Guest: Jeff Hunt of Restwise
Jeff welcome, this is dave jeff is the head guy at rest wise and I had jeff on my podcast a long time ago about last year and invited him here to be with us today to talk about overtraining because jeff, maybe you're probably the master of measuring over training right now can you give us a little bit of your background as an athlete as a cyclist and what brought you into looking at over training even though you're a competitive guy like like how did you get there? Sure it actually the story of it goes back quite a while I was competitive cyclist at the highest level is my amateur in the late eighties and part of what I did then was go through the program of the olympic training center and during that I was working out four times a day with a two hour recovery day on sunday it was kind of the only thing that was built into the week for us for recovery, and by the end of a few weeks there I ended up digging myself into it into a hole that literally took me months to get out of here just...
done too much, my body couldn't absorb it, everything was thrown out of balance and it took a really long time before I was competing at they are performing the level that I was out before they started all that training so fast forward twenty plus years and one of my classmates from high school and I have been in touch since we were the only two endurance outfits and come out of our class and we're just compared notes along the way about our experiences, and he'd also going through something similar where he over trained to the point where he was out of commission for months and as a coach he's a coach of ah world champion cyclist the thing that he struggled with most was trying to figure out how his athlete was holding up to the demands of the program that he put her under and, you know, something that's pretty easy to predict when somebody's living kind of a life saw that's ideally catered towards performance every getting massages every day and sleeping nine hours a day and eating well all those things. But when you're dealing with people who are dealing with real life stresses and trying to balance exercise whether it's competing as an elite athlete or exercise just to get the most out of the time that you spend training and trying to balance that with all the stresses of having a family and raising kids and having a job travel all those other things, we realized that it would be really helpful if we could somehow wanted teo quantify that for people, so that was kind of background that got us to creating restaurants what are the data points that you gather and rest wise? And I want to make sure the preface that question with our audience has definitely some cross fitters we have some high level athletes but there's a lot of people who are watching from home interested in sort of how do I be better at whatever amount of exercise I get now? How do I know if you have too much so answer the question both for the high performance athletes as well as the rest of us. So sure so that's been a real revelation for us? We started this as endurance athletes who have competed in a very high level, but as we got more and more into it what we discovered was that the now the same chemical and whore process that you go through when you start over training is essentially the same thing that happens to you when you're just overstressed in general. So you have your reaction to stress is the body produces adrenaline and cortisol and eventually if you have some downtime nobody's able to adjust and get that back into balance and the same thing that happens when somebody's training too much as they end up with an imbalance essentially cortisol but of course it's all relative to other hormones like testosterone um so what russ wise does its we're measuring ten things which have all been studied very carefully individually, and we put them all into one system so that it would give a more global picture and more accurate picture of what your overall recovery state wass, which again is equally relevant, whether you're stressing yourself solely through exercise or if you're stressing yourself by balancing exercise without busy life schedule. So the things that we're trying, our heart rate and just a quick correction. I heard some talk about heart rate variability before I came on, and that's actually not something that we currently incorporate into into the product, although we're talking to a partner about making it one of the additional variable that we have that we do try but so we track heart rate meeting just your heart rate in the morning to see whether or not it's elevated um, how much he slept, how well your weight onda siri's of more subjective questions that are you very kind of qualitative but have also been stoned shown toe strongly correlate with more quantitative signs of overtraining, so energy level, mood state subjectively, how did your training go yesterday? Were you already kind of showing some size that you couldn't keep up with a program where you go is intrude have appetite? Um, you're in shape is an indication of dehydration and then any presence of on illness that might be compromising your your ability than recover. And then the one thing I haven't touched on is one that you mentioned, which is oxygen saturation, which is an optional field that we do we track and if you enter it, if it turns out that it's out of the normal range which is unusual, then on when it starts to affect your score but for most people, that doesn't actually plan to be overall score unless they're acclimatising to a higher altitude. Jeff v that is totally bio hacker thinking yesterday we had dr terry walls who recovered from progressive mitochondria illness using a nutritional approach, and one of the things you said that was most interesting was that how you feel is most important and what you've done that's particularly cool is you've gone through and said, what are all the ways your body is going to tell you that you're overtrained that you probably don't know about and wouldn't notice unless you had a questionnaire and that's kind of profound? Is there anyone else who does stuff like this or you sort of breaking a new field where like, how am I doing today becomes more quantifiable now it's interesting that people have been looking at this sports scientists looked at this for years and you know and there's some that have taken complex sets of questions and distill it down to just that one question to give a reasonable indication of how someone's doing but it's great to hear you say that because you pushed back we get sometimes with breast wise is that it's not purely quantitative and particularly all these devices come out. You purport to be able to give you a really accurate picture just by measuring one thing or by things that are purely quantitative, you know, the mind is a very complex organism, and it has a good feedback mechanism that we don't fully understand. But what we do know is that questions like your perception of your own energy level or, you know, they say more generally how you feel are pretty good indications of what's going on in there. You know what, the hormonal and molecular level. So get your question no there's ah, we really are the only ones who who put this together. There are people who have done this as coaches individually with their with their athletes, but it's generally been, you know, asking the series of questions, then sort of trying to make sense of it. The real power of rest wise, does it taste that information and looks at each of the questions individually and based on the science and research that's been done into each of those questions, figures out how to analyze the answer that question and more importantly, how to incorporate it into the overall weight of the algorithm and then it pulls it all together, analyze and distills it down to a single number on a one to one hundred scale so that you were coaching very quickly. Get the bottom line feedback we need do you have people who aren't endurance athletes, activity's in the platform? Uh, busy business people, soccer moms? Or is this pretty much hardcore trainers right now? Well, so it's, really interesting is gone from we conceive of the product for ourselves, you know, my code under matthew and I are both endurance athletes and who performed at a high level are scientists quickly, said it's, not just athletes, it's it's I mean, such as endurance outfits, it's, any athlete and that has since expanded, too. You know, it's not just, uh, athletes who were focused on athletics, it's it's people who are just under stress in general, so no, we definitely we've got two branches that we're taking the product to two different directions. One is towards executives who are just under a lot of stress and trying to manage that stress. So we did a pilot program without it started about a year ago through a group called the energy lab, where they were working with executives who are under stress and tryingto kind he's rest wise justices indication of how much they should exercise not to get the most out of you know, not to achieve maximum fitness, but just teo really get the most benefit from the limited amount of time they haven't and benefit being stress reduction and overall sort of physical fitness, not so much performance, so that's one group and that it turned out to be incredibly useful not just from the feedback but also as you had mentioned from the process of just going through and saying, you know, being aware what your stress level is being aware that your mood is worse than it normally is. And so it was useful not just trying to make adjustments, that there are lifestyle, but also and even how they got through the day. If we're going to work, you know, that you know, that you've admitted to yourself that your work mood is worse than normal, we've had people tell us that it makes them think a little bit differently about how they interact with colonies, mother, while there were so that's that's one direction, the other really interesting thing that we've kind of stumbled into is is use of rest wise for people who are recovering from some sort of medical compromise, and initially the way this came to us is we had a tri athlete who had undergone various treatments for cancer you'd actually the syriza to two different treatments involve both surgery and chemotherapy and for about a year after that, he wasn't able to figure out how we should train in this post cancer life that he was living, so it came to rest wise, rest wise gave him the feedback he needed to adjust his programs to something that was appropriate for somebody who khun through that his body had been compromised in such profound way, and he got incredibly good results from that and threw that we, uh we were inspired to do a program a research project through with on conjunction with live strong in the y m c a, where we studied two groups that we're going through an exercise program, one of which was doing the exercise only and the other was doing the exercise with breast wise as a guide, and the results are actually very compelling, and we're just presented last week of the physical rehabilitation medicine conference in las vegas. Um, so, you know, we've as we've expanded our fairly narrow notion of rest wise, being for endurance athletes has really gone beyond just, you know, even just the pure athletic world. How often do you tell an executive toe workout less? Uh, I would say that way we less often tell them to work out less, then tell them when to work out or when to work out hard, now you'd be more likely using rest wise, tio to conclude that yes, workout would be great, but you know they're going to be all sorts of benefits of going to the gym and maybe doing the light jog for twenty minutes or just lifting weights and from a stress reduction perspective that almost always be beneficial if it's at the right intensity. So we're much more likely teo guide somebody to doing less intense exercise than just say, overall, you're doing too much. But that said, we have a lot of people who were try athletes who are trying to balance training for three different sports and performance with being high level executives as well, and probably the best known case study of that was somebody named sammy in command who is running on an online real estate firm. With that, I think about one hundred employees and managed to go to the hawaii ironman world championships and finish the race in under nine hours, which is almost heard of for an amateur while training only ten hours a week. So in his case he was already training a lot and what restaurants got him to do is train less, mostly because he has such a busy schedule that we had to make the most of the limited time that we had it's interesting because I was hoping when we first talked it must have been almost two years ago that you would go in the executive direction because when I work with clients, especially triathletes or endurance athletes like like marathon runners, I'll ask them to get their quarters all levels drawn, and they're usually ceo's or some kind of high end, very busy type executive, and the cortisol levels are always high and sleep quality is usually low because the court is also high, so then I'll play around not a scientifically as you guys are, but like, okay, how many times you doing intense workouts first on intense workouts, and for a lot of them it's I do heavy three times a week instead of every day. And how do you quantify whether someone should dio heavy like if you don't feel good today, you're tired? Do a light workout if you feel good today, like, what are the biggest three data points that would jump out at you if you were working with someone like that? People listening could take home and say, if I feel like this, maybe I ought to take it easy on myself today. Yeah, I mean, will you describe to something which is quite common, which is the negative, the vicious cycle they get into with, uh, with being overstressed and then not sleeping enough because you're over stress, and then, you know, you're not preparing herself the way it should be a night, so you're more vulnerable that you're more stressed and you're more vulnerable because of the lack of sleep so I would say of the things we tracked sleep is the number one most important thing um second call was probably the most important monday the things they're simply heart rate that's something that's been used throughout throughout the years is a sign that your body is just not in imbalance is you've got no heart rate that's more than you say five or ten percent above your body you know, on dh then a man gets the last is really just the power of what you've alluded to twice now which is which is just taking a moment pausing and whether it's filling out a questionnaire like ours or just being introspective for thirty seconds and really asking yourself you know, do I feel like I want to do this work outta my excited about it? Do I have energy to do it or is it something that I'm dragging myself through because if it is if you try to put yourself through something intense you know you may do actually really well the first day but if you keep that attitude then that's gonna catch up with you quite quickly and how would that manifest? How did that manifest when it catches up with you kind of a prolonged period of lethargy, dis interests and worse ability to sleep compromise ability to focus and concentrate I'm all of those air signs are the same signs that you guess get from excessive stress. Do teo, just your life saw that also through training. If someone was to go through a few things on the w h o list of major stressors like a divorce, death in the family, a major move, that sort of thing? No. Do you think that your test is likely to come up with similar levels of stress measurements as someone who's athletically overtrained like, would you expect there to be a big correlation there? Well, so we've no, that was the first question we wanted to answer when we develop the promise. So the first thing we did it, we did a partnership with uk sport, which is the science body that supports all of the british olympic athletes. And they did a study with two of their different groups, one of which was comparing rest. Why score to a testosterone cortisol ratio? And based on the results they ended up using just rest wise and not doing the invasive tests because there was a strong enough correlation. So that's no that's testosterone court assault. But the bigger variable and that is thie is cortisol, and so, oh, I was quite confident that it does reflect changes in cortisol level so there was a major life stress like that it would definitely show up in rest wise I think the question is if you went through something like that and it created stress there was prolonged from for more than say you know a few weeks then rest rises calibrates everything against your norm so if you allowed yourself even address the root cause of the stress and make some behavioral modifications and you just got to the point where he had accepted that level of stress is part of your life you know that our questions that are geared towards whether your normal below normal above normal I would I would you know it started yield a normal answer and then your your score would kind of recalibrate higher because of that so the key to use arrest was effectively is to take the information and do something with it to the extent that that's within your control what are the top three things people should do besides modulate the intensity of their workout that they might learn from from looking at rest wise is figuring out that their cells levels were high what other things do you suggest? Well, you know the way some people use rest wise is to experiment with the other things that we know are really important with respect to recovery and well being so rest wise would be helpful if you're experimenting with different different diets if you are changing a training plan tto you know, switch of balance from my you know, no one activity to another see how much that's compromising I compromising your body? Um you know, those air are against sleep, you get to circle back to that. You may use that as a rest wise too. I expect you're experimenting with different times. We're going to sleep or, uh, different foods might be eating that might affect your sleep. Arrest wise is a good way to quantify and track what what the net result is of those various changes that you're making in lifestyle overall. Jeff, thanks a ton for coming in. I know that you're on vacation right now, so thanks for taking a bit of time to talk with us about stress and how it affects athletes and the rest of us. I really appreciate it. Would you please tell the listeners where they can learn more about what you guys were doing? Sure, our own website is rest wise dot com and you know anyone who's interested enough to want to start tracking their own information. We offer a free trial, so feel free to jump onboard, is it for a month and then decide whether or not it's something that did you want to continue with paper? Thanks, jeff, have a great rest of your vacation e