A new way to look at recovery.
More science behind the numbers. What, if anything, does oxygen saturation say about recovery.
A useful tool to track overall recovery. We feel the questions you answer on a daily basis are probably more of an indication of your level of recovery than the SPO2 measurement.
Have you ever wished you had a recovery gauge? Or some type of system to tell you where you are in terms of your level of fatigue vs recovery. We all are aware (or should be) of the importance of the recovery aspect of training. The key is to find the perfect balance between training stimuli and adequate recovery time. In our experience maintaining that balance can be somewhat illusive. As triathletes we have a meter or gadget for everything. So needless to say, we were intrigued by the concept of Restwise and the idea of recovery monitoring and measurement.
The Restwise system includes a Pulse Oximeter and software to log and track your results.
The Restwise pulse oximeter and software combine to give each athlete a daily individual recovery score. This score is based on a number of factors including your pulse rate and the saturation of oxygen in the blood. These numbers are easily obtained using the pulse oximeter. Each morning before you get up you can simply slip your finger into the device to quickly get your pulse rate and SPO2 level.
You may have used or seen one of these devices in a doctors office or hospital. The pulse oximeter is a simple, portable device that measures oxygen saturation in the blood. Pulse oximeters use red and infrared light to detect oxygen in the blood stream. You can see the red glow in the picture below.
From here you take these values and log them into the Restwise software. This process is also easy to do, the system is web-based so logging your values is a snap, there's even an iPhone app.
Taking your resting heart rate daily, at the same time each day (preferably first thing in the morning), is a good idea in general. This can give you an idea of your overall health and state of recovery. The problem is there are many factors that affect resting heart rate. Variations in resting heart rate can mean a lot of things from fatigue to illness to stress (from training, or just life in general). The Restwise software has algorithms designed to help decipher these variations.
The other side of the Recovery Score is a series of simple questions that you answer daily.
- Resting HR
- Hours Slept, including naps (yeah right)
From there, you go on to answer other questions about how well you slept, energy level, mood, previous day's training performance, illness, muscle soreness, etc.
The answers that the athlete gives to these questions probably provides more insight into his/her overall state of recovery than the pulse ox numbers give. However, the combination of all this data and its analysis is what Restwise is counting on to get you to your "recovery score".
The real trick is for each athlete to be completely honest from day to day with the answers he/she provides. It's easy just to say all is normal and go on about your day, but to really get the most out of the process you have to be willing to evaluate yourself as objectively as possible.
When you have logged several days of data you'll be able to view your results in graph form which makes it very easy to view. You can also check/uncheck individual components of the recovery score to manipulate those components individually or in various combinations. For example, if you want to view only sleep, energy level, and performance you can simply check those boxes.
Another cool feature of the Restwise software is the ability for your coach to log in and view your recovery data. This allows a coach to keep an eye on their athletes from a central portal. This might allow the coach, well those that care, to make on the fly adjustments to an athlete's schedule based on their state of fatigue. Since the program is web-based the data is pretty much accessible anytime and from anywhere.
When you sign up for the Restwise service you basically get the pulse oximeter for free. Fees are relatively inexpensive (as low as $15/month) but access will cost you indefinitely.
TriBomb Bottom Line
At TriBomb we're all about thinking outside the box when it comes to new products. We feel this device has the potential to be a useful tool, it's no magic 8 ball for recovery (and doesn't claim to be). We'd love to see more research regarding the correlation (if any) of recovery and SPO2 levels. We feel like this device may be more beneficial to your coach than to you as an athlete (if you're honest about your daily recovery answers). It's a simple and convenient means of tracking your recovery and communicating those results to your coach. Is it worth the fee to access the data?? That will be up to you as an individual athlete to determine.