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Testing through training – How tracking my heart rate at rest made all the difference

Testing through training –
How tracking my heart rate at rest made all the difference 

By Pascal Fortier Poisson

When we began testing our product features by working out, I was surprised by how incredibly hard I found the endeavor to be. I had a beer belly; I was very stressed out; I hadn’t really given much thought to how out of shape I was. To make matters worse, our exercise protocols were not easy. You can’t cheat or miss a rep as it would affect the efficiency and efficacy of our tests. At this point in time we concentrated on getting the two most important metrics right – your heart rate and your breathing –  testing all the features we’d derive from those two metrics was still ahead. 

After we’d been exercising for product testing for several months, though I had noticed an improvement in my recovery time after exercising I had not lost any weight. The truth was I still had very little idea just what sort of changes were occurring in my body, and as result had trouble recording or measuring any improvements whatsoever.

Things only took a turn for the better when it was decided we’d be tracking our heart rate at rest (for those who aren’t aware we call this heart rate at rest because you’re measuring your pulse while literally not doing much of anything). The more physically active you are, the lower your heart rate at rest will be (this is good). On the other hand, a higher resting rate is often related to doing very little physical activity, high levels of stress and your risk of gaining weight go up (not so good).

After using our new feature for only two weeks, I was flabbergasted by what I saw. My heart rate at rest kept going down even though I’d only been working out 2 to 4 hours a week. Granted I didn’t notice it right away, your resting heart rate doesn’t change on a day-to-day basis but I certainly didn’t expect to see a difference in such a short span of time. This proved to us that your heart rate at rest is actually one of the first things to change, even when you make the smallest lifestyle changes. 

Everyone knows they need eat right, smoke,less/quit and exercise regularly, but we don’t. The ramifications of our actions aren’t immediately seen or felt. I myself underestimated the power of having my own biometrics so easily accessible to me only through testing our shirts

Just tracking one simple metric, my heart rate at rest, made me a lot more sensitive about my lifestyle habits. I gradually lost quite a bit of weight and gained muscle mass – in fact I went from being a size 36/37 to size 34 pants.  

The weight loss was not instant, in fact it was quite gradual, but I knew it was coming before I could see it on the scale because my heart rate at rest kept getting lower. It’s easy for me to believe that had I been exercising in different circumstances, chances are I would have given up on my fitness plans.  Without any insight about my vitals I would likely have been discouraged by the fact that I hadn’t lost any weight when the truth was that many changes had been happening, unbeknownst to me, inside my body. To have access to this type of insight every single day of your life is something I would dare say is revolutionary. To have experienced the benefits of our technology in such a personal and fruitful way was a great reminder of why I embarked on this journey to begin with.  

Pascal Fortier Poisson, Ph.D.

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