Category Archives: body
After reading about importance of maintaining body’s pH balance, I embarked on a self-tracking experiment in January, with the objective to see how often my pH balance changes on a daily basis and whether my diet has any effect on it. To do so, I measured my PH every morning and evening using litmus testing strips (I used Phinex diagnostic pH test strips). The strips proved to be a convenient and reliable way to track pH level on a daily basis, but I did not learn much from tracking it.
I continue crunching my January data, and in today’s post, will discuss a simple heart rate test that I have been performing last month every morning in order to evaluate its predictive power. It’s called orthostatic test, and it is widely used by athletes to assess their physical condition after the training. All you need is a stopwatch or a heart rate measuring app (I personally used Azumio’s Instant Heart Rate app). Here is how you perform the test. The moment you wake up, try to stay still in bed and take your pulse measurement. That would be your resting heart rate (RHR). Then get out of bed and after standing for approximately 15-30 seconds without making any sudden movements, measure your standing heart rate (SHR). Now calculate the orthostatic heart rate (OHR): OHR = SHR – RHR. If you track your OHR for several weeks, you will notice that most of the times its values stay around the same, but occasionally will go higher. Those “spikes” in OHR happen the night after you overtrain at the gym, or if you don’t get a good night rest, get sick or because of some other disturbance in your autonomic nervous system. My theory was that since OHR measures the “recovery” of the body, perhaps, by looking at OHR in the morning, I would be able to predict how I will feel later that day. My self-tracking data partially confirmed that hypothesis: the morning OHR numbers can predict physical and mental performance later in the day.
On his Insomnia blog, famous Sleep Doctor Michael Breus describes simple method that you can use to “hack” your sleep cycles and find the optimal time to go to bed. According to this method, you change your bedtime every 3-4 days in 15-minutes increments, until you can wake up without alarm most of the time. This January, I put together a little self-experiment, with the objective to test this method, and hopefully, find my perfect bedtime. Between January 7th and February 1st, I was going to bed at 11:00, 11:15, 11:30 and 11:45 (5 consecutive nights for each time slot), and waking up at 7 am every morning. At the same time, I was using Zeo, my rTracker log, and a couple of apps to track my sleep and some other data. While results of my experiment were not exactly perfect, I believe it still helped me to identify my optimal bedtime slot.
This year I decided to “outsource” my gym workout, and instead of experimenting with various workout routines from fitness magazines and blogs, joined my gym’s “Total Body Conditioning” classes. The classes are completely free and are held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 12:30 p.m. and 1:15 pm. Each class is led by a different trainer, and as a result, the routines and pace of the workout considerably vary across the days. For example, on Wednesdays, the focus is more on weights and core training, whereas on Mondays and Fridays it is mostly plyometrics and cardio. Curious to see if classes differ in terms of efficiency, I turned to Bodymedia and my own self-tracking data. Which class burns more calories and brings me closer to my six pack abs? The answer was just a couple of calculations away.
As I mentioned in my previous post, starting this month my diet tracking efforts are focusing more on nutrient qualities of food, eating habits, and effects of diet on body and mind. One of such effects is food sensitivity, a non-allergic instances when your body negatively reacts to specific foods or ingredients (don’t confuse with food intolerance). Such negative reactions may manifest themselves in physiological or psychological symptoms, including fatigue, bloating and gas, nervousness, changes in mood, acid reflux, and migraines. Often, we attribute these symptoms to our busy lifestyles, stress, and health conditions, not knowing that they could be easily eliminated by simply changing our diet. In this post, I will share my experiences with SweetBeat app and its awesome food sensitivity detection feature. To my knowledge, it is the first app that lets you test your body’s reaction to meals and isolate potentially harmful foods.
If you downloaded my September data (you can do it here, absolutely free!), you probably noticed that the research agenda behind data collection that month was focusing primarily on diet, exercising (#fitsperiment!), and sleep. I finally found time to look closer at some of that data, and in this post, will share some interesting results of my sleep data analysis.
My #fitsperiment challenge update:
Current stats (end of week 4):
Body Fat = 9.5% (Target = 8%)
FlexiScore = 100 (Target = 100)
Days Left = 0
And this concludes my #fitsperiment challenge! About a month ago, I challenged myself to:
My #fitsperiment challenge update:
Current stats (end of week 3):
Body Fat = 10.5% (Target = 8%)
FlexiScore = 95 (Target = 100)
Days Left = 7
A couple of months ago bioanalytics company Inside Tracker tweeted a nice one-time discount on their services, so I jumped at this opportunity and purchased their DIY plan. The cheapest of all (after discount, I paid $34.30 instead of regular $49), DIY plan allows you to upload your blood test results to receive personalized nutrition, lifestyle and exercise recommendations. I finally got a chance to test drive their services, and will share my personal experiences in this post.
It so happened that earlier this year I had to turn to a new doctor for a regular medical check-up. While taking my vitals and running other regular diagnostics, he mentioned, in a matter-of-fact tone, that I am developing a male baldness pattern. Terrified, I asked if there is anything could be done to stop it, and he enthusiastically prescribed me propecia. Only after forking over 90 dollars for a 30-days supply at the nearby pharmacy (this medication is not covered by insurance), I realized that he probably “pushed” it on me in order to make some money. After the first month of dutifully popping 3 dollar pills on a daily basis, I switched to generic propecia from Canada (about 45 dollars per month supply, including shipping), then started taking pills every second day, and about a month ago, stopped taking propecia at all. The reason was simple: I was not sure if I am losing hair at all. How would you even measure hair loss?
Update: I have been using two shampoos to stimulate hair growth: Caffeine Hair Growth Stimulating Shampoo , alternating it with Hair Loss Argan Oil shampoo and the results so far have been amazing. Before I started using these shampoos, I have been losing on average about 60-75 hairs daily; after starting this shampoo regimen, I am now within the acceptable 30-45 hairs a day range. I started seeing this change after a month of using both shampoos. Naturally, I plan to run separate tests to see if any of these two shampoos is contributing more to the results, or whether they work together as a combination – so stay tuned for more experiments!