Heart Safety

IMG_5415 Tyler working hard

We don't pay too close attention to our hear rate during a workout.  We don't use heart rate monitors to check if we are working out hard enough or working out too hard.  We know that EXERCISE-INDUCED SINUS TACHYCARDIA is normal and healthy.  In Mary Conover's most recent article PAROXYSMAL SUPRAVENTRICULARTACHYCARDIA (PSVT) we learn that abrupt changes in heart rate should be taken very seriously.


Sarah Kerlin is a national cyclocross champion, international competitor, trusting believer, and very lucky survivor who happened to be in the right locker room at the right time.

For a chapter on “The Athlete’s ECG”, I wanted original ECGs from some of the top athletes in our Santa Cruz community. Among them was Sarah, who graciously allowed me to record her. My expectation was to see ECG evidence of an elite athlete, nothing more. What showed up was much more--Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, which, upon questioning her, turned out to be dangerously symptomatic and life threatening. When asked if she had ever felt a sudden acceleration of her heart rate; her answer was a resounding and surprised-to-be-asked: “YES, every morning when I wake up and once during competition.” Alarm bells!! She had no idea of the danger she was in.

After that we moved quickly and urgently. Finally, one morning I drove her into UCSF for her appointment with Dr. Mel Scheinman, Director of Cardiology. Dr. Scheinman and his experienced crew of physicians threaded a catheter into Sarah’s heart, identified the accessory pathway, and delivered radiofrequency energy to heat up and destroy that tiny errant strand of conductive muscle connecting her atria to a ventricle. Just like that—diagnosed on the locker room floor and cured two weeks later with an eloquent procedure in expert hands! Her alarming rapid heart rate wake-up call is now a faded memory. Sarah never doubted—just went ahead with what had to be done.

Read the complete article in Conover's Corner


Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
Handstand push-ups 5 reps
Bench press 135 pounds, 10 reps
Push press 95 pounds, 15 reps
Dips 20 reps