Nutrition & Lifestyle Basics

I’ve been working on and off with nutrition and lifestyle for health and performance over the last 15 years, dropping weight by 15 Kg and doubling physical capacity. Those around me would have to judge cognitive performance, but I’m certainly a lot happier. This Case Study is about using HRV NAD Ooler for what next.

Oura Ring & HRV & Ooler

Having reached a plateau of sorts mixed up with whatever minor changes happen to adapt to aging and lifestyle, it’s been interesting to add in the Oura Ring to objectively measure progress.

What I’ve found is my readiness (an aggregate measure of overall sleep, HRV and activity) is typically around 80%, dropping to 70% if I fall off the horse, or worst to date is 49% after travelling back from Europe after a 10 day business trip.

It’s been interesting correlating periods of intense REM sleep to how it feels in the morning. REM sleep is the bit where the body processes yesterday’s memories – often impaired for people with PTSD. Another more formal explanation is “REM sleep provides superior comprehension of the social world the following day”. Rose & I typically felt we’d had a poor nights sleep when we’ve maxed out on REM sleep before waking, so it’s been a transformation to understand that what feels all over the place may actually be a great sleep.

Details aside, generally about once every 4-6 weeks I get a 90+% that correlates to feeling like the world is my oyster, but it’s been tricky trying to get a bunch of them in a row – until now.

Stacking up a bunch of 90% days is a big deal for me, both because it feels great and because it gets harder to make big gains after the initial honeymoon period while sorting the basics of nutrition and lifestyle .


I’m yet to pin down exactly what it is that’s made such a difference, but it’s some mix of NAD, cold showers and perhaps the Ooler Chilli Pads i.e.

  • NAD is a building block of energy (and DNA repair) that we have when we are young and then we don’t have as much of when we age. Supplementing NAD is a bit tricky and expensive, but getting a bunch of interest from those who want to choose when they get old and tired. I’m pretty sure I started getting repeated 90% readiness scores as a result of taking NAD. 90% readiness sees me lumber-jacking on a hill for a whole day with a 25 year old and having gas left in the tank at the end of the day. The only way I’ll be sure it’s the NAD that’s making the difference is to stop taking it, which I’m not quite ready to do until I’ve got the winter wood all stored!
  • Despite Scottish blood coursing through me, I’m not much into cold water and have engaged in delaying tactics despite being told by a bunch of people including Martin Tobias from to harden up. However Glenn & Harriet from Tasman Performance related a pact from a bunch of their mates for no screen-time until after a cold shower in the morning and I was shamed into action. This has turned out to have multiple benefits including a focus on breathing, a boost in energy and delaying the “fight or flight” aspect of smartphones to start the day off on a better keel. Ending a shower with 30 seconds of cold water is certainly easier in summer and hopefully I’ll have discovered my inner “Wim Hof” before winter so I can keep it up.
  • I started Ooler Chillipad before Xmas too and that’s likely part of the mix. For some reason maintaining a stable cool body temperature while sleeping is reported as having a disproportionate effect on increased HRV. Different people report different gains with the Ooler, but it all seems to be positive. I think it’s doing something, but NAD, or NAD & showers is probably having a bigger effect for me (in my N-of-1 opinion).
Aaron setting the standard for energy and performance
Dr Aaron Jungmann showing us where it’s at for energy and performance

Bumps on the Road

  • Air travel. Even business class travel combined with TZ shifts has horrendous week long impact on readiness. Maybe Air New Zealand being so unreliable out of Nelson is just them trying to look after our health! (yeah right)
  • Alcohol. a glass of wine costs me about 20% readiness for a night it appears. Part of that is general i.e. it messes with breathing and temperature, particularly at my age & stage. I suspect I’ve primed my body negatively with wine by consuming so much over the years, just like dairy farmers get allergic to milk. Under the right circumstances, I’ve found I can still have a beer in the afternoon every now and again without paying an unacceptable price.


  • Having the basics of nutrition and lifestyle sorted provides access to benefits from more advanced interventions
  • There’s no single magic ingredient for improving HRV and readiness – what works is different for everyone depending upon many factors
  • 90% readiness feels great and is more important to me than the nutritional and lifestyle cocktail that leads in my opinion to chronic disease outcomes. I’ve got stuff to do and I want to be in the shape to do it.

Want to know more? Start a free trial.