BIOLOGICAL RHYTHMS & HEALTH

MARCH 19, 2015 // AARON DAVIS

I write a lot on performance — and make no mistake, it’s what drives my learning and coaching.

But to understand performance I have found it better to understand health.

Health is the foundation that performance is built on. Regardless of what the general fitness gurus say, performance first is not a foolproof approach to health.

Our ‘health first’ approach means every one of our clients regardless of age (13-53 years) are continually being assessed structurally (Joint by Joint orthopedic assessments and daily movement screens) and in readiness (via the Omegawave).

Make no mistake about it… when it comes to the daily results of the assessments it’s either black or white in our approach. We don’t operate in the gray and say ‘lets kick the shit out of them and send up a prayer’ – that’s not what we do.

From a health perspective we use multiple assessments to build a baseline. This includes full Omegawave tests every time we see our clients for the first 2-3 months. If we see unfavorable trends we begin chipping away.

Let me pause here — if you feel Omegawave results are solely based on outcomes from  “Sets x Reps” protocols stop reading and find your way back to T-Nation.

We believe the utilization of the Omegawave is so much more than that. Realizing the brain is first to process all inputs only makes the long test much more valuable when assessing health (CNS, GEC, Detox, and Hormonal).

Just to be clear — we refer out on all matters of the heart. Though I haven’t found a cardiologist yet in Austin that views dysfunction in adaptation as being important.  Many of them end the evaluation saying “I don’t see what the problem is?” — Lets say our search for a forward thinking cardiologist in our network is still at large.

What we can improve is individualizing nutrition, exercise, and supplementation — but this is always second to improvements in stress management, breathing dysfunction, and movement.

In my mind — all efforts are made to regulate or keep an individual’s natural biological rhythm in place. These rhythms dictate metabolism, behavior, development, and health.

 

Biological Rhythms

As coaches we appreciate the most common biological rhythm — an athlete’s heart beat. We can gain insight via HRV, resting heart rate, or pulse during training.

But why stop there?

Could we not glean information from natural rhythms of body temperature, blood glucose, and cortisol?

We believe so.

Thats why I believe the flow of these natural rhythms are essential to health.

Example: experiencing jet lag is small disruption to our biological rhythms. Of course we can adapt and resynchronize from such a disturbance but if an overabundance of daily stress or a traumatic event disturbs the natural rhythms to a point where chronic alterations are made, deterioration of health is soon to follow.

One of the chronic symptoms of such alterations is disturbances in the sleep/wake cycle; bouts of insomnia, restless or erratic sleep are all symptoms.

I am sure to some level we all understand the importance of sleep but it wasn’t until I began my studies in immunology did I realize how closely connected our sleep was to our immune system.

In fact, sleep sets the rhythm of our immune system (starts the cycle from humoral immunity “antibody production”  to cell-mediated immunity “white blood cells”).

Without normal sleeping patterns our immune system’s rhythm becomes out of sync, suppressed, and unable to fight off attacks adequately.

If health is our objective then it should drive our decision making.

If an Owl-Type (Late to Bed – Late to Rise) is working out at 5:30am in the morning before work and is struggling with sleep, is that a smart decision? What’s more important sleep or a workout?

I vote sleep and search for other ways to be active throughout the day.

We have tested new clients in the morning after less than optimal sleep. Below is an example of a 6:00am CNS Test by a female (optimal ranges are 0-20 mV).

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Do you really want to layer a new skill, strength training, or high intensity exercise on top of this?

It’s not always about the plan. The Plan. Periodization!  You can’t build performance on broken rhythms.

Start with health.