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Two weeks ago I had the honor of presenting on a symposium platform at Ashford University. I was able to collaborate with Dr. Peggy Sundstrom and present my research regarding Service Members' Heart-rate variability (HRV) and Cognitive Performance. Check out the attached presentation and for more details, be sure to skim through chapters 2 and 5 of the full citation.

Key takeaways:

*HRV matters - physically, mentally, emotionally, and cognitively.

*Those with higher amounts of HRV in the "reserves" are better able to cope with internal and externals stressors. In contrast, those with lower HRV are most susceptible to immune system dysfunctions and cardiac issues (if prolonged stress persists).

*These factors are relevant for all populations - not just athletes! However, HRV monitoring is very relevant when measuring overtraining syndrome, general adaptation, and allostatic overload.

*Factors such as nutrition, sleep, and fitness levels influence your autonomic nervous system (ANS) aka your HRV.

*More research is needed to study diverse samples within a military setting - specifically, as it applied to sustainable performance and overall health.

*Bottom line - HRV is an excellent measure of health and wellness. By monitoring your HRV (stress response, autonomic health), you are setting yourself up for success in whatever craft you pursue!

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  • Writer's pictureTier-1 Mindset

It's amazing when you put an idea to paper and pen, what could potentially come from it. Just by releasing the idea and moving it from a thought in your brain to the paper can begin the next step towards achieving it. You take that specific goal that was once stored in your mind and you begin the journey towards commitment. Once you can see it on paper, you become more likely to put forth the effort towards attaining that specific action plan. Very similar to a to-do list, you become more likely to take short-term steps towards a larger outcome.

Every athlete or tactical client that I've worked with has incorporated some form of a mental training log into their regimen. This could be logging training sessions/workouts/etc., while including the mental and emotional components of that session. It's a daily process that is reflective and disciplined.

Determine your 30 day program - choose goals that are personal (family, training program, nutrition) and/or professional (career). After each session (or work day), review how it went (i.e. good, better, how?). Follow a framework when setting specific and measurable

goals (i.e. SMART guidelines) to ensure you are setting yourself up for success. Finally, always check in with yourself and journal your 30 days. Make this part of your routine so that it becomes a training habit. You'll be able to identify sustains and improves, gaps in training, and themes related to recovery and tapering.

Last small detail. It sounds trivial but decorate the journal with images of things that are important to you. For example, if you have children and one of your goals is to spend more quality time with them - put a picture of you and them on the journal. If you are training for a marathon or trying to break a personal record - put an image of association with that goal (i.e. race logo, runner, PR number). This helps you stay connected to your purpose and your "why". It allows you to visualize what is more important in your life right now. Adapt and modify as you move forward, and most importantly - enjoy what you are doing!

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  • Writer's pictureTier-1 Mindset

Sometimes you just need a little pause. That pause could apply to physical training, stress management at home, or at work. Regardless of your goals and your profession or sport, mindfulness can be a game changer for brain health and wellness. Not only that, but it changes the playing field in regards to performance enhancement.

Simply taking a pause during any "break in action" can reset the nervous system and allow one to think more clearly. Alertness and focus increase, while stress, panic, and anxiety decrease. If you are an athlete: practice this technique during your recovery periods in training. Nasal breathing only and do your your best not to exaggerate the breathing (i.e. no weird facial expressions or raised shoulders). I always tell athletes - there is a right way to breath (reset the nervous system) and there is a wrong way to. Just like there is a right way to deadlift, and there is a wrong way which typically results in injury or inefficient movement. The same goes for breathing.

Apps such as headspace, calm, simple habit, and 10% Happier have made it easier than ever to incorporate this practice into your daily routine. Not enough time to implement 5-10/minutes a day? Start with 2 minutes in the morning before you get out of bed, and 2 minutes at night before you close you eyes.

Give it a try for 10 days and journal your experience as you go. If you are an athlete, include this in your training log. #happybreathing

Contact for more training recommendations.

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