
Recommendations vary on how much to drink. I like the 1/3-1/2 ounces based on body weight recommendation because it's tailored to each individual. For example if you weight 140lbs aim for 42-70 ounces of liquid every day. If you weight 180 lbs aim for 54-90 ounces daily. If you want to lose weight aim on the higher side.
The good thing is that you don't actually have to drink water to get the benefits of being hydrated. Contrary to popular belief unsweetened coffee and tea are not diuretic and actually contribute to your hydration. So does your post-WOD FitAid, Core Power, protein shake, and so do fruits and vegetables! If your preferred quaff contains carbohydrates, e.g. coconut water, beer, wine, scotch, the carbs impact your blood chemistry and don't have the same hydrating effect. It's ok to drink these beverages, but anything over 8 ounces doesn't count toward your overall hydration goal.
So the next time you're tempted to buy into that cleanse system, check yourself and save some money. Focus on drinking 1/3-1/2 your body weight in ounces of water for 2 weeks and see if you feel better. My money is on the dihydrogen monoxide!
Heather has a beautiful deadlift set-up.
Unless you're living under a rock, you are aware of the increased discussion about germs, viruses and communicable disease control preventive measures. Some of you have asked us what we do at the gym to help reduce disease transmission. We are doing what we always do to keep the gym clean and we wash our hands after every class (and so should you.)
We mop the floors with a disinfecting cleaner such as Simple Green and we vacuum in between classes as needed. We clean the bathrooms, including the showers, with a disinfecting cleaner.
We clean all of the barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells and the rig with Simple Green and/or Lysol wipes. We also wipe down doorknobs and light switches. You may recall that during Femme Fatale Week we had you wipe down your wall balls with Clorox wipes.
We provide Lysol and Clorox wipes for your use and you're welcome to use them after every class. If you sweat, snot or bleed on any of our equipment you are kindly asked to wipe up your mess. If you're so inclined, you're welcome to wipe down your equipment before and after you use it.
You can read about a study of bacteria on gym equipment here.
While we love seeing all of you high five each other at the end of class, if you're concerned about disease transmission you're encourage to knuckle or elbow bump your teammates instead.
If you are sick, please message your Coach and stay home. We Coaches have a bank of at home workouts and we are happy to program something for you until your sniffles stop. Just be aware that we do expect you to send us your results for these at-home workouts. You could even post your results to our private Facebook group. Why not start with Tabata Plank Walk-ups? It was yesterday's at home workout for our March into Spring Healthy Lifestyle challenge.
Remember, germs are all around you. The best defense is to wash your hands regularly and especially so after every class. We have very nice hand soap at all of our sinks, please use it.
We playing on the rings today!
I am not a big promoter of supplements and magic pills. This has cost me some business, and I'm totally good with that. I strongly believe in the power of our food, if we focus on eating meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar, to provide us with all of the micronutrients we need. However, there is one micronutrient that is difficult for us to obtain through our diet, not because we don't have access to eating the right foods, but rather that we don't get enough time in the sun. That micronutrient is Vitamin D.
Despite the importance of vitamin D, it’s estimated that anywhere from 30% to 80% of the U.S. population is vitamin D insufficient. For us Montanans, we make make absolutely ZERO vitamin D from the sunlight between November and March.
GUESS WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT TODAY? Today is March 4th, that means we are near enough the sun, at our latitude, that we can FINALLY get our Vitamin D from sun exposure! WOOOHOOOO! It's time to get outside people!
Because Vitamin D is one of the most common micronutrient inadequacies it's also one of the most studied. A nutrient inadequacy differs from a deficiency in that a deficiency causes a disease, in the case of Vitamin D a deficiency causes rickets and osteomalacia. Vitamin D inadequacy doesn't cause a disease, but neither does it promote optimal health.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble micronutrient that promotes calcium absorption, it also modulates cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function and reduces inflammation. Can you guess what might cause cell growth and inflammation, and requires neuromuscular function? You guessed it, high-intensity workouts and weight lifting. From March - November, spending more time in the sun, like going for a walk in the middle of your day, will not only give you enough sun exposure to generate Vitamin D, it will also help you recover from CrossFit.
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. UVB rays cannot penetrate through windows. So people who work next to sunny windows still need sun exposure to make Vitamin D.
Research suggests that midday is the best time for exposure since the sun is at its highest point and your body may manufacture it most efficiently around that time of day. Taking a 30 min walk with your face, hands and/or arms exposed three times per week during the spring is enough to produce Vitamin D. In the summer, the sun is closer and we wear less clothes (shorts and short sleeved shirts) and we can get adequate Vitamin D from shorter exposure times. Just 10-15 mins, three times a week, will make all the Vitamin D we need. If you're exposed longer, you can use sunscreen to protect your skin.
Let's celebrate spring by taking a walk at noon and harnessing solar power to make an essential micronutrient! You can expect that now that our parking lot is ice and snow free we will restart our post-workout cool-down walks. To your good health!
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