I started wearing my Whoop strap on July 1st and have been blogging about my experience. The Whoop strap is a wearable performance monitor that measures your strain (workout intensity), recovery and sleep. Since my Sleep Number bed monitors my sleep, I am most interested in Whoop's ability to measure my recovery and strain.
My last Whoop post focused on how Whoop measures strain or workout intensity. This week I am exploring the Weekly Performance Assessment.
After your first Monday - Sunday continual wear Whoop gives you a breakdown of your Training State, Sleep Status and Sleep Performance for the week. Sleep is such as essential part of our recovery that Whoop analysis both quantity and quality of your sleep.
First, let's dive into the Training Status.
According to Whoop I did not train hard enough last week. It categorized my training state as restoring. As I explored last week, WHOOP measures strain based on cardiovascular output and time spent in various heart rate zones. Oftentimes our short and intense CrossFit workouts are not long enough for us to be above 70% of your max heart rate for Whoop to calculate a high strain score. A workout like Grace is a hair-on-fire redlined workout that lasts less than 5 mins. It might only register a 4 whereas you'll feel like a 15 when you're done.
The weekly assessment is not as valuable to me as my daily Strain score. I have calibrated my perceived rate of exertion to be about about 1.25 more than my strain score. For example, Monday's kettlebell-sprint workout scored a 10.4 and it felt like a 13. I use the strain info as a guide to my own perceived rate of exertion rather than an absolute rate of exertion. If it tells me I can go hard, I will. If it tells me I need to back off, I will.
Sleep quantity is one of 2 sleep reports included in the weekly assessment. While I didn't start using Whoop for its sleep analytics, I'm finding it much more useful than the weekly training state information.
My sleep for the week has been optimal. This is really great news and something I have been working very hard to improve since last November. Last fall I had insomnia so badly that I enrolled in a sleep therapy program through the VA.
I spent 6 weeks breaking bad habits and forming new ones so that I could actually sleep through the night. I'm so grateful for that program and so happy the habits have stuck.
Sleep is THE MOST IMPORTANT recovery tool we have. If your sleep is off everything is off. Once I got my sleep dialed in then so many other aspects of my life improved. Not the least of which is my hormone regulation and balance. Hormone regulation happens while we sleep which is why Whoop also analyzes sleep quality or performance. Whoop measures:
how much time is spent in bed
how quickly you fall asleep (latency)
how many disturbances you have
how much time you're awake
how much time you're in light sleep
how much time you're in REM sleep
how much time you're in slow wave sleep (SWS) or deep sleep
your respiratory rate
your resting heart rate
All of these sleep analytics are used to tell you how well you slept. You might not think these things are valuable to know. I can tell you from first hand experience that If you can improve just one aspect you will feel like a new human.
Since slow wave sleep is the time when muscles repair and grow I am doing my best to maximize my sleep quality. When I'm in bed I want to be sleeping, deeply, not tossing and turning and worrying about the future. This takes work. It takes constant and deliberate work, and it's worth the work. Getting your sleep dialed in is probably the single most important thing you can do for your heath.
Even though the strain score is not as applicable for CrossFitters I am quite happy with the data and analytics I am getting from my Whoop. I am interested in maximize my health and Whoop is the perfect intersection of low price and high value.
If you are interested in joining me on a Whoop journey, use my link to get your first month free. If you're already a Whoop user, join our True Spirit Whoop Group with the team code: COMM-AD6416.
Stay tuned for my next Whoop! Wednesday post as I explore the monthly performance assessments.
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