How I Dropped My Resting Heart Rate From 87 to 50 in 3 Months

I never ran for longer than 15 seconds.

Joey Wakeman
· 6 min read

Mandatory Disclaimer:

***I am not a medical doctor. I am a self-experimenter. This is my personal experience. Consult a medical doctor for any and all concerns related to your health.***


I’ve always had an oddly high resting heart rate, despite my healthy bodyweight, floating at around 85–100 beats per minute.

I never had a genuine concern for my health, but this heart rate absolutely perplexed me. Even when I ran cross country in high school, my heart would consistently beat around 90 times per minute.

My index and middle finger were pressed against my neck all wrong I would assume, trying to dismiss the measurement entirely. I felt a growing sense of embarrassment around my resting heart rate, as if it proved I was out of shape.

My pulse remained high through high school and college, until just recently when I made a holistic lifestyle shift.

In under three months, my heart rate dropped from 87 to 50, and I achieved this below-average heart rate while eating boatloads of butter and never running for longer than 15 seconds…

Pretty counterintuitive, right?

This is how I did it.

My Exercise Routine

1. I never ran for longer than 15 seconds.

First and foremost, I cut long-distance running entirely, opting instead for sprints once per week. That’s it. Just once per week, I ran a few sprints.

I would do between four and six sets of sprints, running between 50–100 meters, with long rest times. I would walk back to the start and catch my breath, taking about two to three minutes to rest between each sprint.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, as this is called, is a great way to stress your cardiovascular system while avoiding the detriments of long-distance running.

HIIT boosts testosterone and builds strength while endurance training can actually be catabolic to muscle mass.

2. I cycled my weight training.

My weight training consisted of a push, pull, and legs split. Pretty basic. However, I cycled my weeks between strength workouts and hypertrophy/endurance workouts.

Instead of lifting every day between 8 and 10 reps like most people do, I would work in the 2–5 rep range one week (strength), then 12–15 rep range the next week (hypertrophy/endurance). Essentially averaging at 8–10 reps without ever doing 8–10 reps.

I got this idea from Thomas DeLauer, and it worked like a charm.

The reason most people stick to the 8–10 rep range is that it’s “a happy medium” between strength and endurance. While this sounds good, it’s actually depriving you of both strength gains and endurance gains.

Rather than actually pushing your body strength-wise or endurance-wise, you’re simply avoiding both.

3. I sat in a sauna every day.

The health benefits of regular sauna use are remarkable. If I had to attribute my lower resting heart rate to any one thing in particular, it’s probably the sauna.

According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick, regular sauna use (4–7 times per week) decreases all-cause mortality by 40%. That means cancer, heart disease, diabetes, everything.

So, after my workouts, and even on rest days, I would sit in a sauna for 10–20 minutes. At the end of each session, my heart was racing and I felt like I was floating on clouds from the endorphin high.

My Nutrition

1. I ate a lot of fat.

I ate butter, olive oil, and almost a dozen eggs every day… I can feel all the old, 1970s doctors glaring at me in outrage.

“You’re gonna clog your arteries, kid!! Eat more whole grains! Just sprinkle sugar on it for flavor! And no salt!!!”

*Shudder*

As far as I understand it, the low-fat guidelines should be taken down. Since this propaganda began in the 1970s, obesity has skyrocketed and testosterone levels have fallen through the floor.

We need fat. It’s filling, causes no insulin spike, and it’s good for balancing your hormones. My resting heart rate only decreased when I upped my fat intake.

Sugar is the real enemy…

2. I eliminated gluten and reduced carbs, especially sugar.

Before I embarked on this lifestyle journey, I learned that gut health is quite possibly the most important facet of overall health.

The bacteria that inhabit your gut determine how you feel, how you look, and how you function. In fact, 90% of the serotonin floating around your body was created in the gut, along with dopamine, epinephrine, and other important neurotransmitters.

If you’re constantly bombarding your gut with sugar from grains like rice, bread, and potatoes, your microbiome shifts for the worst. All the healthy bacteria that consume vegetables and fats will starve to death, while the unhealthy yeasts thrive.

A misbalanced microbiome and damaged gut is estimated to be the cause of many autoimmune disorders, anxiety, depression, and general aches and pains.

Among the most detrimental foods for your gut to battle is gluten. Gluten takes the form a wrecking ball that tears through your gut lining, exposing undigested food to inflammatory cytokines in your blood. These white blood cells scream “war!!!” causing constant inflammation and heart disease.

That’s right… modern nutrition is pointing the finger at gut inflammation, sugar, and gluten as the real culprits causing heart disease. Not fat. Not dietary cholesterol.

During my three month journey to reduce my heart rate, I eliminated gluten entirely. I also kept my carb intake to a couple of pieces of fruit a day, along with vegetables. I had no limit on vegetables. Complex carbs and fibers are fine, only simple sugar is the enemy.

3. Fasts

Once every two weeks, I fasted for 24–36 hours. I also stuck to a time-restricted-feeding schedule where I only ate within a ten-hour timeframe every day (11:00 am to 9:00 pm).

In all honesty, I wasn’t perfect with either of these.

Despite my lack of regularity, I definitely did my fair share of fasts, with one of them reaching 42 hours. This particular fast was my first and I only planned to hit 36 hours, but I decided to push myself a little further as I was loving the clarity of mind.

The benefits of fasting are extremely well-established and can do wonders for your health. Fasting boosts autophagy, prevents cancer, reduces triglycerides, reduces insulin resistance, and sheds fat while preserving muscle.

Time-restricted-feeding, on the other hand, resets your circadian clock. This makes it easier to fall asleep and easier for your body to regulate hormones associated with food intake, like insulin.

Limiting your daily feeding window has been shown to reduce breast cancer and prevent weight gain, while the subjects ate the same food they always had.

4. My supplement stack

Supplements should be thought of only as supplements. My diet during this journey was absolutely my number one priority, but I decided to use supplements as a way to hasten progress.

With supplements, I aimed mainly to boost testosterone and heal my gut.

  1. Fish Oil (boosts everything good at 1–6 grams daily)
  2. Zinc (boosts testosterone)
  3. Vitamin D (boosts testosterone at 3,000 IU daily)
  4. Vitamin B Complex
  5. Magnesium
  6. Ashwagandha (reduces cortisol and boosts testosterone at 400–1000 mg daily)
  7. Probiotics (a healthy gut is #1)

Conclusion

When I set out to change my lifestyle, I focused on optimizing my gut health, my hormones, and on designing an exercise plan focused on strength. I wanted a holistic health shift.

While I wasn’t always perfect in sticking to my plan, it proved successful as my resting heart rate dropped from 87 bpm to 50 bpm in under three months. I also gained two pounds while my body fat dropped from 9% to 7.5%.

Counterintuitively, I did this without ever running for longer than 15 seconds…

Most people’s first move when they decide to “get in shape” is to go for a brutal three-mile jog that they’ll never do again. Most people throw away their butter and buy vegetable oil. They buy low-fat pretzels instead of regular pretzels and diet Pepsi instead of regular Pepsi.

Most people do health wrong… and at no fault of their own. They simply don’t know what’s best for them.

Eating without knowledge of nutrition is like driving without headlights…

It doesn’t end well.

Planning is key. Planning is everything. If you just say “I’m gonna eat healthier and jog twice a week,” you’re not going to get anywhere.

When you decide to lose weight or gain muscle, you should spend just as much time each day learning about exercise and nutrition as you spend actually exercising and eating.

For real results, you need more than good intentions. You need a holistic plan and you need research that supports that plan.

That’s my experience.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

Joey Wakeman

Written by

I‘m a self-experimenter and I write to share my experiences with you. Nutrition-Psychology-Politics

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

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