ithlete HRV Measurement


ithlete is a heart rate monitoring device that tells you when you can train hard, or when you should rest – allowing you to be the best that you can be by avoiding over-training, illness and reducing your chances of injury.




We have been testing ithlete using a heart rate monitor chest strap, which talks to a phone based app, for a while and we will have a full review shortly, but we are so excited by it, we thought we would give you the heads up now.


First off, let’s just be clear, you do not need to be an elite athlete to benefit from this technology.

Anyone who wants to balance their health and fitness will quickly understand and feel the benefits and we really like that it takes the guesswork out of our decisions about whether to train or rest – If nothing else, you know that if ithlete tellyou to rest you can do so with no guilt, or feelings that you are being lazy, and that makes the down time all the more enjoyable!


It is easy to feel we are getting faster and stronger when we put in the miles or push through a tough interval session on the turbo, but training is a tale of two halves and for the real benefits to be reaped, there must be recovery. Recovery isn't just about feeling less tired (mentally and physically), it's primarily about allowing the body to overcompensate from the stress you've put on it, so it's ready for the next time you ask it to work hard and it is actually this cycle of stress, followed by super-compensation during recovery, that makes us stronger.


The principle is easy enough to grasp, but knowing when and how much the body needs to recover is quite frankly where we can all do with some help.  Typically most training programmes allow for one rest day a week, but it is the longer periods of recovery – typically a full “adaptation” or recovery week – that really allows the body to make the most of the training and our needs for this type of rest are intensely personal.


Given the crazy lives we lead, it is no surprise that we can quite easily become over-trained and not necessarily just from an athletic training load – work stress, travel and poor eating habits or sleep can all contribute.  The symptoms of over-training can creep up on us and may show as suffering from recurrent colds or sore throats, feeling tired the whole time and or having difficulty sleeping.  In the early stages, it may simply be that despite following a structured training programme, an over-trained individual may find that they are just not getting faster or stronger.  


Of course the objective is to avoid ever becoming over-trained, because the effects can last for weeks or even months, but how does an individual know what is right for them?  And of course, under-training, getting too much rest, will also keep us from being our best – the challenge is finding just the right balance and it is a very delicate balancebut one that can be better understood by measuring your Heart Rate Variability (HRV).


HRV is a measure of the time gaps between your heart beats, which vary as you breathe in and out.  Research has shown that a high HRV is evidence of good health and a high level of fitness.  In fact it is such a critical measure of health that HRV is used to predict the 24 hour survival rate of heart attack patients (original research).


HRV effectively measures how stressed or fatigued the body really is, but until recently it was too expensive and complicated to measure it accurately and so it remained the preserve of elite athletes and medical staff.


The ithlete HRV system gives an accurate measure, that is easy to interpret and at an affordable price.  A simple, one minute measurement of HRV each morning can help anyone to better understand their stress levels and so enjoy better health.  


Learning about how our bodies deal with stress and adapting our training plans and life style to allow for recovery has been something of a journey of discovery.  If necessary, we have adjusted our training intensity in line with the advice from the ithlete app and we are really impressed by the results.  We will be telling you more about it shortly, but for now we love that we feel good when we train hard and even better when we rest properly, knowing that it is doing us so much good!


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