Morpheus Recovery is an application developed by Joel Jamieson for the purpose of optimizing training and recovery. By importing heart rate, heart rate variability and a number of other components this system analyzes the current state of a person’s body and helps them to determine how best to approach training each day.
People in combat sports may know Joel from seeing him in the cage with the former UFC Champion Demetrius “Mighty Mouse” Johnson; Jamieson is DJ’s long-time strength and conditioning coach.
Bioforce HRV was Joel’s first HRV measurement system and I used it (incorrectly) in 2013 to prepare for my first jiu jitsu tournament. I was writing a series for Breaking Muscle documenting my physical preparation and in my research I had found Joel’s website, 8weeksout.com.
I contacted Joel to ask some questions about his program and I bought his book, Ultimate MMA Conditioning. Even after reading the book, I still didn’t really understand what I was doing, however I was much better off than I was before reading it! (This is why hiring a coach like Joel is so wise – this stuff can be very tricky to figure out on your own.) Here we are six years later, almost exactly, and now I’m kind of able to figure it out but it’s been a long road of learning. Doing what I know I should be doing is still another issue.
If I really want to provide an accurate review of Morpheus, I will have to incorporate the programming and training with Morpheus components, which I haven’t been using to date. I’ve only been checking my recovery score every morning, the same way I was when I was using the old Bioforce HRV system, making changes to lifestyle as necessary and deciding how to train based on my recovery score.
Morpheus is capable of providing much more impact than that. Over the next few weeks I will take advantage of this phenomenal tool and report back in a series of articles how it’s working for me and what I’m learning. My goals are to increase my HRV score from an average in the mid seventies to the eighties and to lower my resting heart rate from mid sixties to at least in the high fifties.
MORPHEUS: THE FOUR QUADRANTS
You can see in the screenshot of my home screen that there are four quadrants in the Morpheus app: Sleep, HRV, Activity and Train. Each segment imports information from various devices or external apps and incorporates everything into a daily recovery score.
For me, the upper left section, sleep, is imported from Fitbit. To track sleep I’ve been using the Fitbit Blaze. With the Blaze, the total hours of sleep are calculated based on Fitbit’s algorithms using your heartbeat, heart rate variability and your movement patterns. You may not realize how many times you wake up during the night but as you can see in the analysis below, it can happen quite often. Fitbit deducts those incidents from your total sleep time.
To learn more about the importance of sleep, check out Joe Rogan’s podcast with Matthew Walker.
HEART RATE VARIABILITY (HRV)
The upper right segment is the HRV segment and this is what the old Bioforce HRV app used to track. This data is pulled in from the Morpheus Recovery Band, which you wear on your forearm. I have the original band but people who purchase the system now will get the new and improved M5 armband with zone tracking display and the capability of recording workouts. So what is HRV?
To put it simply, HRV is: a non-invasive gauge of autonomic nervous system (ANS) function.
The ANS is divided into two branches:
Sympathetic (fight or flight)
Parasympathetic (rest and digest)
Each branch is responsible for relaying info back to the brain and causing changes in the tissues so that the body can adapt to its environment.
How HRV works: the electrical signals from the brain to the heart are broken down into a pattern and quantified as the amount of time from one beat to the next.
The heart beats in different patterns depending on the influence of the two branches of the ANS.
The greater the influence of the parasympathetic nervous system, the higher the HRV value; the opposite is true for the sympathetic nervous system.Source: https://www.8weeksout.com/hrv-training-revolution-day-1/
In the video below, you will see me taking my HRV test and going through the results. I will also demonstrate importing a training session from the M3 Chest Strap. The test is 2.5 minutes and is best done first thing in the morning, every morning. Please check out the free HRV course Joel has offered on his website to learn more about HRV.
My YouTube video is pretty long. It has explanations of the different settings, results, recovery factors and training with Morpheus. Since some might find it all tedious, I’ve broken the video down into segments with timestamps:
02:48 Fitbit Blaze and sleep tracking
04:34 Morpheus Recovery test
09:20 Results analysis and the effects of lifestyle
17:12 Training with Morpheus and M3 chest strap demo
Morpheus can be used to monitor heart rate zones when training with the recovery band but for vigorous activities you’ll need a Bluetooth chest strap. The optical sensor in the recovery band cannot get an accurate reading when it is moving very quickly. I used to use the Polar H10 chest strap but this strap had to be connected to my phone in order to track my training. The new M3 Chest Strap from Morpheus records workouts and does not require connection during training.
I’m a jiu jitsu hobbiest. I don’t compete, I mostly flow roll because I’ve been dealing with a back injury for the past four years. I use the M3 Heart Rate Monitor chest strap during BJJ and have not found it to get in the way at all.
If you have questions about specs and capabilities, you can find a full write up here. Regarding my experience with using the chest strap, I find it a lot more convenient than using the Polar H10 because I just put it on, it records my workout and then I import it into Morpheus to see how the training affected my recovery score. I can also connect to Morpheus as I’m training to monitor my heart rate zones as I train.
M3 Chest Strap Specs
- Compatible with ALL Bluetooth, ANT+ and 5 kHz devices and apps.
- 13 hours of memory that can be uploaded directly to Morpheus.
- Extended range up to 30ft for a better connection.
- Unique ID to eliminate confusion when connecting to the app.
Watching the above video, I can really see how Joel has taken all of his previous training and tracking methods and incorporated it into the Morpheus system.
With Morpheus, specifically with the new recovery band that he’s developed for the system, you can easily see what zone you’re training in and adjust your training appropriately. You can see below, I went to the gym on March 6, 2019 to do a recovery workout and so I connected to Morpheus as I was training. My zones were displayed on the screen and when I saw that I was going outside of recovery (blue) and into conditioning (green) I tried my best to slow down and make sure I didn’t go into overload. My workout improved my recovery for the day by 2%.
Initially I was tracking steps with the Fitbit Blaze but where my training is focused on BJJ and strength and conditioning, I decided it wasn’t necessary to track steps where I know I have an average of 7,500 to 10,000 steps every day. I received a pretty new watch from Jord to review so I’m wearing that instead.
When you purchase the Morpheus Recovery system, you will have access to the online community. For me, this is a big asset because there are a lot of high level of athletes who chime in and help with questions or progress posts.
Since I began using Bioforce HRV, and now the new Morpheus Recovery system, I rely on my daily recovery score to see how my body is doing. It’s a product I wouldn’t want to do without and it’s been interesting to see how Joel has worked over the years to bring everything together into one system so athletes can see the big picture. Since I purchased my recovery band last year, he’s already come out with an new and improved recovery band and the M3 chest strap.
In addition to his tech products, Jamieson also has a Certified Conditioning Coach program that is on my bucket list for a future review. I admire Joel’s never-ending quest for knowledge and improvement and although there were bugs in the beginning with both Morpheus and the M3, I knew they would be resolved and I’m looking forward to supporting his next venture.
Get your Morpheus Recovery System for $147US and M3 Chest Strap for $57US at TrainWithMorpheus.com. Morpheus can be used with both iPhone and Android.