If you’ve heard of the WHOOP, and you’ve been following me for any period of time, it should come of no surprise to you that I’m reviewing it.
I LOVE any tech that’s going to help me perform better!
And right now the WHOOP strap is one of the most talked about things in the wearable tech world.
But if you haven’t heard of the WHOOP, keep reading to find out what it can do to start making you better now.
In this review I’m going to be sharing with you all that I’ve experienced over my many months of using the strap. I’ve been wearing it for 2+ years.
***Update: I’ve now been wearing my WHOOP strap for over 18 months and still recommend it to all of my athletes. We just keep getting more data and WHOOP keeps improving how they analyze our data.***
What the WHOOP Strap is…
To say it simply, the WHOOP Strap is a revolutionary fitness tracker that world class athletes, high performance enthusiasts, self tracking nerds, and anyone looking to optimize their life will drool over.
Well, maybe not drool, but they will think that it’s super cool! 🙂
Because of this, WHOOP is the tracker used by top athletes around the world, including top CrossFit athletes San Dancer and Jared Stevens.
Oh, it’s also used by many other world class athletes that you might have heard of… LeBron James maybe?
The reason these top athletes use WHOOP is that it’s an “always on” fitness tracker that is constantly measuring health indicators in their body.
And with this information they can make better decisions around training, sleep, and other recovery factors.
In essence it will make them perform better.
With the WHOOP I am better able to tell if my body is recovered, and if I know I’m recovered, I can train harder with more confidence.
Or on the flip side – I know if my body is internally trashed (aka not recovered), and can take a day off, or have some active recovery (like today)…
Side note: man, I wish I would have had the WHOOP before getting myself into adrenal fatigue. I could have avoided it altogether.
What is the WHOOP measuring
It is measuring heart rate variability (HRV), heart rate, body temperature, and movement.
HRV is the measurement of the difference between beats of your heart, and by measuring HRV you can tell the health of your autonomic nervous system on a daily basis.
A higher variance (or inconsistency) between heart beats will indicate a higher HRV, and a more potent nervous system. So, you want variance. Chaos is good! 🙂
The thing that WHOOP does to set itself apart from other HRV trackers (that are usually done via chest strap first thing in the morning), is they take your HRV score during your deepest sleep cycle (Slow Wave Sleep).
This should give you a much more accurate HRV, and in turn, a more accurate recovery score/reading.
If you’ve ever used a traditional morning HRV reading with a chest strap, you know how the score can be easily manipulated by breathing, moving around, stress, etc.
I’ve even noticed that if I accidentally see a stressful text pop up before I take my morning HRV, my score will usually be lower.
Simply put, your score from a morning HRV reading isn’t always accurate, which can be frustrating.
With the WHOOP you don’t have to worry about that.
Another health indicator that is gathered constantly by WHOOP is your heart rate.
Having a constant reading of your heart rate is a great indicator of stress throughout the day.
And you’ll even start to see patterns that can tell you if you’re starting to overtrain or get sick.
It’s quite awesome!
Let’s talk about Sleep
I don’t want to take this section lightly, so I made a header ;-). Take a look at this (below).
On the left: There is a sleep tracker in WHOOP iPhone app with a coaching function that will tell you exactly how much sleep you need to peak the next day.
On the right: From the iPhone app, WHOOP measures not only your sleep quantity, but your sleep quality.
You can see exactly what sleep cycles you went through during the night, and for how long.
If you’re a hard charging person… the sleep data could be the most beneficial part of WHOOP (possibly by far).
To get even more detailed analysis you can log on to WHOOP.com from your computer, where you’re able to see detailed bar graphs to compare your sleep (Strain or Recovery) over time.
Getting the right amount of sleep will literally change your life.
You’ll not only recover faster, but you’ll perform better, and think better.
In a study done by WHOOP, athletes who used the device increased their amount of sleep each night by 41 minutes.
Side note: This is great data if you’re testing out a new mattress, pillow, or some black out curtains. Which everyone should have, by the way.
Another of WHOOP’s features is their Trends screen.
Being able to see Trends, as it relates to your Recovery, Day Strain, and Sleep will give you a clearer idea of those times that you might be overreaching.
This is incredibly beneficial for those of you/us that complete in races (marathons, half marathons, triathlons, etc.) and competitions (CrossFit, fighting, etc.).
Recently, I completed in a CrossFit competition that included 5 workouts. Just so you have an idea, the common (1 day) CrossFit competition includes 3 workouts, and a final event for the top 3-8 teams. So, this was more than I had ever competed in 1 day. #longday
With the Trends screen I was able to identify that it took me over 3 weeks to recover from that competition. And knowing that information I’ve been able to make sure that I’ve added more days off, and I can plan future competitions to have more down time to get back to training hard, faster.
What’s New with WHOOP… Weekly Performance Assessment
In July 2018 WHOOP launched a new feature called Weekly Performance Assessment that allows you to quickly and easily see a few cool things…
– Training State: If you’re Day Strain aligns with your Recovery Score
– Sleep Status: If you’re Sleep is in the Optimal range
– A Comparison of where you rank in relation to other athletes in your age range. This seems to change each week, and is pretty fun to look to see how you’re doing compared to your peers (for me it’s men ages 35-50).
I have personally found that seeing the weekly review has caused me to do my best to align my day strain with my Recovery Score much more than I did prior to having this Weekly Performance Assessment.
For example, if I’m 80% recovered (in the green), I know that I should get my day strain at above 10.0 for the day (and probably even higher). That means I’ll be checking my day strain throughout the day and adding more training volume (that’s usually cardio for me) if I’m not getting the strain high enough.
All in all, I really love this new feature!
Who is the WHOOP for…
In my opinion the WHOOP is for anyone that wants to perform at the top of their potential in any sport or activity.
If you get excited about feeling better, performing at a high level (mentally or physically), or simply optimizing your body, this tool is for you.
That being said, to get something this cool does come at a price. The WHOOP Strap is $18-30/month, with a minimum six month commitment.
Although, I could make an argument why most athletes should be using the WHOOP. And you can get a month FREE by using the code ALLAROUNDJOE…
… For those of you that need to justify a purchase like this, it could also be looked at as preventative maintenance.
That is… if you are able to make sure your nervous system is functioning at it’s maximum level, and you’re getting the right amount of sleep, you will be a healthier person overall.
In fact, I have had athletes in my CrossFit gym get the WHOOP Strap, and start feeling and performing better in just a few weeks.
Which is why I recommend that all of my competitive CrossFit athletes get one.
Another cool thing I must mention…
The machines are learning!
Because you’re always wearing the WHOOP, it’s always gathering data about your body. And with the amazing technology of machine learning, the device will be learning more about you each day. Not to mention, getting better, and better at predicting how recovered you are.
I can confidently say that my WHOOP does a better job at knowing if I’m recovered today, than it did when I first got it.
What need to be improved…
I’ve spent this whole post talking about how awesome the WHOOP is, and it is truly awesome, but I do feel like there is some room for improvement.
My biggest gripe of the WHOOP is that it currently doesn’t sync with other health apps (like MyFitnessPal or Apple Health) to make correlations between recovery and other factors (like food, cold therapy, etc.).
I’m confident there are correlations that athletes can use to improve recovery even further. And because of this, we need to take as much guessing out of our lives as possible to maximize performance.
That being said, I have talked with many people at WHOOP, and they are a very smart bunch, so I would expect that things like this are in the works.
Strange readings with CrossFit
In my testing of WHOOP I’ve had some strange readings that seem to have taken some time for the machine learning to figure out.
For example, even though you might think of a CrossFit workout as something that jacks your heart rate, I’ve found that my average 8-12 minute CrossFit workout (metcon) will only get my heart rate to around 150 beats per minute (BPM).
But, that 150 BPM could be a 21 out of 21 on the perceived rate of exertion scale for how hard it was (to me).
Because of how the WHOOP calculates strain on the body, this would not be much of a strain if we just looked at that data alone.
Although, if I were to go for a 30 minute run at a similar hart rate, which doesn’t feel nearly as hard on my body, it would tell me the run was more strain.
This is where making sure that you track your workouts in WHOOP is very important.
Tracking your workouts will let the machines know that a 8-12 minute workout was very hard on your body, and it should weigh the strain more heavily.
Lastly… the band that comes with the WHOOP is very comfortable, but stretches out. And some of the other bands are so stiff that they can break during a workout.
For now, I’m sticking with the Technica band, and having to replace it every couple months.
In the end do you need this…
Nobody really “needs” any of these types of tech devices, but that doesn’t mean they can’t significantly improve your life.
And I can 100% say that using the WHOOP has been an integral part in figuring out how to optimize my CrossFit performance.
I am able to peak more often, train harder, and improve faster if I only train 4 days a week (most weeks).
And based on my recovery score I know which days I can (and should) train harder.
Only training 4 days a week is looked at as hardly training at all by the competitive CrossFit world, but at this training volume I am more fit than I have ever been.
I am currently recommending that all of the competitive athletes at my gym get a WHOOP.
They can also use the code ALLAROUNDJOE to get MONTH FREE. And so can you!
I have a belief that if you’re going to do something… You should do it the absolute best that you can.
And if you want to get the best fitness tracker available, WHOOP is it. I’ve been wearing mine for over 2 years!
WHOOP Discount Code
You can get a WHOOP by clicking here, and you can get a discount with code: ALLAROUNDJOE.
If you have any questions about this post feel free to add a comment below. And, I’ll get to them (usually) the same day.
Thanks for reading!
If you use discount code in this post… I may also get a monetary benefit from your purchase.
Just know that I will absolutely NEVER promote anything that I don’t believe in 100%.