Frequently Asked Questions

How does Vitness Rx work?

Vitness Rx is grounded in modern science and tracks a bio-marker called heart rate variability (HRV) as a verifiable indicator of the stress level in an individual’s cardiac and nervous system. Vitness Rx gives fitness connoisseurs the ability to use exercise as a tool for losing weight, toning up and maximizing performance without putting the body at risk for burnout. For example, if a person’s HRV indicates a high degree of stress and lack of recovery they will get a “REST” Rx. If a person is somewhat recovered but not ready for higher intensity training they get a “BE MODERATE” Rx. If a person is fully recovered and ready to push the limits they will get a “GO HARD” Rx.
VitnessRx is a co-creation of Vitness LLC and HRV Fit Ltd. The patented HRV measurement method was created by HRV Fit Ltd.

What equipment do I need to get started?

To get started, you need an iPhone (4s or later) or iPod touch (2nd generation or later). You need to purchase the Vitness Rx Starter Kit that includes the Vitness Rx ECG receiver or Bluetooth chest strap, sport armband, travel tote, and User Guide. You will receive a “Vitness Rx Authorization Code” with your Starter Kit that will help you unlock the app. You will not be able to unlock the Vitness Rx app without purchasing your the Starter Kit.

Do I have to go to the iTunes Store to download the app?

Yes, you have to go to the iTunes Store to download the Vitness Rx app.

Define the fitness prescriptions (GO HARD, BE MODERATE, REST) that Vitness Rx recommends

A GO HARD Rx is recommended on the days when your Vitality Score HIGH, your system is fully recovered and ready to push it’s limits. These are the days when its optimum to train hard and push your anaerobic threshold.
– Target Heart Rate Ranges= 80% and above of maximum heart rate
– GO HARD Rx workouts include: plyometrics, high intensity interval training sprinting (running, biking, etc), heavy weight lifting, fast jump roping, or any rapid burst of hard exercise

A BE MODERATE Rx is recommended on the days when your Vitality Score is AVERAGE and your system is somewhat recovered but not ready for higher intensity training. These are the days when you should reduce intensity and stay in you aerobic training zone.
– Target Heart Rate Ranges = 65-80% of your maximum heart rate
– BE MODERATE Rx workouts include: pilates, moderate circuit training, jogging, swimming, moderate cycling, surfing, etc.

A REST Rx is recommended on the days when your Vitality Score is LOW and your system needs time to recover from the prior day’s stress. These are the days when there should be very minimal intensity during your training.
– Target Heart Rate Ranges = 65% and below of your maximum heart rate
– REST Rx workouts include: mellow yoga, tai chi, qigong, thai yoga therapy, walking, etc.

Interpreting Vitness Rx results
The User Guide provides a comprehensive overview of how to get the most out of Vitness Rx.
Download Vitness Rx User Guide

Can I take multiple Vitality Score readings during the day?

You can take multiple readings during a day and save them, but only the first measurement you Save on any one day will appear in your Vitality Chart and Log. You can see your multiple readings only by exporting all your data via email.

If I forgot to take my Vitality Assessment in the morning, but still want to workout, what should I do?

On the days when you forget to take your Vitality Assessment upon waking, it is recommended to take a subjective assessment. Simply sit with your eyes closed, and breath deep for a min. Then ask yourself, where is my energy at from 1-10. If your energy lies between 0-5 do a REST Rx. If your energy is between 6-8, perform a BE MODERATE Rx. If you energy is between a 9-10, perform a GO HARD Rx.

Do I have to workout right after I take my Vitality Assessment?

You don’t have to workout right after you complete your Vitality Assessment. The Vitness Rx recommendation is good for the whole day.

I just got my Vitness Rx Starter Kit and I keep getting 'BE MODERATE'. Why?

Until a baseline is created (need at least 3 Vitality Scores to be saved) your workout recommendation will be BE MODERATE. The more often you take your Vitality Assessments, the more accurate the Vitness Rx workout recommendations become.

Can I change my playlist or check my email in the middle of my workout?

If you have to leave the Vitness Rx app while working out, your heart rate monitor will continue to function unless you press the Stop button.

My iPhone/iPod screen keeps auto-locking and I can't see my heart rate monitor? What should I do?

To enable your device’s screen to stay on longer, find the “Setting” icon on your device’s home screen. In the Settings menu, click on “General”. Scroll down until you find the “Auto-Lock” tab and click on “Never”. Once you conclude your workout, you can reset your Auto-Lock to whichever setting you like to preserve your devices battery life.

What do the white and green lines mean in the Vitality Chart?

The white line on the Vitality Chart represent your daily readings, while the green line is your rolling average to help you see trends. As you collect more readings you can cycle through time views by pressing the tabs labeled Week, Month, 3-Month, and All.

How do I export my Vitness Rx data?

All of your Vitness Rx readings can be exported via dropbox or to the email address of your choice. That could be a friend, personal trainer, doctor, coach, or yourself in order to include in your training log or just to keep a safe copy.
The file is in .csv (comma separated variable) format and can be imported into many spreadsheet programs such as Excel, Numbers and OpenOffice. These programs will do some basic formatting for you when you open the file, and will put the Date, Vitality Score, recommended fitness prescription (Vitness Rx workout), Length of Workout, and Calories Burned into separate columns.

Why don't I get the same reading when I repeat the measurement?

You need to think of an HRV measurement more like a blood pressure than an HR measurement (in fact HRV and blood pressure are regulated by exactly the same parts of the nervous system).

Many people have heard of ‘white coat hypertension’ – that’s when your blood pressure is higher in the Doctor’s office simply because you are anxious. That same anxiety or lack of relaxation will also lower your HRV.

We strongly recommend doing one reading and not repeating without leaving a 5-10min break if you really think the first measurement was wrong.

The breathing rate is also very important for consistency, as explained in the following quote from Dr Liz Miller, a former neurosurgeon, psychologist & author:

The emphasis is getting people to breathe right, which maximizes HRV because breathing profoundly affects HRV – Heart Rate Variation is largely due to the changes that occur during breathing – breathe in – Heart Rate goes up – breathe out – Heart Rate goes down. These changes are healthy, normal and partly relate to the mechanics and partly to the autonomic (sympathetic and parasympathetic) nervous system. The greater the changes between breathing in and breathing out, the healthier and fitter your heart and lungs and autonomic system.

In other words heart rate variability measures the amount your heart rate changes from moment to moment. Most of this difference is due to breathing patterns.

Any change in mental state, even if you are an Indian meditation guru will change your pattern of breathing – the two are inextricably linked! Anxiety produces shallow fast breathing, calm produces slow deeper breathing. The slower and more consistently you breathe, the greater your HRV at any moment, up to a maximum that relates to your own personal fitness and gives you a Vitality Score.

Inconsistent breathing, even slight, profoundly affects HRV. Although most people learn subliminally that to get their best reading, they need to follow the animation on the screen, and breathe in a slow and measured fashion, it is possible to mess with your HRV by fractionally altering your breathing. This will happen if you are anxious, tired or otherwise stressed.

From a user point of view – taking your Vitality Assessment needs to be a peaceful ritual. You sit and relax for a couple of minutes, watch the graphic on the screen and then when you are feeling calm, join in breathing with it and then when you are happy your breathing is nicely synchronized, switch on the device and take your Vitality Assessment.

Having trouble with some aspect of using Vitness Rx? Perhaps one of the headings below describes the problem and possible solutions. The Vitnes Rx Users Guide is also a great resource.

No heart rate signal getting picked up. The heart does not pulse after pressing Start and the two indicators at the top of the screen stay red.

Things to check:
The receiver is pushed all the way into the phone and is not blocked by a case or cover. It has a firm ‘click’ when seated correctly.

Make sure the chest strap is compatible and that the skin contacts are moistened and that it is tight without being uncomfortable

The Vitness Rx logo on the receiver is facing forward and that the receiver is no more than 8-10″ (25cm) from the center of the chest strap

Unexpected or inconsistent readings. You get HRV readings that are much higher or lower than you were expecting, or inconsistent readings.

If the HRV number decreases and / or the resting HR increases during multiple readings, then you are not relaxed enough. HRV is a sensitive measure of stress, whether physical or mental, and anxiety about the HRV reading will lower it. Some people like to do their measure as soon as they get out of bed, while others prefer to walk around, or do some light stretching as part of their morning routine, then do the measure. The way you breathe will also affect the Vitality Assessment. Breathe in time when the dial swipes green, and out when the dial swipes purple. Focus on the flow of air in and out of your nose & mouth. Never force your breathing.
If you have further trouble make sure your chest strap is tight enough and the skin contacts are not moist enough. This quick video will help you ensure you are using the chest strap correctly.


Does the way I breathe affect my Vitness Rx readings?

Heart rate variability and breathing are intimately connected, and that is the reason we included the paced breathing of the dial animation to provide consistency in the measurement. The chosen breathing rate is based on highly respected research into the effects of breathing rate on HRV; however some people feel it is too fast for them, especially if they are practiced deep breathers. You can choose your own breathing rate if you prefer, but HRV is a sensitive measurement, so keep it consistent from one day to the next, and never take HRV readings when breathing irregularly.

How does HRV compare with morning pulse measurement?

Taking your morning pulse is a classic check for signs that your body is under stress & needs recovery, and is probably performed by at least 50% of experienced runners & other athletes. A morning pulse rate a few beats per minute higher than normal is a sign to go easy. The trouble is that there are mutliple factors able to influence your heart rate and it is not that easy to perform the test accurately or to track when changes become significant enough to take action.
You can think of the Vitness Rx app’s Vitality Assessment as a more sensitive, up to date morning pulse test where the readings and calculations are all done with high precision and stored to develop personalized decision making criteria on when it is right for you to train, how hard to train, and when to rest.
Just remember when comparing the two that a higher HRV number is a good thing, indicating better rest & recovery, whereas a higher resting heart rate is bad and may indicate accumulated fatigue.

What is heart rate variability?

Heart rate variability, or HRV for short, describes the way your heart beat varies – both at rest, and during exercise. Contrary to popular belief, the healthy heart does not beat like a metronome, but is constantly changing the time between beats in a rhythmic way. These changes are driven by the nervous system, constantly trying to find the most efficient way for the body to operate. The fact that the nervous system makes itself visible through HRV makes the heart a wonderful barometer of how hard your body is trying to preserve its equilibrium.
HRV has been used in hospitals for many years, mostly to help very sick patients whose beats are very regular, with little HRV, and has also been used in high end systems to help elite athletes. The widespread availability of heart rate monitor chest straps and the computing power packed into an iPhone mean that competitive & recreational athletes can now benefit from the big improvements in training effectiveness that HRV monitoring brings.
Intensive, or high volume, exercise will stress & tire your body, and this stress is reflected as reduced HRV. Recovery, which is vital both for improved athletic performance and general good health will cause your daily HRV to rise, letting you know that you are both getting fitter and avoiding staleness & sickness.

How can I benefit from using Vitness Rx?

Three words: Optimize Your Exercise. By listening closely to your heart using HRV, Vitness Rx tells you when to train, how hard to train and when to rest. Once you are giving your body a training load it can cope with, your training effectiveness will improve, and you will not lose nearly as much time to over reaching related illness (such as coughs & colds) or unproductive sessions.
It’s hard for anyone (even experienced competitors sometimes) to judge whether they are under or over doing their training. While the first leads to disappointing performance, the second can result in increased sick days through colds, persistent fatigue or worst case, substantial periods of layoff from exercise.
The simplest way to start using HRV to guide your training is to take a measurement using the Vitness Rx app every morning, then train as normal, according to your plans. If your reading drops significantly, take this as an early warning that you are overloading the system. A small drop is OK as long as you recover. Training is all about stress and recovery and a hard session will lower your number. But if it stays low even with rest you could be on the edge of trouble. Using Vitness Rx daily to monitor training stress is the best thing you can do to make your training safe and effective.

Who uses heart rate variability?

Top amateur and professional athletes from sports such as running, football, cycling and rowing use heart rate variability to help assess their training load & readiness for matches and competition. HRV analysis is used extensively in sports science research to assess the body’s adaptation to training by becoming fitter.
HRV analysis is normally performed under coach supervision using specialized software that requires a sports science background and specific training. Vitness Rx is an easy to use product that allows the benefits of HRV training to be gained by anyone with an iPhone or iPod touch and a desire to increase their fitness and vitality.