I went in for some routine medical stuff today, and the blood pressure machine would not shut up—it lit up yellow and bonged because of my low resting heart rate (41 beats per minute). This went on steadily until the triple readings were all done. I suppose my resting heart rate would have been 38 or 39 if I had been lying down (it was 39 a few years ago in a physical when I was in peak condition). The nurse had to shut off the noise.
A low resting heart rate in the AM is a good sign while training hard: this was at 8 AM, and the grueling training load of 107 miles over the prior two days (4100 calories burned) put a load on my system which I could feel as fatigure by evening—and this reading was only about 14 hours later.
For my HR to be at 41 in the morning means good overall recovery/response to the workout, though my legs were clearly short on glycogen today—very hard to replace glycogen stores overnight when also doing a 3000 calorie deficit for those two days, and far more over several weeks*. If I am not well rested, I’ll see my HR in the 48 to 55 range, 60 to 80 if getting sick.
When fit, a very low heart rate is totally normal for me. One year (when younger), I measured it at 31 for over a minute. Recording it for a minute or so while lying down in bed before getting out of bed in the morning is a great way to keep tabs on recovery—patterns will emerge that tell a story about how physical status—recovery, illness, etc.
Medical science doesn’t know much of anything about outliers like me. I’ve had at least 3 experiences in the last year where medical personnel look concerned with my HR in the 41-45 range. They are so used to seeing grotesquely overweight patients I guess (why am I lumped in with such people for health insurance? Grossly unfair). What is “normal” anyway?
So being an outlier, I have a deep skepticism of medical “knowledge”—so much of what was “established science” seems to have been debunked in recent years (in nutrition and health in particular). Then there is the intellectual incompetence and laziness of using BMI, which placed me quite close to “overweight” with 8% body fat for a BMI of 23.8. Applying population statistics to individuals is medical incompetence, except perhaps (and only) as a crude initial screen. But for a doctor seeing someone in person, I say unequivocally that it is incompetence or at least laziness.
* The frequent and extended periods of very cold rain have really “holed” my training schedule but I have still managed to drop 5 pounds of fat in 4 weeks. This is way below my goal, but losing 10 days or so of training makes it tough, especially when I enounctered a box of See’s Candy one day. The box was empty all too soon.