What do you find to be the most valuable metrics and how do you track/plot them all?

Hi everyone!

I’m relatively new to this community (First post - been lurking a few days) but I have been doing mild tracking here and there and trying to work on optimization at the base level through diet, exercise, mindfulness. As all of you know though, you really need to do tracking to get the most out and really correlate events.

I am rather at odds about where I should invest my time and money - There are just way too many gadgets out there and seems there are a lot of data centralizing/plotting services out there as well.

I’m interested in everything you guys find worth tracking and what you find to be the simplest, yet most effective, way of doing so.

At the moment I have been looking into beginning to track my heart rate, hrv (Possibly during work/workouts if possible), morning spO2, and sleep - and then to plot all of those against time and annotate the plot with events (Food, particularly stressful/significant events, workout specifics, mental testing metrics, learning, mood/overall feeling about wellbeing, etc.).

I work with an android system and have just invested in a decent pulse ox and the H7 (The Zephyr HxM just did not work that well) and I track sleep with my phone with “Sleep as Android” and “Sleep Cycle.” Are any of the bands worth looking into? And is there a severe lack of something that incorporates all of these very well into a simple, yet robust interface?

Are you in the Bay Area - there will be some great new talks at the next meetup that might inspire you. The QS show&tell videos are also a good source.

I really wish I were! I’m over in the Boston area. Going to look into what might be going on with like-minded individuals around here.

And I will look into the videos! Thanks for the heads up!

I’d suggest coming up with specific questions first (e.g. does working out in the evening affect my sleep?) rather than going on a data fishing expedition; then figure out what gadgets you need based on that.

That said, there is some data that doesn’t require much effort to collect, and that can come in handy when trying to answer many different questions (e.g. activity and sleep via BodyMedia, body weight via Withings, location via Moves).

Sorry I took so long to respond to you - been driving all around New England the past several days.

I do agree with you - but the data I’m capable of acquiring at any given moment in time will allow me to more freely explore data rather than trying to pigeonhole variables. I feel that since I am just starting to want to delve into this a little deeper (with more substantial quantitative tracking than my basic excel spreadsheets on workouts, meals, moods and phone sleep apps), I may want to take a broadstroke approach on what I already do to get a baseline and then play around with it more.

ie. If I can track heart rate and heart rate variability in real-time for extended periods of time and also do event logging, I can track how certain activities or meals might affect those variables and I can draw inferences more fully.

I would like to think that I have a lot dialed in pretty well already (clearly still far from perfect) but I am asking you guys what you find has worked best for you and why so I might have an experience I can draw ideas from and experiences that would help me to not overlook what has been important for others.

I’ll be honest - a lot of the tech seems kind of rudimentary. Tracking weight isn’t a bad way to observe things and getting multiple weights throughout the day is a great thing to do - but it would be neat to also be plotted with workouts and meals and fluids so you can infer water weight loss due to electrolyte imbalance or other causes of fluctuation. I think Basis seems to have something good going on with the idea of tracking heart rate and sleep together but it can’t track hrv, which is quite unfortunate because that would then require another gadget if you wanted it. Blood glucose can be another interesting one to track. If it weren’t ungodly expensive and a hassle to do in the first place, I think regular blood testing would be a great thing to do as well.

But doing all of these would require a massive portion of one’s time - so it seems one must make sacrifices in terms of what he wants to track for the time being (Unless I am wrong, then please correct me - I would love to be wrong here)

I guess I would really just like to track as much as possible that gives the greatest wealth of information in terms of health feedback, while using the least amount of intrusive gadgets - which is why I am asking for people’s experiences and also crowdsourcing ideas about what exists that is worth investing in and what may be coming up. The possibilities of what we can track is seemingly endless at the moment since this field is rather adolescent.

The “real-time” heart rate can be useful during exercise, but seems less important when recording data 24/7 for later analysis. I’m still looking a device that is suitable for latter.

Current weight scales probably aren’t accurate enough to explain such small weight fluctuations.

The other issue with the Basis is that it’s reported to be inaccurate during motion, and of course their lack of an API.

Lots of people here would love to be able to do hassle-free, continuous glucose monitoring. Maybe someone will figure it out after all the billions of dollars spent pursuing this.

Several companies are working on direct-to-consumer blood testing, but these tests are still too expensive and tedious to do frequently over a long period of time. Nevertheless, they might make experiments such as “how do sun exposure and supplements affect my vitamin D levels” possible.

Definitely useful for during exercise but I would also think it to be interesting to see for the hour(s) of recovery afterwards as well. I would also be interested in observing the response to my olympic weightlifting sessions as opposed to short crossfit style workouts (5-8 mins) as opposed to longer crossfit style workouts (20-25 minutes). Might even be able to correlate deeper sleep to different workouts and corresponding heart rates during sleep and upon waking. I don’t think there would be as much use for someone who does casual endurance training except for observing when they might not be recovering well.

Maybe. In my experiences (Granted - I have a cheap scale) I can gain upwards of 2-4 pounds after a meal and drink (Yes - I do eat a lot. Enough to warrant at least a 2 pound increase sometimes) and I will sometimes notice a drop of 3-5 pounds between a night weigh-in and a morning weigh-in. Definitely want to look into a better scale if I decide to try to add weight again or maybe just to observe anyway.

That’s really such a shame but I guess it’s a limitation of the technology. And also wasn’t a fan of the lack of API either. Wouldn’t it be great if someone would come along and try to help get the best of everyone’s ideas as an open source project?

Whoa that’s a huge paper. But looks very interesting! I’m going to add that to my list and hopefully get to peruse it soon.

I would love to get direct-to-consumer blood testing at an affordable rate. And an answer to such an experiment as that would also be lovely. sigh So many experiments and so little resources immediately available. It would be interesting to get a thread going of experiments that people would love to be able to investigate as well.

That link (‘The Pursuit of Noninvasive Glucose: “Hunting the Deceitful Turkey”’, John Smith) was much more interesting than I expected.