I really enjoyed the time I spent with the whoop strap. We sadly parted ways after 19 months of 24/7 interaction. I previously discussed how much data this device provides to you. In addition to providing data, I found the whoop strap gently nudging me to make healthier choices. While the app would offer suggestions with regard to bedtime, it was never intrusive. The true power of the device is in the data it collects, summarized and then presents to you very clearly. Objective data is very powerful. It is not theoretical. It clearly shows the effects of choices you make each day. The best way to study these lifestyle choices is by using the journal function. With only a few swipes on the app, whatever behaviors you are tracking can be logged each morning. A summary of the effects of these behaviors will show up monthly in the app. This objective data will result in lifestyle improvements.
Here is what I learned.
Whole, unprocessed foods lead to improved recovery. Veering off my usual low carb, high fat diet resulted in poorer recovery scores. I have written about this extensively elsewhere in this blog.
Intermittent fasting improved my recovery scores. This reinforced what I had been doing for years and had written about earlier.
Eating just before bed interferes with recovery, primarily by interfering with sleep.
Magnesium glycinate supplement improves sleep performance. This was a supplement I had been using for years. It clearly showed up
Resistance exercise (weight-lifting) does not register as much strain. (But it will reduce recovery). The whoop strap is designed primarily to track cardiovascular exercise and the recovery score represents how ready your body is for cardiovascular stress. While a very strenuous resistance exercise workout will not increase your strain for the day very much (since it will not generally create a sustained increase in heart rate), it will show up indirectly with a lower recovery than you might otherwise expect the following day. Thus, the whoop strap is not "missing" the effects of this workout as some believe by not elevating your strain score, it is absolutely registering its effects on your nervous system, and will guide you to optimize your fitness regimen based on the reduced recovery score.
I also liked the fact that the battery would last for 4-5 days and there was no need to remove the device to charge it. This allowed constant monitoring throughout the day and night. The device and the battery are both waterproof. The journal feature is quite powerful. It allows quick and easy tracking of behaviors, and correlates them with your strain and recovery. This information is very helpful when making lifestyle choices.
The whoop system provides lots of data. This data is presented in graphic form that allows you to rapidly identify trends.
Because this device is only an instrument for data collection, and does not have a screen of its own, it must be used with your smart phone. Since the whoop strap will collect data and then upload to your phone in the future, you do not need to carry your phone at all times. It will sync when back within bluetooth range. The inability to display any data is something to consider when you are shopping for fitness tracking devices. Watches are much more versatile.
While I truly enjoyed using this device, and consider it a powerful tool, I ultimately chose to unsubscribe from the service. Why?
The subscription based service is the reason I discontinued with Whoop. The base price of this service is about a dollar per day. This is decent value for the data it provides. I originally signed up for an 18 month, discounted rate, and could have done so again. The problem is that I I really enjoyed gathering this data, tracking my activities, and monitoring my recovery/fitness levels. I would like to collect this data forever. Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to purchase a whoop device. Ongoing subscription long-term makes this device the most expensive on the market. At this time, I feel I have learned all the lessons I wanted to learn. I truly understand my body better now. This has been a very valuable experience, and I recommend it to particularly for someone training for a cardiovascular endurance event, or for anyone simply interested in improving their health/recovery. I am currently researching a similar device that I can buy once, and own forever.
My next article will dig into the lessons I learned from whoop.