Product: WHOOP Strap 3.0
Fitness trackers have become ubiquitous over the last few years. It seems like everyone has one, whether they’re training for an endurance fitness event or just trying get in a little bit better shape. This tech is everywhere — on your cellphone, in your cycling computer, even in your shoes — constantly feeding you data in real-time. But, as fine as all those numbers are, the larger question is: what do you do with all that data? And what information is the most important?
That’s where WHOOP comes into play. WHOOP is a different kind of fitness tracker, aimed at not only providing you with actionable data, but at helping you build better habits and stay healthier across the board. To find out more about how it works, what the data can do and what it actually feels like to use WHOOP for a week, we provided our product tester with a WHOOP Strap 3.0 for first-hand insights.
From the Brand
“Science tells us that you don’t get stronger in the gym (that’s what breaks you down), you actually get stronger during rest. Sleep can be the forgotten third of your life. It’s the period to repair, regenerate and prime your mind and body for peak performance.”
What We Like
Right out of the box, our tester found the Strap 3.0 to be comfortable and easy to set up. Simply connect the strap to your phone, follow the on-screen prompts and you’re off to the races, so to speak. In order to make sure it’s collecting accurate data, WHOOP requires four sleep cycles in order to calibrate, but once it builds your profile the Strap will begin to give you strain and recovery scores based on your body and heart rate data — all neatly displayed in the WHOOP app.
Once the Strap was calibrated, our tester headed out for a standard cycling workout. The workout felt more difficult than usual — a strain score of 14.7 which, according to WHOOP’s data is a solid workout, but not so intense as to cause a burnout. After going back to review the sleep and recovery data (a new habit to get into) our tester realized that the app indicated a 23 percent recovery, meaning a rest day was recommended for the following day.
The sleep and recovery data is the most convincing aspect of WHOOP. It takes data like respiratory rate, heart rate, heart rate variability (or the time in between heartbeats) and time in bed along with a host of other data points to score you on how well you’ve recovered. In fact, this data can often go against your gut feeling. Our tester felt on several occasions throughout the week that the amount of sleep he’d been getting was lacking — but the data WHOOP had gathered reflected a high recovery score, indicating that while the overall amount of time spent sleeping was slightly low, the sleep itself was restful and effective towards recovery. This helped our tester calibrate workouts and gauge how hard to go that day — something that had always felt like a bit of black magic or sorcery to figure out before. The result? Better, more productive workouts — and lots of personal bests.
Who It’s For
Serious athletes in training will likely see an obvious benefit to what WHOOP has to offer, but what’s less obvious is that even the most casual athlete can benefit from WHOOP’s data. Wondering whether you should go out on a one-mile run or push yourself for three? Simply take a look at the app to see how recovered you are and let the data decide. And even if you aren’t an athlete at all, it’s easy to see the value in WHOOP’s sleep data. We can all use better, more restful sleep, and between WHOOP’s objective data and its journal function (you can answer questions like how much caffeine or alcohol you had, whether or not you slept in your own bed, etc.) you can work towards upping your recovery score, keeping it in the green zone to make sure you’re ready for the day ahead.
If the world of fitness tracking has always seemed a bit intimidating to you, or if you’ve been looking to tap into some incredibly insightful recovery data to inform your workout, or even if you’re just looking to see how restful your sleep has been, WHOOP is a great addition to your daily routine. It’s comfortable enough to wear all day and night, is fully waterproof and even comes with an attachable battery pack so that you can wear it while it charges. It’s just about the simplest and most approachable step towards a better fitness routine that you can take.