Exercise test and rest measurement
By means of an exercise test you will find out exactly where your ideal heart rate values are for the sport or effort you want to perform. The test is taken on an approved exercise bike and the method (Energy Control Method) is scientifically recognised. You will receive a training schedule and if you wish you can already run a (half) marathon or a 10 km after 6 weeks. The conditions for this are very accessible!
With a rest measurement your stress level and breathing pattern at rest are measured. In case of chronic stress and / or fatigue, fibromyalgia or exercise-induced asthma, you get a perfect program to tackle this!
The EC method is based on heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is the variation in time between two consecutive heartbeats. In a healthy body at rest, this variation is large. With exertion, the HRV gets lower and lower: around the turning point it is even 0. If the HRV is also low at rest, then that is a sign that something is not right. How does this work?
The body has a nervous system that controls many functions without our conscious thought. Heart rate, breathing, sweating and digestion are just a few examples. This nervous system is called the autonomic nervous system and consists of two parts: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic.
The sympathetic part is the part that we can compare to the accelerator pedal of a car. When the sympathetic nerve is activated, breathing speeds up, heart rate increases, blood flow stagnates and digestion stops. Adrenaline is released with the aim of not feeling pain and fatigue – temporarily – or less. This is also referred to as the "fight or flight" status and has traditionally been useful in life-threatening situations that are in principle short-lived. After the danger has passed, everything should return to a calm level. But the sympathetic nerve is also activated in times of stress, sadness, trauma and worry. These causes can last much longer, causing the body to be activated for too long, without recovery getting a chance.
The parasympathetic is the part that we can compare to the brake pedal of a car. When the parasympathetic nerve is activated, the breathing becomes slower and less deep, the heart rate drops, the blood circulation starts, as well as the digestion. The parasympathetic is important in recovery, rest and replenishing energy stores.
In many people with burnout, ME or chronic fatigue we see that the sympathetic is working overtime and that the parasympathetic is hardly active. The accelerator pedal is continuously pressed and the body is not given an opportunity to recover. This is a purely physical reaction to (psychological) stress, sadness or trauma and is reflected in the measured HRV at rest, which is too low or sometimes even almost 0. The EC method focuses on restoring HRV at rest.
Fat Burning & Sugar Burning
Fat Burning & Sugar Burning
An important aspect of the difference between sympathetic and parasympathetic is that in one case you mainly burn sugars and in the other case fats. Fat is a fuel that we have a lot of (even if you are not overweight) and that we can use for a long time. The amount of sugars is limited: you'll get through it quickly if you're not careful. If the sympathetic nerve is activated all the time, you continue to burn sugars and because they are used up at a certain point, you get the feeling that you have no more energy. You do have energy, namely fat, but because you are in the wrong status, you cannot use your fat stores.
HRV can be influenced through breathing. Many people breathe much faster than desired at rest, which activates the sympathetic nerve. This leads to excessive sugar burning, fatigue and many related complaints. Breathing therapy can improve the breathing pattern, so that the recovery and replenishment of energy supplies becomes possible again. The body can come back into balance.
The HRV decreases as the effort increases, until it is 0. At that point, there is complete sugar burning and this is also known as the tipping point. The HRV can be used to measure the heart rate at which this turning point lies. In sports, this is an important limit for determining the training zones. The zones in which someone should train also depend on the current fitness level and the training goals.
Nutrition plays a very important role in a healthy lifestyle. In addition to good breathing and a customized training program, it is the third component of the EC method. We certainly do not prescribe a diet, but give general advice about what a healthy diet looks like. If more is needed, we refer you to a nutritionist.