The #1 Health App To Track Your Fitness And Diet In 2015.

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It seems like every day, someone asks me what I use for “self-quantification”. After all, wearable technology that can quantify everything from your steps to your sleep to your stress seems to be taking the world by storm.

And I’ve tried just about all of them. Whenever a new one gets released, I feed my fascination with health tracking and self-quantification by guinea-pigging it on myself. When the very first Fitbit came out, I used it, and from the Tinke to the Timex MoveX20 to the Jawbone UP3 (which the world-famous Dr. Mercola recently waxed positive about in my REV Yourself conference), I’ve found benefits in each.

But ultimately, the darling of self-quantification is heart rate variability, also known as HRV. Ever since the day I learned that professional European football teams (*ahem*, that’s soccer) relied upon HRV measurements to track the physical and psychological response to training, to plan the entire week’s workouts, and to predict injuries and illness before they happen, I started to dig into this technology.

The result has been over three years of HRV articles and podcasts on this website, including the most popular and useful:

The Do-It-Yourself Guide To Using Heart Rate Variability Testing to Track Your Stress and Nervous System Health (podcast)

Everything You Need To Know About Heart Rate Variability Testing (podcast)

What Is The Best Way To Track Your Heart Rate Variability (HRV)? (podcast)

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25 Ways To Know With Laser-Like Accuracy If Your Body Is Truly Recovered And Ready To Train (article)

Do Professional Sports Teams Have It All Wrong When It Comes To Optimizing Performance & Recovery? (article)

Peruse those links above if you know nothing about HRV. You’ll come out the other side as an HRV genius. But perhaps you’re impatient and you just want to start testing HRV, and throw in a few other forms of self-quantification too,such as respiration, energy, skin temperature, steps and calories burnt. If so, then keep reading, because I’m going to reveal the #1 health app to track your diet and fitness in 2015.*

*OK, OK, it’s an iOS app. Android should be available in next couple months. So you can still keep reading if you own an Android.

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Many of the HRV resources I just listed above included conversations with and information from SweetBeat, a company that I’ve always found to has been on the cutting edge of biohacking, and a company that is incredibly good at condensing all the “geekiness” of heart rate variability tracking into practical and easy-to-understand terms.

Earlier in 2014, I began working with SweetBeat to harness their technology into a new app, which I affectionately, appropriately and possibly even narcissistically have named the Greenfield NatureBeat phone app. I wanted an app that would not only allow me to understand the information presented in the data that I track every day, but also give me many valuable metrics all at once (such as HRV, stress, heart rate, weight, steps, calories, skin temperature, respiration, etc.).

Basically, the app uses either a bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor or a patch called a “HealthPatch” (which you can grab from inside the app) to provide real-time measurements of your recovery and nervous system health using skin sensors and data correlation algorithms. It is the exact system that I use every morning to track my own heart rate variability, recovery status and training readiness. It also integrates and correlates data with popular fitness platforms like Restwise, MapMyFitness, Fitbit and Withings.

stress monitorThe “Monitor” screen on the NatureBeat app allows you to choose which feature you would like to use (Stress Monitoring, HRV for Training, or Heart Rate Recovery). After starting a session, the your metrics will fill the screen, showing you heart rate, HRV, stress level, and current mood.

The EKG-like heart beat trace is the first window you see when you begin tracking on this Monitor screen. By flipping this window around, you can see several other real-time features, including the stats screen, which shows all the metrics used in the algorithm calculations and then some (I call this the “geek mode” screen). If you’re using the HealthPatch, which is literally a patch that you can stick on your body,  you can also monitor your respiration, energy, skin temperature, steps and activity.

chartsThe “Graph” screen shows a real-time building graph of your heart rate, using what are called “RR Intervals”. When you turn your phone 90 degrees counter-clockwise, it will bring up this graph in landscape, and gives you real-time feedback about your heart rate activity. This is really the future of noninvasive monitoring of cardiovascular and nervous system health and performance, because it can even give you information about whether your heart is “skipping beats” or experiencing other electrical abnormalities – information you’d normally have to pay big bucks to go do a stress electrocardiogram test to get.

correlationsThe “Correlation” screen uses an algorithm to correlate all of the data you collect about yourself, so you can see, for example, how you sleep correlates to your HRV, how your activity correlates to your food intake, etc. It’s just a cool way to see in graphical format what how different aspects of your life correlate together, whether it’s HRV, stress, weight, body fat or anything else you’re quantifying with any other device.

session summaryIf you look at the most elite athletes on the face of the planet, breakthrough performance is achieved by alternating periods of intensive training with periods of relative rest. Now you can do the same, but without playing a “guessing game” about whether you’re truly recovered. Instead, NatureBeat uses algorithms to create a personalized reference line for you based on a single daily 3 to 5 minute measurement (preferably taken in the morning while you’re lying in bed). Just like your own personal coach or physician, the app then recommends you to “train as usual”, have a “low exertion day”, or take a “rest day”.

And then there’s the food sensitivity feature, which is very useful if you’ve ever wondered whether a food affects you negatively, even if you don’t get a stark reaction to that food (e.g. do eggs or bread affect your nervous system, even if you don’t get a stomach ache from them?) . To use the food sensitivity feature, you first take a morning reading of your pulse to establish a baseline for the day. Before eating a meal, you then record the foods in that meal and then do a pulse test. After you have finished eating, the app will prompt you to record your heart rate every 30 minutes until 90 minutes have passed. Once that testing is complete, the meal will either pass or fail for food sensitivity based on how your heart rate responded to that meal.

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Need to know if you’re recovering properly? How a meal or food is affecting your nervous system and body? Whether your body is ready to go hard or whether it needs a break?

As you can see, this new app does all that for you.

Whether you wear it throughout the day, or simply do a 5 minute measurement each morning, the NatureBeat Heart Rate Variability Tracker app measures:

-Heart Rate
-Heart Rate Variability
-Respiration
-Energy
-Skin temperature
-Steps and activity
-Calories
-Food Sensitivity
-Anything else you want to feed into it from another app

Pretty cool, eh? Full disclosure: it ain’t free. It’s $9.99. So skip a couple lattes this week and try it out.

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Finally, you should know that I’m fully aware of the debate about whether or not having a Bluetooth signal constantly humming about your body is actually good thing.

I suspect that, despite there being no firm evidence of any deleterious health effects of Bluetooth (unlike the evidence that glaringly exists for cell phones), I’m still cautious.

So I don’t use the Greenfield NatureBeat app all day long. I simply use it for a 5 minute “check-in” each morning while I’m lying in bed, then whip it out every now and again when I want to see how stressful something is to the different branches of my nervous system (such as a food, an exercise or even a relationship).

For example, using this approach of only self-quantifying in the morning, then occasionally using the technology for other activities, I’ve discovered some really interesting data, such as:

-Barbell squats are the most stressful exercise you can do. Technically, as long as you don’t overdo them, this is a good thing, since your body bounces back stronger when you send it that signal that there’s a heavy lion jumping on your back.

-My heart rate variability actually drops (a bad thing) when I consume a whey protein isolate made from cows vs. a whey protein isolate made from goats. I suspect this is due to some kind of allergenic response to the larger protein size in cow whey.

-My morning resting heart rate variability gets amped up the very highest (indicating low stress and relaxation) if I’ve had sex the night before, and plummets through the floor if I’ve consumed an anti-histamine (such as Nyquil or Benadryl) the night before.

Anyways, I could go on and on, but I’m curious what you’ve discovered from testing your own heart rate variability, stress and health…

…so leave your comments below, and if you still haven’t tried this ultimate form of self-quantification, then what are you waiting for? Click here to grab the app now. Happy tracking. 

 

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47 thoughts on “The #1 Health App To Track Your Fitness And Diet In 2015.

  1. DR PRADNYA says:

    MAY U BE BLESSED, LOVE AND LIGHT.

    FROM,

    DR PRADNYA AND MY PATIENTS WHO WOULD BE BENEFITED FROM YOUR DATA THAT U VE SHARED.

    INDIA.

  2. Anton Narins says:

    Hi Ben,

    I got the android app, but it seems to be so so much different than the ios version. I feel like I purchased a product thinking it would be completely different. I’m just not able to track as much information or see the types of graphs or interface that you show and discuss in this post. Will you guys be making updates to the android version to make it in line with the apple product?

    Thanks so much for everything. Love your show and knowledge and wit and info!!

    Anton

  3. Mark says:

    Hi Ben,

    Does the app work with an apple watch?

    1. It's compatible with all these: https://greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/heart-rate-m… Any device worn on the wrist is inaccurate, you will need a chest strap of some sort.

  4. Heidi says:

    hey ben, i bought the app but i only have a fitbit charge HR for my heart rate monitor and i can’t get the app to sync at all. is it not compatible with that?

    thanks

    heidi

    1. Short answer is no, wrist bands are not accurate enough for HRV. There's a correlation feature in the app that allows you to download your fitbit data (steps, cal in, cal out, weight) into the app. There is a nice little dashboard and the capability of correlation your fitbit data with your HRV. You can also use any type of bluetooth low energy wrist band that sends your HR data to the app for the Food Sensitivity Testing. Food testing just uses a heart rate so those devices would work for food testing but NOT clinical grade HRV.

      1. C says:

        How about zoom HRV?

        1. Another solid option. Use ZOOMNB10 on the linked site to get $10 off. https://lifetrakusa.com/?ref=zoom%2F%3F_ga%3D2.44…

  5. doug says:

    Android? I use sweetbeat.. they’ve been promising Android version forever too…

    I carry an old iphone around just to use sweetbeat

  6. Alan says:

    If I already own the sweetbeat app, do I still need to buy this?

    1. This one is branded by yours truly, so preferably. ;)

  7. Jon says:

    Hey Ben, any news on the Android version? I’m really interested in giving it a go but don’t have access to any apple products.

    1. Still working on it Jon, but it's not too far off!

  8. heathbradury says:

    Haha it is a bluetooth hrm. My girlfriend already has one so it would save me $50 if I could just use that one instead of buying the polar h7.

  9. heathbradury says:

    Does anyone know if this will work with the OTBeat HRM that is now in use at Orange Theory Fitness? It seems like it should right?

    1. No need. All you need is a bluetooth enabled HR monitor!

  10. WryNott says:

    Ben, you asked for comments on HRV; I have been tracking mine for a bit over a yer now – since I listened to your great podcast a while back. I use iThlete rather than sweet eat though, not solely because it gives a higher score – i like the clean presentation and it only requires a 1 minute reading. 2 things stand out for me; firstly sleep is highly correlated with HRV, more than anything else. A good solid 8 hours boosts HRV, less does the opposite. alcohol does not help either! Secondly, my HRV appears to fluctuate in wave cycles over a number of weeks, rising and the falling. I cannot identify what drives this, maybe you have some thoughts if you have seen the same thing. Final comment is around the meaning of LF and HF readings. Frankly these jump about so much during a typical reading period that I struggle to see any consistent message. I have also read that there is serious academic doubt now emerging as to whether they really do indicate stress or relaxation. Do you have any thoughts on this? Thanks for all the great work

    1. The waves you are seeing are exactly why the app tracks trends. Try to add as much info to each of your sessions as possible so you might start to see some correlations. I have not heard the doubts, do you have any links you can share? I would love to hear more.

  11. Steve Colenzo says:

    I tried to purchase the heart monitor with the app but it doesn’t work.

    1. The in app purchase of VitalConnect health patch is working for all of us… maybe give it another try.

      1. hoivik says:

        VitalConnect now states that they are no longer selling the HealthPatch Starter Kits or Refill kits, and will not be available at all for individual sale. How do you plan to deal with this? Both you and SweetbeatLife are currently using the HealthPatch as part of your marketing. To me the loss of the HealthPatch is now making your app a lot less attractive, and will have to start comparing it with other alternatives for tracking HRV for performance. Do you have anything up your sleeve for replacing the HealthPatch?

        1. We’re very sorry about this and believe me we've tried to resolve the issue. As for stuff up my sleeve – we are in discussions with other consumer patch manufacturers and that includes the potential for some wrist worn solutions. Also, we are in the process of adding new graphs to NatureBeat and should have them out soon. Things are still on the up-and-up despite this slight setback.

  12. Tmdiezel says:

    In app purchase for health patch is not working!!

    1. Weird. I will check that out – sorry!

    2. Go directly to www.sweetwaterhrv.com then at the top select “Products” then from the drop down menu select “Supported Heart Rate Monitors”. You can get the phone number to purchase the vital connect patch.

      1. Tmdiezel says:

        Got it. The safari browser was not showing the sweet water site properly. Thanks!!!!

  13. cleandro says:

    Hi Ben,
    I have been debated about which HRV app to purchase, thanks for helping me with the decision:) Will the app work with the Polar, Garmin, and Suunto heart rate straps? Also, in addition to monitoring HRV I am looking at a new multisport watch to track heart rate etc as I train with Tridominator for a 1/2 ironman. Do you have any recommendations among the 3 companies I listed above? If so, which would you recommend if money were no object and which would you recommend that has the best bang for the buck?
    Thanks Ben!
    Carol

    1. Honestly, I would go with Timex and not just because they sponsor me ;)

      1. cleandro says:

        Can you elaborate on that please? Which Timex? And will it work with your new app?
        Thanks Ben
        ( I forgot about Timex, and not just because they sponsor you:))

        1. Check this out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtyNuRyIBYc The app is a stand alone product. All you need is a HR Strap (or the health patch) and it is good to go! It doesn't integrate with any other device…

  14. jwinett1 says:

    Ben – I'm excited you came out with this! A few similar questions:
    1. I track my HRV with the ithlete HRV monitor every morning. Will your app work with that?
    2. I also sometimes train with a Hexoskin (usually on primarily cardio days). Since it also gathers HR, respiration data, will app work with that?
    3. Similar to a previous post, I assume there are differences in what info will be available using different input devices. Can you summarize (what would be available with Bluetooth HR monitor vs. Healthpatch vs. other?
    4. Is there a Bluetooth HR Monitor you recommend? Haven't bought a new one since the old days of Garmin non-bluetooth versions. (Your link to "heart rate monitor" on shareasale.com(?) didn't work.
    5. I am also confused by Healthpatch – doesn't look like consumers can buy on their site. Where can consumers see their options and where are these for sale? Thanks!!

    1. 1. No.
      2. If it is bluetooth, it might but no guarantees.
      3. I'll be doing a big podcast about that very soon!
      4. I use the Polar h7 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007S088F4/ref=a…
      5. You can buy it using an "in-app" purchase.

  15. ems218 says:

    I have used both the bulletproof HRV app and the Sweetbeat HRV sense (which I purchased after your recommendation). I still basically only look at the numerical HRV score. Is there a reason to get this new app if I am already using those? Thanks!

    1. Erin, it is very similar to SweetBeat but is 100% customized by me and all future updates will include some special Ben Greenfield tweaks, along with links to helpful content…etc…so just a more Ben Greenfield-i-fied experience!

      1. ems218 says:

        Thanks Ben! Wish I wouldn't have just bought the sweetbeat app. I'll put this one on the list eventually. Thank you!! :)

  16. Intensemofo says:

    Considering purchase, but need some more info first. How much is the HealthPatch? Also, what's the difference between using the HealthPatch and a heart rate monitor in terms of the data I can collect and process through your app?

    1. Derek says:

      Same questions.

    2. You can find out all about the HealthPatch here. http://www.vitalconnect.com/healthpatch The price varies, depending on which version you buy.

      1. shockthemonkey1 says:

        Ok, how about giving the prices for the various versions? The vital connect link does not have the prices. Full disclosure would be appreciated – if I don't get the prices, I ain't buying.

        . Also, can you answer my second question in the original post – what's the difference between using the HealthPatch and a heart rate monitor in terms of the data I can collect and process through your app?

      2. Intensemofo says:

        I got the price from the vital connect folks. $20 per single-use patch. So $10 for the data processing app, and then $20 per day for the data collection tool. $600 per month.

        1. dbriguy22 says:

          300.00 to 600 per month? I can't afford that. Is there any other options for someone on a smaller budget or did I just hastily spend 10 bucks?

          1. You can use a regular heart rate strap. The HealthPatch is just one option. I personally use the PolarH7 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007S088F4/ref=a…

  17. fngrpntr says:

    I can't wait for the Android version! Please hurry—I'll be your first customer!

    1. It's in Beta testing right now… shouldn't be long!

      1. javimei says:

        Making a push here for the Android version too :) Hanging in there with the iThlete app so far but can't wait to try this one.

      2. MatthewBrand2 says:

        Any way I can be a beta tester for the app?

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