Hey everyone, I’ll be putting out a weekly series to highlight some of the trainers, boxers, runners, and other members of our community. This week’s feature is on none other than my mom! My mom is the founder and owner of Downtown Yoga Shala in San Jose, CA. She’s also one of the major influences in my life – we regularly like to geek out over health and wellness and share podcasts, books, training plans, etc.! In this interview, my mom and I discuss: -Our shared interest of podcasts, Mark Sisson, Zone Training, my status wearing a CGM (continuous glucose monitor), Self-Quantification -My mom’s… Read More »Community Spotlight: Veronica Cruz (Downtown Yoga Shala owner, and my mom!)
Everybody wants the latest hack for recovery. I realized how ridiculous it was that I was scheduling time for my Normatec recovery, ice baths, infrared sauna, etc., all while skipping out on the best aid in recovery – sleep. There were several things topics that I read about that influenced my prioritization of sleep:
Sleep and ghrelin/leptin: Ghrelin and Leptin are your hunger and satiety hormones, respectively. When lacking sleep, you get the combined effect of a ghrelin spike and leptin levels falling, leading to overeating.
Sleep and the glymphatic system: The glymphatic system is responsible for the clean-up of beta-amyloid plaques and toxins, and becomes highly active during sleep – particularly in the deep sleep phase. Another factor to consider here is glycation, or when toxins can bound to glucose and become “sticky” and, thus, harder to get rid of. As a former boxer who is concerned with the onset of CTE and Alzheimer’s, I abstain from sweets before bed and keep a close eye on my deep sleep levels for this reason.
Sleep (Deep Sleep) and growth hormone: Growth hormone levels also spike during the deep sleep phase of sleep and are necessary for a good night’s sleep.
Sleep (REM) and mental health: Lack of REM is often linked to depression and other mental health disorders.
Now that I’ve talked a little about the importance of sleep, I wanted to discuss a little about my protocol and the things that I look for in my sleep. I currently self-track my sleep using an Oura ring, and often point others to the Oura Ring Sleep Stages Guide as a great guide towards sleep information.
Tracking recovery – Heart Rate Variability (HRV): I ditched my Fitbit last year and switched over to an Oura Ring. While my Fitbit was a great tool to get me off the couch, I realized I need less motivation to get up and moving, and more incentive to rest and recover. Now, instead of being ultra-competitive with step challenges, I wake up looking for high recovery scores. The Oura (like the Apple Watch) tracks Heart Rate Variability, or the beat to beat variance in heart rate during sleep. This data provides a good view on your autonomic nervous system activity… Read More »HRV
Alcohol and training: We all know that alcohol impacts sleep/recovery, but it’s interesting to just see by how much! 🍺 This past Saturday, I went to a wedding and had a few drinks. On Sunday morning, my “recovery score” showed up at 45 (terrible), my resting heart rate shot up to 55 and my heart-rate variability was in the 20s. For perspective, my RHR stays between 38-42bpm and my HRV is normally 60-70. I’ve noticed my heart rate stays elevated 15-20bpm on nights that I drink, as it’s working “overtime” to compensate. 🏋️♂️ I wasn’t hung over on Sunday and… Read More »Alcohol and Training