How can we measure response to training if you have read the science behind the latest gimmicks of genotype testing and feel it is not yet ready to meet the claims and if blood, and saliva tests are too expensive, as you understand the need for these to be daily or weekly monitoring tools and outside professional sport these are usually way too expensive and invasive or based on assumption or faulty pseudoscience?
There are a few great apps available to track training programs – if it is just in the weight room work I love the app Strong, and one we use regularly is the Perform app which allows a combination of training load and exercise selection, finally for more endurance athletes Training Peak’s is one website based system I would recommend.
The simplest way of getting a feel of your response to training load changes is by tracking day a to day mood, energy, sleep quality and stress– we can do this using a POMS ( Profile of Mood states) type questionnaire or more simply by an app based system such Inflow These are not perfect but allow you to offload on days where your overall stress is high – this can help avoid putting that homeostasis under too much load.
Nutrition and monitoring of your overall intake and macro breakdown is of great importance and an underestimation of intake is common in many of the athletes I look after with either training overload or unexplained underperformance – I don’t go past the Excellent MyFitnessPal for a great easy way of getting an accurate picture.
Measuring sleep quality is now possible with some degree of control and can allow you to adjust your training load in response to increased fatigue the inexpensive Sleep cycle app is a pretty reasonable attempt or more wearable Fitbit Flex, Jawbone Up or Jaybird Reign which also can measure heart rate variability.
At a more detailed level we know that heart rate variability, the change in the time intervals between adjacent heartbeats, is directly related to the body’s homeostasis of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
Broadly the greater the HRV, the better, but there are occasions where the wide variation is a problem to physiology but it is too little variation which can be caused by stress, pathology, or under recovery.
HRV can be tracked again using an iphone app using the camera at the excellent HRV4Training – or more expensive systems such as Omegawave or continuous monitoring by the excellent First Beat – but usually again for the professional athletes due to cost.
This allows a daily interpretation of readiness, which in combination with wellness can be an excellent tool.
And one I am looking at more and more is the incorporation of reflection and Mindfulness – A great source is the app based Headspace and the 5 Minute Journal who are out to bring out a app based version
Well here you have my tools for monitoring your athletic performance in 2016
I am sure I have missed off many available tools and devices, feel free to comment and add where missing