Health, Healing & Performance With Heart Rate Variability

I started using Heart Rate Variability about 18 months ago at the direction of my chiropractor.  He has a unique way of thinking and has been my primary form of solutions towards relief over the last too many years that I have struggled with the strangest health issues.  So of course, I jumped right in when he introduced me to HRV. 

HRV is a measurement of health.  

Specifically, it is a measure of time between the R-R intervals of the QRS complex that make up a heartbeat.  

Practically, it is a measurement of stress that tells you that your heart/body is either in need of more rest and recovery or is capable of handling more stress, intensity, and has a greater work capacity. 

HRV can tell us when something is wrong in the body, it just doesn’t tell us what.  That’s where HRV Coaching can be highly effective at helping you figure out what your body is trying to alert you to pay specific attention to.  

Through HRV Coaching I take into account the following elements of your health to help you more specifically identify areas that need improvement and how you can take steps toward improving them:

  • Physical Health 
  • Diet & Nutrition 
  • Rest & Sleep 
  • Exercise & Movement 
  • Stressors & Lifestyle Factors 
  • Supplements

Using the Elite HRV app on my phone and the Polar H7 heart rate monitor chest strap, every morning within 30 minutes of waking up and before I eat or drink anything (except water), I lie down and take my HRV measurement for 2 1/2 minutes.  From this I will receive my HRV and “Morning Readiness” scores for the day.  

My Morning Readiness score will be between 1-10 and will be associated with a color.  

  • Green (means I CAN handle more stress today)
  • Yellow (means I CAN handle SOME stress today)
  • Red (means I CANNOT handle more stress today)

Keeping in mind that stress is not just mental stress.  It is any type of element that my mind and body conceive as stressful to my body and it’s ability to cope with it.  So a poor diet, not enough of the right macronutrient levels, lack of water or enough electrolytes, inflammation, structural stress such as text neck or other skeletal misalignments, dysfunctional breathing patterns, hormone imbalances and many other things can negatively impact my mind and body as stressors.  

With my daily info that I gather, I adjust my plan for the day to help support my HRV and readiness for the day.  My plans for my days will often change and need to be adjusted as I adhere to supporting my HRV better within the day.  

I have gained more awareness and understanding about my health and the effects that all of the elements of health have on it more so with using HRV than any other tool I have ever used.  It is without a doubt a huge reason that I have been able to make such great strides in my recovery from chronic illness and my continued journey to athletic performance and hopefully excellence!  

To help you understand how I use HRV in my day, I have listed below 14 consecutive HRV morning measurements (this is how many measurements I will need from you before we meet for a consultation if you decide to invest in HRV Coaching with me) and details as to how I adjusted my routine that specific day to support my health better.  

14. This reading was unusual as the previous day it was also elevated for no apparent reason.  The previous day before that was actually a rest day so I had to think hard about what I did differently to throw my system off.  It took me three days to figure out what was causing my low reading for several consecutive days in a row as you will find out below on the day I figured it out.  If I hadn’t taken my HRV I would have done a more strenuous workout today as I felt rested, recovered and ready to throw some weight around and jack my HR up like the crazy fitness chick that I am at heart, but alas, I am committed to the discipline of listening to my body needs vs. my mind’s desires until I am 100% healed, very high functioning and performing optimally. 

13.  This reading again was highly unusual and after 3 straight yellow days where they should have been green, I finally figured out what was causing the issue.  I had experimented the last 3 nights with Valor essential oil on my foot at bedtime.  If I hadn’t taken my HRV I would have done a more strenuous workout today as I felt rested, recovered and ready to train intensely but my HRV knew better and I followed its lead until I could figure out what was causing my fight or flight response and dropping my Morning Readiness level.   I did a mobility workout consisting of a closed chain floor workout full of primal and natural movements.  

12. This is an ideal reading for the day and I will do nothing specifically different today to support my HRV. 

11. This is an ideal reading for the day and I will do nothing specifically different today to support my HRV. 

10. While this reading was still green, I know my body and HRV patterns well enough by now that it is low enough for me to emphasize rest over more stress and intensity today.  So I incorporated walking and core strength training today and lots of breathwork/breathing exercises in short increments of time (1 minute, 3 minute, 5 minute). 

9. This reading comes after a late night and 2 alcoholic drinks.  I am tired from only 6 hours of sleep but feel okay otherwise.  I will stick  to my discipline and strongly emphasize rest today.  I will likely take a short 30 minute “adrenal nap” this afternoon and watch a few movies today lying down as this position is super supportive to my adrenals.  I will consume two adrenal smoothies today and take an additional dose of my electrolyte supplement to nourish and regenerate my cells better.  I will take a few short walks today and really emphasize breathwork during the walk.  Before I go out to walk I will do a short posture strengthening routine and a little dynamic warm-up routine to mobilize my joints and spur circulation.  Finally, I will do a little rebounding during commercial breaks to stimulate my body’s detoxification ability and boost circulation.   

8. This is an ideal reading for the day and I will do nothing specifically different today to support my HRV. 

7. I had terrible breathing problems yesterday due to an unidentified issue I have had for over 13 years. Yes, I have been to tons of health practitioners and experienced lots of tests with still no answer.  On a bad day of breathing difficulty like this, my HRV always suffers as it puts a tremendous burden on my body and increases my sympathetic (fight or flight) stress response.  

I couldn’t reset my breathing ability well at any point throughout the day so my stress levels skyrocketed and of course this number shows up this AM.  My nervous system is stuck in fight or flight mode so I will take an Epsom salt bath today, take in 1-2 adrenal smoothies, increase my Mg, Vitamin C and electrolyte supplements as well.  I will take a few short walks, do a lot of breath work today, spend time with my Headspace app and fortunately I have a massage therapy session already scheduled (yay!).  Rest and relaxation mode for sure today. 

6. I was still struggling with breathing problems yesterday but not as bad.  And because I did work on recovering so well yesterday my score actually improved like it should.  So today I will emphasize breathwork/breathing exercises, walking, spurts of rebounding on my mini-trampoline, floor mobility work, light weight training and a little core work.  I will hit the bed early tonight and get in my adrenal smoothie as well. 

5. Woo hoo!  I’m back in action today and ready to push myself more.  This is an ideal reading for the day and I will do nothing specifically different today to support my HRV. 

4. This is an ideal reading for the day and I will do nothing specifically different today to support my HRV. 

3. This is an ideal reading for the day and I will do nothing specifically different today to support my HRV. 

2. I scored lower today as I had 3 alcoholic drinks the day before.  I am less sensitive to alcohol than I have been in the last 5 years but still more sensitive to it than I would like to be.  Measuring my HRV has helped me identify that on a more specific level just how profoundly a little (or a lot of alcohol) affects me.  I felt well today (no hangover) and slept well but I know alcohol is tough on my body (I don’t naturally detoxify well) which is why I have a yellow readiness level today.  So today I will exercise with half of the volume of the workout I originally planned for, in this case 2 sets instead of 4 with 60 sec between exercises to recover instead of 30 sec.  Hopefully this will be enough to bump my HRV back up tomorrow.


1. This is an ideal reading for the day and I will do nothing more specific today to support my HRV. 
Let me know your experience with HRV!  It can be a great tool for anyone looking to better their health! 

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