B!RTHF!T + WHOOP
BIRTHFIT has recently partnered with WHOOP to optimize training performance and recovery for our clients. WHOOP is a wearable performance tracking band that measures strain, sleep, respiratory rate, and heart rate variability.
Currently, there is little data on strength and conditioning training for women, and even less on pregnancy and postpartum training. We hope that this is the start of some much-needed data and information to share with the rest of the world.
Prior to WHOOP, BIRTHFIT prioritized SENSATIONS & FEELINGS over the absolute numbers. We have encouraged YOU to take responsibility for your training by listening to your body and being mindful of your Rate of Perceived Exertion by utilizing the Borg Scale. Tuning into your body is critically important to building trust in your physical body and knowing when something feels off or good, unstable, or strong in your body. Without a doubt, the trust built throughout training transfers into other areas of your life, including birth and parenting. Read our previous blog on monitoring.
We’d like to evolve our monitoring system and introduce the WHOOP.
The WHOOP strain score is an objective and consistent measure of cardiovascular strain that gives the athlete and/or their coach insight into physiological stressors during training based on unique, individualized factors. WHOOP sheds light on an athlete’s sleep, respiration, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and recovery, and makes strain recommendations based on the collected data. This helps to mitigate overtraining and the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, which are two things that no one has time for during the motherhood transition.
Gunnar A.V. Borg created the Borg Scale of Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) in 1970. The scale is based on the average heart rates of individuals 30-50 years old. Even then, he mentioned that it was subjective, and many factors would influence the person’s heart rate, including stress, sleep, nutrition, etc. Therefore, many coaches from all over the world have continued to use the scale to enhance their knowledge of their athletes by learning about them directly through these subjective lenses.
The WHOOP strain score builds on the Borg Scale and Borg’s work. WHOOP collects data based on individual physiology. Think about it. Three people show up to do the same workout. One shows up to train while she is ovulating and glowing. One shows up 22 weeks pregnant with a new burst of energy. And, the other shows up sleep deprived at 5 months postpartum. These three individuals are at different seasons of their lives. Their sleep, heart rate, and respiration are all going to vary; therefore, what the 5 month postpartum individual perceives as a high strain day may be more of an active recovery day for the individual that is ovulating and at the peak energy level of her cycle. WHOOP collects unique data for each individual and then makes strain recommendations. Bonus: After a training session, you (the individual wearing the WHOOP) will enter your thoughts on your rate of perceived exertion and the quality of your performance.
One of the biggest reasons that we love WHOOP is because of HEART RATE VARIABILITY (HRV). More research (Check the WHOOP Locker) is coming out that shows the higher the heart rate variability, the healthier the human. This is because your heart rate displays adaptability and resilience. Your heart rate can increase when needed and then downregulate efficiently to go back to that recovery and restoration state. In our opinion, HRV is a great indicator of overall health and wellness.
Within our prenatal and postpartum online programs, we will mention suggested strain and/or intensity for a particular section or day. This is based on our coaching education and experience over the past decade of working with athletes of all types and levels in the motherhood transition. Inside of our programming, you’ll also see options for how to approach a training day based on your recovery, breath work (such as nasal breathing only, breath holds, or extended exhales with breath holds), and active recovery day recommendations (such as flowing through the BIRTHFIT Basics for 20 minutes). Strain, sleep, nutrition, hydration, and respiratory rate all influence the potential of a particular day’s training session. Some days the best way to optimize training is to focus on nasal breathing for a long walk if you are not adequately recovered. Other days it’s okay to give ourselves permission to push it during interval training.
The WHOOP is another tool to tune into how YOU ARE FEELING and discover some big influencers on your training, recovery, and overall wellness. By utilizing WHOOP in combination with our BIRTHFIT philosophy and our style of programming, we are able to still encourage ownership of your training AND get more specific with your individual needs and training goals.
You’ll be seeing a lot more of WHOOP within BIRTHFIT. Be sure to get your band HERE and receive $30 off your first month. Looking forward to seeing y’all in the B! Community group on WHOOP.
Lindsey Mathews, BIRTHFIT CEO & Founder@BIRTHFIT @Lindsey_K_Mathews
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Online Programs: https://birthfit.com/programs/online/