In this article, we will cover:
- Why WHOOP?
- WHOOP Metrics: Strain, Recovery, Sleep
- Other ways to view your data
One of the most common questions people ask us is why they should use WHOOP over other devices. While anyone can benefit from WHOOP, it depends on what you are looking for out of a fitness wearable.
What WHOOP is:
- A performance monitor: WHOOP tracks recovery, cardiovascular strain, and sleep. It is a full physiological profile of each day so you can assess your body’s needs.
- An accountability coach: WHOOP tells it like it is. It is up to you to make actionable behavior changes.
- A long-term solution: It is impossible to know your body’s needs after wearing WHOOP for a few days. WHOOP monitors trends in fitness over time so you can see your performance evolve or weeks, months, and years.
What WHOOP is not:
- A smartwatch: We purposely do not have a watch face to distract you with notifications. This is intentional and allows WHOOP to maintain a low profile.
- A step-counter: We do not count steps because we believe they are irrelevant to your physiological performance and overall health.
- A GPS watch: While you can track distance within the WHOOP app, the device itself does not have a GPS monitor.
Your body is a complex system that is working 24/7. We will break it down into 3 pillars of performance to help you get a better understanding of how it works.
For a basic overview, check out the video below:
WHOOP Strain is measured on a 0 to 21 scale, which is based on the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion. The more time you spend in your elevated heart rate zones, the higher your Strain will be. Strain does not operate on a linear scale, which means the higher your Strain goes, the harder you must push your body.
The flip box toward the bottom of the screen will give you insights based on your data. This is called the Voice of WHOOP, or VoW for short. It will pull data from your journal entries and past 30 days to help you understand your day a little better. Tapping on the VoW will reveal your daily Strain statistics as well your 30-day averages. Specifically, it will show the current Max Heart Rate, Average Heart Rate, and Calories expended. Note that this will change throughout the day, most noticeably being your calories.
Upon waking, you may see several hundred calories. That's because your WHOOP day actually starts when you go to sleep the night before. This is because we use your sleep to calculate the day's Recovery.
WHOOP Recovery is based on 4 metrics: resting heart rate (RHR), heart rate variability (HRV), respiratory rate, and sleep. The metrics that makeup Recovery can be affected by things like stress, alcohol, caffeine, exercise, diet, illness, and more. WHOOP detects fluctuations in these metrics, which in turn affect your overall Recovery.
HRV and RHR have a direct relationship with your Recovery: in general, higher HRV and lower RHR result in a better Recovery score. Of course, "high" and "low" are relative to you and your baseline. HRV has a fairly wide range of what is considered normal. Learning about what is normal for you will come after a few days on WHOOP.
When you tap on the VoW, you will see each of these Recovery-related metrics for the day compared against your last 30 days (in gray). Unlike Strain, these numbers are set for the day and will not change unless you edit sleep by a significant amount (which causes your Recovery score to recalculate).
Differences between Red, Yellow, and Green Recoveries.
It actually turns out that there is a lot going on during Sleep, even though you don't know it. As a result, we track a few different metrics:
- Duration: The amount of time you're asleep
- Performance: How much time you were sleeping related to how much sleep you needed
- Efficiency: The amount of time you were asleep over the amount of time you were in bed
- Consistency: How similar your bedtime and wake times are to previous nights
- Latency: How long it takes you to fall asleep (if using manual sleep tracking only)
- Sleep Debt: How much extra sleep you need due to missed sleep from previous nights
- Sleep Stages: How long you spent in Light, REM, and Deep Sleep, as well as wake time
- Disturbances: How many wake times you experienced a night. It is normal to experience anywhere from 10-20 per night. While they only last a few minutes and you’re not conscious for most of them, you can lose upwards of an hour of sleep in the Wake stage due to disturbances.
WHOOP shows you the amount of time in bed, efficiency, disturbances, respiratory rate, and sleep staging by tapping on "Hours of Sleep" in your app.
WHOOP recommends the optimal amount of sleep you need each night based on your baseline, recent Strain, accrued sleep debt, and recent naps. Tapping “Sleep Needed” in your app shows how we calculate your specific sleep requirement.
Other Ways to View your Data
Tapping your profile picture in the upper left corner opens the Profile screen. Your profile displays your age, country, member info, number of activities logged, types of activities, HRV range, RHR range, max HR, peak Day Strain, streak data, and previous night’s sleep performance.
By visiting app.whoop.com, you can view data and trends across your last 6 months of data (if available). Below is an example of Recovery recorded over a 6-month period.
Weekly Performance Assessment (WPA)
Every Monday, all WHOOP Members receive a customized Weekly Performance Assessment in their app provided they’ve logged at least five days of data (we recommend all seven for the full experience). To see a breakdown of what's in the WPA, check out our locker post.
In order to access your WPA, you need at least 14 Recoveries since you started.
Monthly Performance Assessment (MPA)
The MPA will populate in your app on the 1st of each month, provided you have logged at least 28 Recoveries. This will also be where your journal entries will populate to give you averages over the last 90 days. To see a breakdown of what's in the MPA, check out our locker post.