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Product Review: The Whoop Band

Let’s take a look at a new wearable fitness tracker that has a lot more under the hood than you might think.

I’ll be the first to admit: I’m super easy to sell to. You could probably sell me world war two era suicide pills. It’s that bad. Over the last few years I’ve gotten a lot better about this bad habit, but every so often something catches my eye. Especially new tech.
I’ve been seeing ads for the Whoop Band for a little over a year, but I thought the same thing everyone initially does: I already have a fitbit.
Then I started seeing enough reviews coming back that I began to understand this wasn’t just another fitbit. In fact, it does less than the fit bit but gives you more.
The way I’ve been explaining it to my clients is that a fitbit is like a flip phone while the Whoop is like an Iphone.
So, what’s this about it doing less? Well, here’s what the Whoop doesn’t do.

  • It doesn’t count your steps. That research has proven to not be accurate anyway, so while you should be moving more you can stop worrying about counting your steps.
  • It doesn’t tell time.
  • It doesn’t integrate with calls and texts.

I don’t care about that stuff anyway. What do I care about? I care about real actionable insights into my recovery. That’s what Whoop does. It’s tracking heart rate, sleep cycles and HRV. More specifically it’s grabbing your HRV in the most accurate way, which is while you’re asleep.

Instead of boring you to death will all kinds of cool guy tech specs (I’ll do that another time) I’ll give you a couple of concrete examples of how this device changed my training and recovery.

In the image below you’ll see that my HRV takes a sudden upward turn. What changed? I amped up my water consumption pretty significantly based on Whoop’s recommendation. My recovery metric also improved and I noticed training over the next couple of days improved as well.

In this next image you’ll see a feature called the Strain Coach. I use this when I train and it helps with managing fatigue and staying inside my heart rate training zone. In this example I was on the bike and needed to stay within my 60-70% heart rate zone. Just to be clear, I’m not staring at my phone while I train. I’ve just got it propped up somewhere and I check it intermittently.

The main value that the Whoop band provides is the ability to objectively test different values that we are adding or subtracting from our training. Thinking about cutting out wheat? See how your recovery and HRV scores stack up after a month off of it. Think that a few drinks of alcohol a week couldn’t possibly impact your performance that much? Test and find out. I found that for me (at least right now) any alcohol derails my Heart Rate Variability for a couple of days.

Check out the Whoop Band here and you can use this link to get a free band and a free month of service. It is worth noting that this is a subscription based service, and the reason for that is to support the continuing development of their algorithm. They are also very open to feedback. A client of mine who is a professor at Stanford recently got on the phone with them and found they were very receptive to her thoughts on the models they were using and how they’re analyzing their data.

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