Anyone using a Whoop?

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#1

I noticed they moved from a single purchase price to a monthly subscription that includes the hardware.

I’ve been using HRV4Training and I’ve been finding it very useful so far, so I’m curious if anyone out there is using Whoop.


Anyone using HRV? (Heart Rate Variability)
#2

I’ve looked at it but not bought. Too expensive for something where I’m not fully sure of its added value vs HRV4Training. Would be interested to hear from someone who has used it.


#3

I haven’t looked too thoroughly into Whoop but from what I understand it’s a bit like a smart watch but without the screen and already set up to record certain metrics?


#4

It has a HR monitor, sleep monitor and probably does some other stuff and it puts it into a graph form to chart recovery, strain, etc.

There are a lot of high level folks using them like Kate Courtney, Lawson Craddock, that speak highly of it, but of course those are sponsored. I’m not sure if its worth the cost relative to what I can do for free using Sleep Cycle and HRV4Training.

Really curious to hear from an amateur who paid for it.

I’m somewhat skeptical of the optical HR sensors, since they’ve been proven to be less reliable than the HR straps.


#5

I heard about them through Jeremy Powers, he’s gone very quiet recently in it though. Again, probably sponsored so would have preferred more independent views. I think it’s a bit over priced, especially as monthly cost doesn’t appear to drop once hardware paid for.
Regarding HR accuracy, I’ve always had problems with straps, tried Polar, Garmin and Wahoo and had same experience with all. When new they’re great but before the battery needs replacing i’ll be having issues with static readings, stupidly high readings etc. I wash the straps by hand after workouts but nothing seems to help and I rely on my Apple Watch to check HR when I’m not 100% certain if strap is right or not, that always seems pretty accurate.


#6

Whoop user here! I’ve had mine since July.

The Whoop has been an interesting tool so far, and has added some value to my training, but I’m not sure it is a totally vital piece of equipment.

The features: it constantly tracks my heart rate to assign a “Strain Score” to fitness activities and my day as a whole. The Daily Strain Score allows me to assess how hard I’ve stressed my body (cardiovascular work-wise) so that I can plan for harder workouts or longer recovery periods. Using my Strain Score, it then predicts how long I need to sleep in order to recover. While I sleep, it monitors my sleep cycles, sleep time, heart rate, and HRV to give me a picture of how recovered I am in the morning (higher HRV, lower resting heart rate, longer sleep duration, and higher quality sleep all play big roles in higher recovery scores). My Recovery Score lets me know how hard I can/should work that day. It is kind of like a game of matching your Strain to your Recovery for full training optimization.

What I like: the comprehensive picture it provides of all of all of the activities I do that might strain my body and how that stress works in to recovery. It has been a great way to track my sleep and how I feel on a daily basis in just one app. The battery lasts 1-2 days, the Whoop band is waterproof, and charging is wireless (on your wrist), so the whole thing is really easy to use. Plus the app is pretty neat!

As far as heart rate accuracy, I’ve used the Whoop alonside my Apple Watch and my Wahoo Tickr. The results aren’t always exactly the same, but they aren’t wildly different. Most often, the Whoop will read my heart rate about 10 beats lower than the watch on a run, which I think is due to the watch being bounced around.

But honestly, I’m not sure I really need all of the information, and I don’t think it takes some important things into account. Some of my weightlifting, for example, doesn’t peak my heart rate, and therefore the Whoop doesn’t see it as super high strain, even though my limbs are all sore and noodly. But really, in the end, the Whoop isn’t telling me anything that my body doesn’t already know - when I work hard, I need time to recover. When I’m tired, my body is more prone to stress, etc. It has been good confirmation of body cues and has helped me to prioritize sleep and rest after long training efforts, but again, that’s kind of logical stuff. I am very externally motivated, though, so a little technological push to take care of myself never hurts! :slight_smile:

Let me know what other questions I can answer. I hope that helped a little!


#7

Very helpful! Sounds close to what I’ve put together with the combo of products I’ve been using in a much more user friendly and comprehensive package.

That being said, the delta in cost seems a bit too much since I have a pretty solid system going right now.


#8

I’m interested in tracking HRV as well, but haven’t tried it yet. Few questions for you @stevemz:

  • Have you used HRV4Training with a heart rate strap, or just using the phone camera?
  • How accurate have you found it?
  • How has tracking HRV changed your approach to training? Do you actually do easy/rest days when your readings suggest your body is overly stressed?

#9

I also used to have the same HR accuracy issues with incorrect high/low readings etc. but I’ve found there’s an easy/cheap solution - I started using an electrode gel (small amount on the 2 contact points):

Since using that the HR readings I get are far more accurate/reliable :wink:


#10

I’m interested in the Whoop too, but I’m one of those people who finds wrist based HR readings to be highly inaccurate. I’ve owned a couple Garmin Fenix watches, and looking at the data over the course of a 2 hour ride on the Fenix vs. on the chest strap is laughably different. I actually have a friend who was convinced he had a heart issue because he couldn’t get his HR huh even during HIIT workouts…and after several doctors visits, he found out it was the wrist readings.

Having said all that, I just assume I’ll have the same issue with the Whoop.

(Caveat…I also know people who get perfect readings from wrists, and it’s not the hair vs. no hair or tightness of the strap either…I have no idea what causes one person to get good results and another to not)


#11

Thanks for the tip!


#12

I use the Wahoo Tickr (non-X) but I’ve found the camera to work pretty well also.

I don’t have any way of quantifying this, but it seems consistent and accurate enough that I feel confident in the data.

It has been a slight change, but a noticeable one. The #1 thing it helps with is forcing you to check in with your body every morning, and the qualitative tags they give you (traveling, fatigue, sick, alcohol) help make a decision about how you are going to ride.

If I have a ride planned and I get up, and my HRV score is below my normal range, I’ll usually get back in bed and get some more rest, and then do a super easy coffee shop spin later that day and adjust my schedule accordingly. Similarly, if I get up and I feel crappy, but my scores say that I’m in good shape, I’ll usually see if I can get through the warm up.

The biggest thing that has been interesting is how well the data correlates when I’m sick. My resting heart rate goes significantly up and HRV goes way down and that has been a helpful way to tell when I’m back into a good state for doing intensity.

I’ll be taking a Ramp Test on Monday as my first benchmark for 2019, so we’ll see how things will kick off the season. I didn’t use any of these measurements last year and I have a pretty good sense of my “normal” rate of improvement, so we’ll see how big a difference it might make.


#13

I’ve been using Whoop since July. I’ve found it interesting, helpful and puzzling. It took me some time to reconcile what I thought I should be seeing with what I was seeing.

I loved it initially and recommended it to several friends. I was intrigued by the concept and loved having the Recovery feedback. I’ve gotten a lot out of it, still think it’s great, but don’t think I need to continue with it past the initial 6-month subscription.

Whoop has educated me on many things and helped establish new habits and now I can continue to apply that knowledge on my own. At this point, I don’t think renewing for $30 a month is necessary.

Whoop has helped me establish better sleep patterns, getting to bed and rising at consistent times. I am more aware of how alcohol, sugar, fatty foods and the timing of my food intake affect my HRV and my Recovery score. I’m also more aware of how my emotional stress affects me.

I think Whoop is a great advance signal for the onset of allergies or a cold as the body ramps up for the fight and before you notice or feel the affects.

Consider Whoop a research tool for gaining a better understanding and insight about your body. From that perspective I think Whoop is worth the initial $180 6-month investment. But if you don’t intend to learn about how Whoop works, what it’s assessing and why, when it’s doing it’s gathering data, etc., and if you don’t think you’ll apply what you learn to test out how behavior changes affect your scores, you’ll be wasting your money.

I may transition over to Restwise. I’m in the middle of my 30-day free trial and am comparing its daily recovery score with what Whoop says. I’m not seeing a lot of variation in my Restwise scores, where my Whoop Recovery scores do fluctuate pretty well. Whoop is basing its score on HRV, RHR and sleep. Restwise factors in hunger, injury, feelings of sickness, weight, and other things as well. However, they’re all self-reported.

This FLO Cycling podcast with the Restwise founders addresses why the daily self-reported Restwise questions are effective in providing a dependable and accurate recovery score.


#14

Thanks for the info @stevemz. I like the sound of it; getting an early warning before illnesses has got to be a good thing, so I’m going to give it a whirl. Hopefully it’ll work with my phone, as I haven’t got a bluetooth HR strap yet :crossed_fingers:


#15

I use an activity monitor with a 24/7 HR on it to track my resting HR and then a regular HR strap on rides (I charge the activity tracker while I’m riding).

Gives a fairly similar picture for a lot lower price point. Doesn’t give all of the fancy metrics you get with whoop though, so I definitely feel like I’m missing out (even if I might not actually be missing out)


#16

Any updated WHOOP 2.0 reviews?

I asked Santa for a WHOOP this year, as I want to know what kind of strain is being put on my body by non-cycling activities like rock climbing, snowboarding, and whatever other adventures we take up! I’m having a difficult time estimating the TSS in TrainerRoad by manually inputting these activities, and hope the WHOOP will fill that information gap.

I am a lawyer with a stupidly busy schedule, which limits my training time. I’m hoping that more data will help me track and optimize my time while I quest to get stronger and make fitness gains. It might also help me remember that sleep is a vital part of the training/recovery equation!

Anyone else getting useful data from this device?

It looks as though it’s different than the other wearables currently on the market.


#17

I ordered one tonight after reading about it for the past few weeks. I am like you: my schedule is very busy so I need to be efficient. I am most curious about the sleep/recovery arena as this is one area I KNOW I need help in. I am hopeful that having a real “accounting” of it will keep me honest.

I found a code online so the six month trial was $150. I figured that was worth taking a flier and seeing how it goes.

Will report back with more info once I am using it.


#18

I should have told Santa about that code! I would have had more cash for the Aero helmet I want!

Looking forward to updated thoughts! I’ll also post mine, showing data from our week-long snowboarding trip over Christmas. I’m particularly curious as to how that will fatigue my body with a week off from cycling.


#19

I am an early adopter of Whoop - been using it off and on (mostly on) for ~ 2 years now.

The production version is called the 2.0. I assume there was a pre-production 1.0, but never seen or head of one out in the wild. All of the Whoops in existence are 2.0’s.

I think if you are considering getting the membership you should really ask yourself some questions - first and foremost, what do you want to get out of the use of the device? Strain? Recovery? or Sleep? if you’re not specifically looking for one of these three things, look elsewhere, because this is pretty much the extent of its usefulness. I was fortunately enough to get in early, I own my device and do not pay a membership fee. If I had to get one under the current payment structure, I probably wouldn’t.

I would also caution metric-driven, or data obsessive people from using this, something that I think applies to many TR users. Are you the kind of person that chases watts to the detriment of your training plan? Will you push yourself harder to tick up your normalized power a few watts for a Strava ego trip? Do you have to PR every time you get on a bike? Do you ride in circles for an extra 10-20m to hit a round number 100 miles/kms/etc? If so, I wouldn’t recommend getting one. This mentality lends itself to becoming a slave to these kinda of devices and probably will do more harm than good if you’re too literal about the data.

Like anything, it takes experience and perspective to interpret data. Just like a PM, it’s another tool. But also like a PM, you have to know when it goes out of calibration and throw those data out for the greater good.

It’s a wrist based optical sensor, so it’s limited. I wear the device on the inside of my wrist where the skin is thinner and contains less melanin. Many MANY people have problems wearing it like a watch, and have used armbands, wrenched the thing down so tight that it cuts off circulation. The reality is, if you’re used to seeing perfect HR curves from a chest strap, the whoop is woefully deficient. Sometimes it correlates well, sometimes it doesn’t. If you obsess and get frustrated about that, then again, it’s probably not for you. Whoop has a FB group that I eventually had to leave because of completely neurotic people that get subjective data from their phones in lieu of having appropriate self-awareness. Take the data it does give you and use it for your benefit. The junk, just ignore. If you can’t do that because you’re obsessive… you see where I’m going?

My thoughts after >500 days of use

  1. The strain metrics are inconsistent at best - especially on a trainer when you’re not moving. Outside riding it works reasonably well, on a rower ERG it works great - very accurate. Might have something to do with the accelerometers in the device that if you’re not moving, it ignores an elevated HR as noise or something. Not sure, but know this is the case, and is a limitation of the technology. I wish you could import HR data from another app for your workouts. If it could do that, I think it’s application would increase dramatically. For example, how can it give you accurate recovery score, or recommend an appropriate amount of sleep if it fails to pick up something as dramatic as Eclipse as a workout??

  2. The recovery scores are hit and miss. They use HRV taken at some unknown (proprietary) time before you wake up. Sometimes it’s bad for no reason, sometimes it’s good the day after a huge training block and am wrecked. Listen to your body first, and second and third. Use the whoop data to validate, but I would caution against new (or data obsessive) users to be a slave to it. The other thing is the app asks you questions to process your recovery score, but IMO, they’re not really the correct questions, and they do not move the needle on your score - it will often give you a score before you answer those questions, which is odd IMO. Also, I think taking a more holistic approach and asking about energy levels, mood, etc. would be very helpful in actually calculating the score. It doesn’t and I think that severely devalues it’s potential usefulness.

  3. If my recovery is in the red because of HRV score, I attempt my workout anyway. Sometimes the workout is great, sometimes it’s shit. Doesn’t seem to consistently correlate for me. If someone decides to take extra rest day(s) because of HRV scores, I think that’s foolish and probably to your detriment.

  4. Sleep. This is where I think the whoop has real value. We all know the value and importance of sleep. The whoop tracks when you fall asleep and when you wake up and seems to track sleeping HR well - likely because of the low frequency, I would expect. This is where I chase numbers. I’m trying to maximize my time asleep as well as optimize quality. I know where my sleeping HR should be, when it’s not that, I start to ask myself why, and dig into it, if I’ve been feeling a little off and my waking HR is 5+ above normal, I will usually opt for a rest day. Heaping training stress on top of your body when it is actually borderline sick is a surefire way for your immune system to lose to whatever bug it’s fighting.

  5. Alcohol and anything above Z1/2 training, and screen time does significantly and adversely affect sleep. If I have a few drinks, my HR stays elevated, sometimes 15-20 bpm above normal until that alcohol volatilizes out of my system, then it goes back to normal. This 6284685638% affects sleep quality. I get my highest quality sleep between about 10PM and 2AM. If I mess this up because I had 2-3 beers, it feels like I got 2-3 hours of sleep, which from a rest perspective exactly correlates.

  6. For me - the earlier I go to bed, the better my sleep quality - even if I get up earlier. This is a serious biohack for me. I never would have come to that conclusion before using the whoop. YMMV.

I think it does have value, don’t get me wrong. The act of wearing it makes you more self aware, It promotes good habits and reminds you when you step out of bounds. It’s not perfect by a long shot.

Ultimately it’s up to you to practice good habits, right? It doesn’t make you put that beer down, or go to bed any earlier, so if you ignore the ways in which you can seek gains anyway, why wear it, or pay the money for it to continually tell you that your habits aren’t changing. We all know what’s best for us. Don’t drink, go to bed early, get lots of sleep, but many of us don’t do those things for a plethora of reasons. If you already do those things, a Whoop probably won’t influence your behavior too much.


#20

Super helpful thanks.

Saves me the money, since my HR strap, HRV4Training and current sleep tracker work great.