I’ve now been using the Whoop fitness wearable for two months straight and here’s what I found.
Personally, I have been training in a gym for more than twenty years and I’ve been working in the fitness industry for over ten years and it’s very rare that I use something and think “oh my god why have I not been using this?” but alas, here we are.
Now before I get into my experience with WHOOP and all the benefits that I found personally (alongside the cons) – I need to add a disclaimer here.
After using it for a month, I was so impressed that I set up an affiliate partnership with them. Although, I will try to be as unbiased as possible with this list, I need to share that in advance.
So what is whoop?
WHOOP is a fitness wearable and companion app that specializes in breaking down your recovery, sleep, and workouts.
Every morning when you wake up, the app analyses your sleep along with other key heart rate metrics from the previous night.
Based on that, WHOOP gives you a daily recovery score from 0 to 100% so you know how ready your body is to take on the day.
It’s kind of like a coach on your wrist – giving you an idea for how hard you should push yourself that day based on your recovery score.
It’s also worth talking about what WHOOP doesn’t do.
It’s not a smart watch, it doesn’t even tell you the time.
It does one job, it tracks every heartbeat throughout your day and breaks down all your data for you so you can understand everything you need to know about how your body is recovering.
Why I started using it.
Two reasons really.
One, I turned 35 last December and my recovery curiosity has bloomed from ‘I’ll just see how I feel tomorrow’ into borderline obsession as I try to maximise every single workout session.
I’m also a chronic over trainer and with each year that passes, I become more aware of importance of taking a step back, or easing into an active recovery day vs another Crossfit WOD or five mile run.
Secondly, I’m returning to play football this season and my WHOOP has been given me the data to calibrate my intensity level for each individual session that day so I don’t get all the negatives that come from training too hard, too often or for too long.
With that being said, it hasn’t been all plain sailing so here is my bullet pointed pro and con list after two months of continuous use.
I will then expand on each individually.
· Incredibly accurate
· Very comfortable on your wrist
· Interface is extremely easy to use
· Works in sauna and ice baths
· Tricky to figure out initially
· The strap can be a bit finicky
· Wearable boxer shorts sometimes loose tracking in the middle of the night and the sizing is WAY off!
· Falls off if it gets hit very hard (with a football for example)
1. Incredibly accurate
“Heart rate variability is where the amount of time between your heartbeats fluctuates slightly. Even though these fluctuations are undetectable except with specialized devices, they can still indicate current or future health problems, including heart conditions and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.” Cleveland Clinic.Org
I had been looking into the research on heart rate variability for a while* before choosing WHOOP to see how it would impact my recovery tracking.
That being said, I did and still feel that you should always do an intuitive check in with yourself first and then use a tracker to support how you’re feeling; and this is where WHOOP really won me over.
For the first month, I mentally tracked how I was physically feeling each morning before checking my 0-100 score; and I kid you not, every single morning it was within range.
If I woke up and thought “I feel between a 40-50% recovered today” – I would look at my WHOOP and there it was “46%” – but that wasn’t enough to win me over completely.
The tipping point came after I had a four day training break after a trip to London.
I was convinced that after four days of just eating, walking and sleeping that I would look at my tracker on the Tuesday and it would be 80-100% or in the green.
I turned to my missus the morning we got home and told her exactly that; but followed it with how poorly and tired I felt after our trip.
Low and behold, my WHOOP was in the red, 23% – the first time that had happened.
The stress of traveling, going off normal food plan and not sleeping in my own bed had all impacted my score.
That was the day I set up my affiliate partnership with WHOOP. I was officially converted.
2. Very comfortable on your wrist
I don’t need to expand too much on this. I wear it on my left wrist in place of a watch and I forget it’s there most of the time.
3. Interface is extremely to use I’m a tech dummy. If I didn’t have a great team around me, I couldn’t run a successful online business but even I was able to figure out the user interface after a minute or two. 10/10 in this regard.
4. Works in sauna and ice baths
This is probably more applicable to me personally; but my Whoop worked in extreme hot and cold (both are part of my recovery protocol).
1. Tricky to figure out initially
This could just be me too as I struggle to put together my daughters kinder egg toys; but it took me ages to clip the device together and get it to work initially.
From talking with friends and clients who use it, I seem to be the only one with this issue though so read into that as you may.
2. The strap can be a bit finicky
I swap out the wrist wearable every night and use the boxer shorts while I sleep (I hate wearing anything like that in bed and could never sleep with a wrist watch either) so I have to reclip it every morning.
It’s become automatic now, but it did take me about a month before it became second nature.
3. Wearable boxer shorts sometimes loose tracking in the middle of the night and the sizing is WAY off!
These are possibly connected as the device needs to be tight enough to your body to accurately track; and its only lost the data on four nights in the two month period; but the sizing is so off on the boxer shorts, it’s not even funny.
I’m a bit of a dope though and bought the four pack, assuming that a large would fit fine (it didn’t) so if you decide to go with the boxer shorts or clothing line, buy a single one first and then buy the multipack to save yourself some dosh.
4. Falls off if it gets hit very hard (with a ball for example)
I wear it playing GAA and soccer but it has falling off twice.
Once in the middle of a tackle and the other when the ball hit it at full speed (blocking a shot).
I’m going to start using the bicep band for games from now on so it’s not really a problem, but it’s worth knowing if you play a physical contact sport.
Is it better than Garmin or Fitbit?
Honestly, I don’t think they are directly comparisons.
It’s like comparing apples to oranges.
I own a Garmin and had a Fitbit for years.
I love both, but I used them for different reasons.
My Garmin is my ‘go to’ endurance watch. If I’m swimming, running or cycling, that’s what I use.
I don’t use a Fitbit anymore but I bought one for both my mom and dad (both in their sixties) so I think they’re great too.
In my opinion, WHOOP is different.
Its primary focus is to track your recovery, it’s not trying to be a million different things like an Apple or Samsung watch, it does one thing and it does it better than anything else.
Personally, I think comparing Garmin to a Fitbit is much more difficult as there is so much overlap in regards to functionality and purpose. Whoop falls outside of that if you ask me.
As you have probably gathered, I’ve found the recovery tracker that works for me and I love it.
Am I recommending it for you?
Well that depends.
If you’re an athlete playing a sport and your recovery is what separates you from the competition , I think it’s a must have.
Also, If you’re a data geek that likes to optimise your training, then I’d also consider it.
However, if you are just the average gym goer who works out a few times and week and has a few pounds to lose, I’d probably give it a miss and focus on increasing your training volume or prioritising your nutrition; but that’s just my thoughts.
As mentioned earlier, I have my affiliate code that will give you the WHOOP device and one month for FREE!
To try it Click Here