It’s been a long time since I’ve loved a product as much as Whoop. It’s helped opened my eyes to the fine balance between pushing myself hard, resting and recovering.
It’s also helped me be far more self aware of where my body is at, and what I can do to influence things.
Let’s rewind back a bit (I’ve been wearing a whoop band for about 45 days now).
It all started because I wanted to better understand how I was sleeping. As usual, I spent a lot of time looking at what products were on the market. I started to get a feeling that Whoop was one of the leaders in this space.
It did everything I wanted. It tracks how long you sleep, and your sleep quality. It’s also been benchmarked against the gold standard of sleep tracking – so I felt confident in the accuracy of it.
As I dug deeper, I realised that it was far more powerful than just a sleep tracking tool. It’s actually a much broader health device.
What seems to give it the edge on its competitors, is the way it uses and visualises the data. This helps you actually understand how to change your behaviours to improve things.
The product is build around three pillars:
Whoop auto detects when you fall asleep and wake up (I was blown away with how well it does this). Shortly after you wake, it gives you a detailed summary of your sleep. Here’s mine from last night:
I mostly look at two things. How much sleep I got, and how much REM and deep sleep I managed. I like to see my total sleep over 7 hours, and my REM and deep sleep to be above 40%. Last night’s sleep was pretty damn close – 6.55 and 38%.
Every day, you’re given a recovery score out of 100, and it’s banded green, orange and red:
Your recovery score is generated using three things:
- Heart Rate variability (HRV)
- Resting heart rate (RHR)
- Sleep quality
My recovery score today is super good (93%). A combination of fairly good sleep, a good HRV and a low RHR:
Strain measures the cardiovascular load your body takes on over the course of a day. Throughout the day, you get a real time strain score of between 0 and 21.
Your score is generated by your heart rate throughout the day. So, things like activity, but also other factors such as stress will affect your strain score.
Specific activities also get a strain score. Whoop auto detects when you’re active, and will also try and classify the type of activity. It’s surprisingly accurate at this. For example, it will auto detect when I go for a cycle (within a few minutes of starting and finishing) and auto detects it as a cycling activity.
Here’s how strain is visualised:
OK, so that all sounds well and good, but here is why I find Whoop particularly powerful.
I am much more self aware of how my body is doing on a day to day basis now. The equation of strain vs. recovery is always in the back of my mind. And this often changes how I approach my day.
For example, if I wake up to a low recovery score, I will tend to map out a gentler day. I also make a concerted effort to get to bed earlier. If I’m at crossfit, I will approach my workout entirely differently. I will keep at a moderate pace, and focus more on technique. It’s not the right time to go all out. On the flip side, if I see a green recovery score, I know I can let loose a bit.
The other thing I’ve noticed, is I’m more in tune with how my behaviours affect my HRV and sleep. I’m starting to see some patterns and this allows me to tweak my behaviours to improve things. Drinking alcohol too close to bed is a big one.
Lastly, they just get the basics right. The strap looks good and is comfortable. It’s water proof. The battery lasts 5 days, and it’s easy to charge without taking it off (no data loss). You can create and join community groups, so you can compare yourself against others. Oh, and they have a really great podcast.
Whoop does WAY more than I’ve outlined here. It’s worth checking out the product features for yourself.
As with most things that are good and work well, it’s on the pricier side of things. The strap is free, but you have to sign up for a $30 a month subscription. You can get it a touch cheaper if you sign up for a longer commitment.
If you click this link, you’ll get your first month free (and I’ll get a free month too!)
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