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Let’s start with the big news. This year, I will be racing a full Ironman – my first in nine years. Yep, after a long period of focusing on Ironman 70.3, it’s back to the long game.

A lot has changed since pre-2020 though, when I was racing five to six times a year and close to training full-time. Over the past few years, my work life has really taken precedence over training, and I have more professional responsibility than ever before. It certainly makes for a challenging training programme - really it’s a case of managing the rising stress and pressure as best I can (often failing at times!).

As a Whoop user, I’ve been measuring HRV and all the other performance-related metrics for two years now, but with long work days, juggling multiple clients, managing employees, and fitting in double training days, it is tough to keep physiological and mental stress at a minimum. With HRV being the most accurate measure of how recovered we are, it’s also the primary marker for physiological health and wellbeing, so it’s definitely something I keep a close eye on these days with such a hectic lifestyle.

Recently, I was introduced to the Apollo wearable – a nifty device which works by providing gentle vibrations through haptics technology. It has shown to increase HRV by 11%, improve focus and concentration by up to 25%, increase time in deep sleep by 19%, and reduce stress and anxiety by up to 40% - so some pretty impressive statistics all round.

Developed by a neuroscientist and board-certified psychiatrist who has been studying the impacts of chronic stress in humans for nearly 15 years, Apollo’s effects have been proven in multiple clinical trials and real-world studies. Essentially, the Apollo wearable strengthens and rebalances your autonomic nervous system and improves your HRV – which means you’re building your resilience to stress and as such, spend less time in ‘fight-or-flight’ mode and more time in ‘rest and digest’.

It couldn’t really have come at a better time, as I have been finding that due to my lifestyle, my HRV can be quite low sometimes, I often feel run down, and my sleep has been quite compromised by both physical and mental stress that I am exposed to throughout the day. There’s also accumulative stress caused by lack of sufficient recovery and downtime – when your weekdays are full gas with training and work and weekends are much the same, it doesn’t allow for much time to mentally or physically switch off.

With different modes to choose from through the accompanying app, the device is designed to be placed close to a bone (I wear it on the inside of my wrist) and used for a few hours each day. There is no need to wear it all the time – I tend to put it on while I’m sat at my desk working, commuting or travelling (I find it oddly reassuring), and those (rather rare!) moments where I am sat down relaxing in front of the TV or reading a book before bed.

I started wearing the device in mid-January so have had a good month to test it out, and I have to say the results are impressive. Natural fluctuations in HRV are, of course, normal and very much depend on life stressors such as training volume and intensity, professional and emotional workload, travel, and of course, sickness.

I have to say I have become a little addicted to the Apollo! I lean into it when I am feeling in need of some recuperation, I find it soothing to experience the gentle vibrations (the science around touch therapy and its capacity to improve physical and mental health is 100% validated).

I have definitely seen some improvements in my HRV although I may need longer to test the device to get a full picture, as HRV can be affected by so many variables. More notably though, my deep sleep (characterised as SWS or slow wave sleep in my Whoop feedback) has improved quite considerably.  SWS is when cells are regenerated, so is particularly important for athletic (and mental) performance.

At this stage, with the demands of training and work, keeping my HRV as high as possible is pretty critical to success – not to mention sleep quality. Trying to sustain 15-hour training weeks and some 12-hour work days is pretty intense!

As I head into this next big block of training towards Ironman Texas, I will continue using the Apollo as part of my daily recovery routine – having already seen the positive benefits and the research studies validating the technology, it’s a no-brainer really.


If you want to try it, use my code AMY40 for $40 off at checkout!

#ApolloNeuro #JourneywithApollo