Whoop Strap Review – a game changing app that optimizes performance

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As an ultra-marathoner and triathlete, overtraining has been something that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. It was mostly a guessing game for me until a professional athlete friend of mine introduced me to the Whoop Strap. I wasn’t familiar with this device, but I have used a lot of different fitness trackers over the years, so I was skeptical. In this Whoop review, I’ll walk you through my experience as well as the features, pros, cons, and how the Whoop works.

For the TLDR audience:
The Whoop Strap 3.0 has completely changed the way that I think about my training, health and fitness holistically. I train harder, recover better, and have made lifestyle adjustments for better performance because of this fitness tracker. I highly recommend it.

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Product Name: Whoop Strap 3.0
Rating: 4.9 Stars
Recommended: YES
Purchase: Best Price & Promotions
Summary: The best fitness tracking application and device that I have ever seen. It is almost certain to improve your workouts, sleep and overall performance in just a month or two.

What is a Whoop Strap?

Whoop is a technology company that has created a wearable device to help athletes (beginners to professionals) increase their performance and recovery. It does this through a simple heart rate monitor worn on the wrist that tracks every second of your day. It provides insights and analysis through an easy to follow scoring system. This tells you how you are breathing, if you are recovered each day, how much exercise you should be doing that day, the quality of your sleep and other performance and lifestyle information.

Whoop Strap 3.0 Review

Getting started with the Whoop Strap 3.0

When you first start out wearing a Whoop, it is really just getting to know you. A lot of the metrics will seem off, especially day strain and recovery. Because it hasn’t adjusted to your heart rate, normal activity levels, sleep needs and other vital stats, the algorithm doesn’t fully adjust to you personally. It takes about 3 days to start giving you solid information, then takes about 30 days to fully give you reliable recommendations.

The best thing to do when starting with the Whoop is to put it on and keep it on. After about three days, you’ll get a feel for the information it provides and start to understand how the app works. Getting to know the variability in your sleep quality, strain score, recovery percentage and more will familiarize you with the app. Don’t stress it too much in the first couple of weeks.

What does the Whoop measure?

The short answer is that the Whoop Strap 3.0 measures sleep, recovery, activity, total strain and performance. A more nuanced answer is best provides as a list of what you can find daily in the whoop app.

  • Recovery Percentage: On a scale of 1-100, how recovered are you and ready for workout strain each day. You will get this score within minutes of waking up and understand how hard you should push it
  • Day Strain: This tells you how much activity you can take on that day. Strain is measured by exercise, heart rate throughout the day, and total activity. Exercise has the biggest influence, but it can be surprising how much repeatedly carrying a child or walking up stairs can increase your strain score.
  • Heart Rate Variability (HRV): This is a measure of the change in time elapsed between your heart beats. If your heart rate is 60 beats per second, that does not mean that your heart is beating one second apart. Measuring the variability between heart beats can tell you if you are fatigued, or well rested and recovered.
  • Calories Burned: A simple metric that will come with most fitness trackers. It updates in real-time throughout the day, so it’s cool to see how different activities change this score.
  • Workout Performance: This tells you how you performed in a given workout versus your benchmarks and how much strain a given workout added to your day.
  • Average Heart Rate: This is your average heart rate throughout the day. A simple metric, but comparing it day-to-day and over periods of time can be interesting in the app.
  • Resting Heart Rate: This is a good sign of your fitness level. Resting heart rate is essentially the lowest that your heart rate will go and typically, a lower heart rate signifies a higher level of overall fitness. Again, nothing to live or die by, but it can be very interesting to track changes over time or based on what type of day you had.
  • Respiratory Rate: This is the number of respirations during sleep. This typically won’t change all that much over time, but if you see a large variance, that typically means that something is off.
  • Sleep Performance: Each night, you get the number of hours and minutes that you need to sleep to perform the next day. Using the Sleep Coach feature, you can actually see the difference in sleep that you need between what it will take to “Get By” vs. “Perform” vs. “Peak.”
  • Hours of Sleep vs. Hours of Sleep Needed: Each day, you will get a sleep performance score, which tells you how much sleep you got compared to the amount of sleep that you needed. While there are a lot of other sleep tracking apps out there, the Whoop will tell you the amount you need based on the previous day’s activity.

Using the Whoop Strap 3.0

By wearing the Whoop Strap on your wrist, you simply let it collect data all day and night. Using a mobile app for iPhone or Android, you pair it with your phone to get personalized minute-by-minute insights. Using the Whoop Strap 3.0

To get the full benefit of the Whoop Strap, there are a couple key things that you should do.

Wearing the Whoop Strap up properly

The Whoop Strap 3.0 should be worn on either wrist, about one centimeter away from the wrist bone (toward your upper arm). It should feel comfortable there. There are also options to wear it on your upper arm, but I’ve found that unless you are doing an exercise that makes the Whoop awkward on your lower arm, the upper arm can be less comfortable. You should wear the Whoop band all day and night. It takes a couple days to get used to, especially when sleeping, but within two or three days, you’ll be used to it.

Understanding What it Measures

Aside from this review, you should take some time to really get to know the metrics. If you are only looking at a couple things that the Whoop measures, like sleep performance and resting heart rate, that can be accomplished with other Apple Watch or iPhone apps. Getting to know the sleep tracking metrics and understanding how sleep and performance can affect your training and overall health will make the Whoop that much more beneficial to you.

Monitoring strain, recovery and sleep

It can be easy to spend way too much time looking at your phone and trying to optimize every minute of your day. If you are into that, go for it. I like to monitor it from time to time during the day so I can use the key metrics to make decisions. The times that I make sure to check the data include:

  • First thing upon waking up, I check the sleep and recovery metrics. This gives me a sense of what type of day it should be for me.
  • I check day strain a few times throughout the day when I am not training, just to see how my daily activities affect the Whoop strain metrics.
  • When I work out, I look at the recommended strain that I should take on for that day. If it’s a high recovery day, I know that I’m going to take on a pretty solid workout. If it’s a low recovery day, I will still sometimes train hard, but know that my recovery may be delayed. The data on daily strain and recovery can really help when you are deciding if you should take a day off or not.
  • I check the Strain Coach during some workouts to see if I’m getting into the zones that I need to. One of my favorite things about the Whoop is that the Strain Coach and recovery metrics actually make me choose to train harder on certain days than I would without the app.
  • Before I go to sleep, I look at the recommended sleep from the Sleep Coach and check my day strain for a final time. Knowing how hard I pushed it that day and how well I should sleep for recovery gives me a good checkpoint before the morning.
  • Another thing I like to monitor is my resting heart rate (rhr), my recovery and strain over time, and my heart rate variability (hrv) to see how my body is changing and responding to exercise. After a couple months, you can start to see markable fitness improvements, which is really the point in the first place.

Joining Communities

Another cool feature of the app that took me a few weeks to discover is communities and groups. I found this by creating one for my neighbor and I to share activities since we train together on most days. After a while, I joined a couple groups, including all Whoop users in my state as well as Whoop users who were parents of an infant. This can be fun and motivating to check in throughout the day and see yourself on a leaderboard of various groups of people that are like you.

Adjusting Daily Activities

The real purpose of the Whoop Strap 3.0 is different from many fitness trackers like the ones that you will find on an iPhone or Android app. Rather than telling you past data like steps and duration of workouts or calories burned, you can get a holistic view of how you should be training. Adjusting your daily fitness activities and lifestyle choices based on the data that the Whoop provides can really increase performance.

Objectively knowing days when you have high recovery, sufficient sleep, and a healthy heart rate lets you know that you are primed to perform that day (and the opposite for low recovery days). This provides not only key insights into your own performance, sleep and recovery, but also provides motivation to get the most out of days when you should.

Analyzing Data Over Time

As I mentioned before, the great thing about a device that collects this much data is the ability to see trends and changes over time. Each morning when you wake up, you can choose to complete a daily journal that has dozens of questions about the previous day. You can see how alcohol consumption, stretching, spending time in a steam room or sauna, eating plant based vs. meat based diets and a number of other lifestyle attributes can affect your recovery, sleep and performance. While you shouldn’t use this too much on a day to day basis, over time it can start to show you some useful trends.

What does the Whoop Strap 3.0 come with?

>When you order a Whoop Strap 3.0, you will receive the device itself, a strap that goes on your wrist, a charger/battery pack for the strap, a USB cable to connect the charger, and a carrying case for the accessories. The strap itself is free with a commitment to the membership (month to month).

What does Whoop Strap come with

How does the Whoop compare to other fitness trackers?

There are a dozens, if not hundreds of other fitness trackers out there, including FitBit devices, Garmin GPS watches, an iPhone or Android device itself and more. While a lot of the functionality of the Whoop Strap 3.0 is also included in other fitness trackers, most of the other solutions track one or two things and not the entire gamut of what the Whoop tracks.

The biggest differences between the Whoop strap and other devices is in the app itself. Rather than using a fitness tracking app, a sleep app, a heart rate watch, a GPS watch to track endurance sports, and the countless other apps or devices, the Whoop does it all in one central place. Very few devices track your heart rate throughout the day, so data points like HRV, Strain, Recovery and Sleep Performance are hard to come by in one app.

The other key difference in what Whoop measures is their use of an easy-to-wear device as well as the 24/7 data collection. Because you typically don’t use other apps or fitness trackers every minute of the day, they can’t provide as much data in one place on sleep, recovery, exercise and overall fitness.

How much does a Whoop Strap 3.0 Cost?

The Whoop band itself comes for free, but the service costs $30 per month. It’s charged to your credit or debit card automatically. It can seem like a steep price to some, but comparing it to other fitness devices or even a gym membership makes it easy to justify the cost.

Features and Benefits

There are so many features of the Whoop strap and app that it’s hard to make a clear list. At a high level, sleep tracking, performance scores, strain scores, recovery metrics and heart rate insights are the main features. To boil it down to a list, the features include:

  • Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and Resting Heart Rate (RHR) tracking
  • Sleep performance tracking, scores and recommendations
  • Recommended daily strain for a workout based on recovery score
  • Recommended rest day or high strain days
  • Workout tracking
  • Sleep Coach
  • Strain Coach
  • Social media aspect that includes scoreboards for various groups or private groups of your friends
  • Simple, easy to wear strap
  • Interchangeable bands and accessories that you can purchase
  • Long battery life
  • Respiratory rate tracking
  • Personalized insights based on your daily activities

Whoop Strap 3.0 Benefits

The whoop has a number of benefits based on data and anecdotal stories from beginners and professional athletes alike. Because of the daily feedback and journal capabilities, the Whoop can start to show you how your daily decisions and activities affect sleep and performance in your workouts. When you see sleep quality and recovery score affected by certain factors beyond your strain score, it helps you to get competitive and evaluate your day to day.
Whoop has collected data that shows that wearing a Whoop Strap (on average) can:

  • Reduce resting heart rate by 4.4 BPM
  • Increase heart rate variability by 8 milliseconds
  • Sleep an additional 41 minutes per night
  • Become injured 60% less (presumably from avoiding over training)
  • Consuming alcohol 79% less before bed
  • Minimize symptoms of travel

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Tracks every second of the day, so it can provide more information than any other sleep tracking or fitness tracking app.
  • It works for everyone from professional athletes to beginners
  • The device is easy to wear, easy to charge and inexpensive compared to Garmin Watches or an Apple Watch
  • The Whoop Strain Coach, Sleep Coach, Strain Score and Recovery metrics are calculated by an algorithm that you can’t get from other workout or sleep devices
  • Comparisons to other friends, people or groups can be fun and competitive and push you to workout harder
  • The data all lives in one app
  • The app also provides not only exercise and sleep data, but ongoing health metrics based on your heart rate throughout the day and night
  • The Whoop Strap 3.0 and app are forward looking, so they don’t just tell you what happened, they tell you where you are at and what you should do about it
  • You get real-time information after a workout to see how hard you pushed it
  • Sleep tracking and recovery rate can truly influence lifestyle choices and keep you from under or overtraining
  • The Whoop is a social network in itself, with the ability to see other people who have Whoops and compete with them on a daily basis
  • The battery life will get you much farther than most other devices on the market

Cons:

  • You have to wear the strap all the time to get the full benefit
  • It takes about a month to really get to know you and provide reliable data on recovery, strain, workout performance and sleep
  • The subscription model can seem expensive to some people, but considering that the Whoop Strap 3.0 is free, if you calculate the cost over a year, it’s not that bad
  • The band and app are based on heart rate, so low impact exercises that still make you sore can make your strain and recovery numbers seem different than from what you physically feel
  • Whoop bands can give you a gnarly tan line if you exercise outside a lot
  • If you use a fitness tracker like Strava, it doesn’t automatically integrate, so you still may be using multiple apps for running or cycling
  • Sleep quality and deep sleep are not readily apparent in the app, although they are tracked and incorporated into your recovery and sleep scores
  • Some of the metrics can be confusing to beginners. Heart rate variability, respiratory rate and other metrics can seem intimidating for people who have not tracked those before

Where to buy a Whoop Strap

The best place to buy is through Whoop.com. You won’t get better pricing anywhere and I always like going directly to the manufacturer so if you have any problems, you can get them taken care of quickly. If you use this link, you will get a free Whoop Strap 3.0 and your first 30 days of membership for free.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Whoop Strap

Is Whoop better than FitBit?

FitBit uses a lot of the same tracking methods that a Whoop Strap 3.0 will use. However, the Fitbit provides a lot of simple data, while the Whoop takes that data and makes it into something useful through the app. Rather than knowing how long you were active, or how much time you slept, you get performance metrics and recommendations on strain versus recovery and can make decisions accordingly. The Fitbit doesn’t tell you when or how much you should work out or sleep, it just tells you that you did exercise or slept.

What does this do that an Apple Watch doesn’t?

Like the comparison to other fitness trackers, the Apple Watch only goes as far as the apps you use. The Apple watch can tell you about your sleep, exercise and other health and workout metrics, but it won’t make recommendations or provide actionable insights. These insights can spot high recovery days, tell you to take a rest day, tell you how much to sleep or how hard to workout. Those are data points you won’t get with the Apple Watch without a ton of effort and possibly at all.

Is the Whoop Strap Worth it?

The Whoop Strap 3.0 is worth it if you plan to use it every day and make workout and lifestyle choices based on the information the app gives you. When you have the sleep coach, strain coach, recovery scores, daily strain and other metrics, you should be able to increase performance. By making fitness decisions based on what your heart and body are telling you, the increase in performance and overall health should be well worth the price tag.

Does the Whoop Strap Work?

Yes. If you wear it and use the data, the Whoop strap works better than any other fitness tracking device on the market.

Do you have to pay a monthly membership?

There is a monthly membership fee of $30, which you can cancel at any time. There are no long-term commitments. I would recommend using it for at least a couple months so you can experience the full benefits of the whoop band and app.

Is the mobile app available on both iPhone and Android?

The Whoop Strap 3.0 and previous versions work with both the iPhone and Android apps provided by Whoop. The apps and all integrations are covered in the monthly subscription fee.

How long does the battery last?

The Whoop Strap 3.0 battery lasts for about 3-5 days. Previous Whoop straps were said to last about 30 hours, but I have never had to charge mine more than every 3 days or so. Typically I charge way before I have to, just because it’s so easy.

One great thing about the battery pack is that it doesn’t have to be connected to an outlet to charge the device. There is a small pack that you slide on top of the device on your wrist and you can wear it around while you are charging it. You can then remove the battery pack and charge it with a USB while still keeping the strap on your wrist.

Whoop Strap with battery charger
The Whoop battery charger is easy to wear and barely noticeable.

Do I have to wear it only on my wrist?

Whoop has additional bands that you can purchase to put the Whoop Strap 3.0 on your upper arm. You could conceivably wear it on an ankle, but the data recording may not be as reliable during a workout.

Do I have to wear the Whoop Strap every day?

You don’t have to, but you will get better results if you do. The app is only as good as the data you provide it. It needs to be able to track your heart rate, deep sleep, exercise and lifestyle choices to be able to give you the full benefits that the app can provide.

My Experience

I have already touched on this, but my experience with the Whoop has been a pretty cool journey. I got one about 3 months ago after training daily with my neighbor and seeing him checking his strain score every day. I have used other fitness trackers in the past, but didn’t really stick with anything other than Strava to track distance workouts.

I bought the strap online through a referral link that my neighbor gave me, so I got the strap and my first month for free. I wore it from day one that I received it and quickly paired it with the app. It was a bit frustrating at first because the data it was showing didn’t seem to match up with my real-life experience. This was because it was just starting to understand my body.

After about a week, I really started to see the results of my workout and sleep habits. The Whoop Strap 3.0 took a little bit of time to get used to wearing. I found myself adjusting it a lot over the first couple of days, especially at night or when I was in a pool. After about 4-5 days, I got the hang of it and like a ring or a watch, I no longer notice that I’m wearing it.

A couple weeks in, I found myself waking up in the morning with the Whoop app as the very first thing I wanted to check on my phone. Seeing the tracking Whoop gave me and the recovery score from the night before really set the tone for the day. Now, I’m at a point where I build my training, sleep and recovery routines around data that I’m getting from the Whoop.

The features that I use most are the core screens in the app, which include day strain, recovery, and sleep performance. I also dig into the sleep stats each morning to see how many interruptions there were in my previous night’s sleep as well as check how much time I spent in each phase of sleep. It is also interested to check the journal and see how different lifestyle decisions I made throughout the day affected my sleep and recovery.

Overall, I didn’t expect to love the Whoop as much as I do. It has become a crucial part of my training and recovery regimen and I can’t really imagine going back to exercising without it.

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