You know the feeling: it’s 6am or 5:30pm and you just don’t want to workout. It’s not because you’re lazy (although there are those days too!), it’s because you’re stressed AF. Your body feels frazzled, heavy and strained. You know your body better than anyone. When she doesn’t want to work out, she’ll tell you — and it’s your job to listen.

According to women’s health expert, Dr. Sara Gottfried there is actually an appropriate time to re-route your fitness plans according to your stress levels. How can you tell it’s time to cancel that class or skip the gym? Dr. Gottfried says that it’s all about your heart rate.

Best-selling author of the new Brain Body Diet, aka the hormone whisperer, Dr. Sara Gottfried is sharing her own personal tip for planning workouts in a way that will increase your health – not wear it down. Check out more great advice we’ve shared from Dr. Gottfried here!

How To Sync Your Workouts With Your Stress Levels

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts work for everyone, from my 14-year-old daughter to my 72-year-old mother. I personally do two forms: HIIT rides on the Peloton with Robin Arzon and Matt Wilpers (HIIT on the bike one day, alternating with HIIT on the weights).

As I cover in my new book, a single session of resistance training can improve memory and, over time, reduces anxiety. It’s great for brain body. But don’t get me wrong — I’m addictive by nature and can overdo it with HIIT. So here’s what I do:

I check my heart rate variability (HRV) every morning to determine what type of exercise is ideal for that day. HRV is pattern of your heart rate. If you have a resting heart rate of sixty, you might think that’s one beat per second, but that would be very low HRV. You actually want variability between the time of each heartbeat. For example, the first gap between heartbeats is 1.00 seconds, and the second is 1.02 seconds, and the next 1.05 seconds, and so on, in order to indicate good HRV. TCM Editor Note: Scoop up a heart-rate monitor here.

So, what does HRV indicate for working out? Research proves that when your HRV is high or optimized, your body is showing better stress resilience and health. A low HRV (little variation between beats) actually indicates less resilience and greater stress — so an intense workout isn’t a good idea. It will only add to the stress levels. I opt for more adaptive exercise like yoga or walking meditation.

High / Optimal HRV: Try a HIIT workout, weight lift, go to boot camp

Low HRV: Take a rest day, go for a walk, take a yoga class

I gained 15 pounds when I sat and wrote my first book, so now I’m in love with my treadmill desk. I walk several miles daily while working at my desk, and get about 2500 miles logged for each book. I don’t miss a yoga class these days — the zen and the stretch make me feel good all around. I get two barre classes per week to keep me lengthened and bless my core, which tends to get ignored.

In my upcoming book, Brain Body Diet, I devote an entire chapter to depression and what you can to help yourself. Yoga is better than standard medical care, aerobic exercise and relaxation exercise for depression.

Have you ever heard this advice before? Tell us how you determine your workout schedule…

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