Life in the Fast Lane: Learning from Vitals
heart rate / cardiovascular | stress
Steve Zadig is the co-founder and COO of Vita Connect. He is 63 years old, about 10 pounds overweight and is a moderate QS'er. In this video, he discusses what he learns from his vitals from racing cars. He believes racing cars requires a lot of focus. Steve shares data from a race and and discuss how he uses it and what it means in his life.
Life in the Fast Lane Learning from Vitals
Life in the fast lane. So anyway learning from biosensors to improve personal performance. Steve Zadig cofounder and COO of Vital connect, and when I do this I’m generally totally covered from head to foot in safety gear, which you’ll see here in a second which hides that 63 year old white guy who’s sometimes in good shape with thanks to good genes, about 10 pounds overweight though but a moderate QS’er I would say.
So I sort of believe in the keep it simple approach which is sometimes propagated by our friends at Keiser, which is to eat less, exercise more, get plenty of rest and reduce your stress. If you can do those you can do a lot of good things for your body.
But at the same time I’m type A, so I like to build companies, organizations. I love my family and spend time with my children, and then occasionally people let me drive their racecars which I find to be great fun. But the question there is how do you achieve your goals?
So you want to lead a balanced life. You want to be focused. You want to use tools. You want to learn from the data of those tools they give and then provide changes in your behavior.
So what I’m going to present to you today is a case study in racing to win, or as we say in racing, ‘second place is first loser.’ So that requires focus, focus, focus, staying calm and in the moment and operating in the zone.
So the zone, the zone is that place where we are observers of our own activities right, in sport, in business, in life, where our focused mind allow us to slow everything down and we perform at our best. A very allusive place to find but one that we do.
So in racing, this is a snapshot of a minute and 45 seconds worth of data that we collect while racing in the car. Everything but the actual driver’s body is monitored. So in our case we want to monitor biosensors, but with all that gear on I cannot put on all of these discrete devices because they’re just going to clog me down, they’re going to get in my way and so it’s just too much stuff right. So what do we need?
Well, we need to be this guy. We need a guy that’s wearing a single device, it turns out I make that device, a simple patch that does all the things that we just showed you on the previous page.
And today what we want to concentrate on is heart rate, stress, and respiration.
So this is the patch, take my friendly iPhone which is running my data right now. Put it in my pocket of my drivers suit, get in the car and go off and try and control my emotions basically.
So the patch that we’ve developed does heart rate, respiration, all your actigraphy, determines your stress. We can do all sorts of different things, and if you’re curious come stop by our booth or out table for Vital Connect in the other room. This is really not a promo about Vital Connect necessarily.
So what I’ve learned and race a fair amount is that my heart rate at the beginning of a race is always 170 at the green flag, it drops to about 137 if I’m generally in a good place, and then by the end it’s down to about 110. Stress kind of follows that somewhat accordingly.
But the problem is that racing is a big effort by a lot of people. For every minute that I get to drive people have put in hours of time, so it’s kind of like no pressure Steve, just go out and win and don’t crash the car please, right, so that’s kind of what happens.
So getting in the car itself is just a trick with all that gear on, and as you can see from the data in the highlighted area, you know heart rate is going along, stress is moderate, respiration because I’ve got to huff and puff to get in that darn thing and get strapped in place and gets ready to go.
But then here we are, and I swear to God that this has never happened to me in 200 races but during the warmup and 500 pounds of horsepower under my right foot I hit the gas a little too hard, and around I go. All the other drivers are going by going, what a buffoon, look at that guy.
So meanwhile my heads exploding, 10 or 12 cars have gone by, I’m angry at myself and I need to tell the team, and I just screwed up and yikes, I know my stress from learning based on the tools is going over the roof.
So basically because we have cameras and data, here’s the data and guess what? That little spike in stress and respiration, and there’s my stress spike, obviously something happened right.
So knowing that is power right, knowledge is power, so what I did was get the car back on the track. I know I’m stressed out, I’ve got to use that knowledge, I’ve got to slow down my breathing,. Clear my mind, now think about my new strategy at the start, and what I’m going to do.
So here’s the next data screen that’ll show you I actually did that. I calmed down, my heart rate dropped, my breathing dropped, and my stress dropped but not as far as I would like, as I got things back under control and started thinking again.
So a couple of minutes go by as we slowly go around and get ready for the start. Here’s the start and thank god for 500 horsepower and 450 pounds of torque, I’ve got to pass as many guys as possible at the start; this is not your normal commute, and I’ve got to get my car up in a place where it’s reasonably safe when all these guys slow down for this corner.
Okay, so obviously there was a little increase in my activity level,my stress at the start. But basically what happened was I was able to pass about seven of the guys that went by me on the first lap and get in a reasonably good position.
So now the next goal is to go through and get myself really in the zone, so I’ve had a good start. I need to relax and have fun, be patient, listen to my teams coaching, and just drive the car and let it do its job and soon, with great luck I was in the zone. And the next data will show that point, which if you remember the earlier data showed that I typically would be at 137 but actually I got down to very low stress and low heart rate around 100.
And this is really where it’s kind of fun. You‘re passing a lot of people and I ended up passing everybody and actually winning the race, which was great, zooming by that guy, and getting the checkered flag here and everybody was actually pretty happy with me and I didn’t crash the car.
So anyway that’s sort of you know the relief, the elation, there’s yahoos at the end and the stress kind of goes up as everybody’s going at you and maybe you’re a little embarrassed. And this is sort of an indication of the sort of things that we can do with data and knowledge of what happened.
So we had a very good season this year. We won 10 of 15 races, we won two championships, and we’re getting ready to to the endurance monster, which is known as the 25 hour of Thunder Hill, which I’m going to do with a couple of guys that won Le Mans, so that’s going to be kind of interesting and I’m sure I’ll be a little tense for that.
Anyway data lessons learned. You know the data provides insight to help your performance, and although mistakes happen, if we’ve learned from that data we can calm down and focus and get better results. And by the way, winning is good right, we like to win.
But you know, transferring that information into everyday life, it can be stressful and challenging, work related, relationships, illness. And so the emergence of these tools that we’re talking about here at the conference gives us the tools to know sooner, know better, and know faster. Therefore thanks QS for letting me do this little ego run and showing you what tools have done.