Personal trainer, biohacker, speaker, and performance coach Ben Greenfield sat down with us to talk about how and why he uses his Oura Ring. Here are the results!
Q: Why do you track your Sleep, Activity, and Readiness stats?
“I track them because I want to know what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to the workouts that I choose, the supplements that I take, the type of diet that I eat… and anything that I do to improve my body and my brain.”
When it comes to Sleep, he focuses on his sleep stages: “For example, if I want to sleep better and I take something like NyQuil, a popular antihistamine for sleep, I can sleep through the night. But when I use my Oura ring to check on my deep sleep, for example, taking an antihistamine before bed completely destroys my deep sleep levels. Although I’ve slept through the night I wouldn’t know that I’ve lost on all that deep sleep if I wasn’t informed about it by the data…”
Ben also takes a deep dive into his Readiness metrics by leveraging the Oura web application to explore how his stats are related. “If I really want to take things to the next level I could, for example, correlate the relationship between something like body temperature and deep sleep using the Oura dashboard screen. I could find out that if I exercise sooner than 3 hours before bedtime – and I’ve found this out by the way – my deep sleep suffers and that it’s likely related to the fact that my body temperature and my heart rate variability through the night both suffer…body temperature goes up, which it shouldn’t during the night, and my heart rate variability goes down.”
He also checks his Activity score for extra motivation: “In addition, I like to look at my daily activity simply because it’s kind of like a pat on the back or a Pavlovian response when I see that I’ve reached my goal for the day.”
Q: What changes have you made based on your data?
In the short term, Ben uses his Readiness score to plan his workout load for the week: “Based on my Readiness Score, I can choose to do yoga or an easy walk in the sunshine that day, rather than a hard-charging CrossFit workout or a high-intensity interval training.”
As he collects data on different workouts, he’s also looking for patterns that show his routines are effective. “In terms of long-term data trends and changes that I’ve made to my routine… One thing that I’ve found is that the Oura ring will track my respiratory rate and my resting heart rate. What I’ve found is that when I pay attention to deep breathing patterns and deep belly breathing during the day rather than shallow chest breathing, I can see direct correlation between a drop in my respiratory rate, when I’m looking at the trends on Oura, and a drop in my heart rate accompanied by an increase in my heart rate variability and an increase in my sleep efficiency.
That tells me that the engagement of better breathing patterns is a very smart move that I should prioritize.”
Q: What made you choose Oura as a tracking device?
“Frankly, two things. The extremely high accuracy of the sleep data. And the ability to turn off the signal from the Oura so that I’m not bombarding my body with a Wi-Fi signal or a Bluetooth signal which most other self-quantification devices generate every 1–3 seconds.”
Q: What should people keep in mind when analyzing their data?
“The main thing is not to get too obsessed with the data… I would rather glance quickly at my data and get the minimum effective dose of data and the most benefit from the data I can in a short period of time. Rather than spend, say, 15 minutes pouring over my dashboard each day… Minutes that could be better spent with family or cooling down after a workout or getting a little bit of a more quality workout in or playing my guitar.”
It’s about finding your own rhythm, “You need to be careful to strike a balance between glancing at the data and having it briefly inform you in a very time-efficient manner and obsessing and pouring over the data in a way that almost strips you away from enjoying the other aspects of having a balanced life.”
Key takeaways for Oura users:
- Look for patterns in your lifestyle that encourage deep sleep which helps restore and repair your body after a workout
- Consider using your Readiness score or HRV as a part of your training plan
- Unlock Airplane Mode as a feature
- Read more about Oura’s accuracy
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