By Soji James, CPT, CSCS
The WHOOP Strap 3.0 uses advanced analytical data and compiles 3 numbers—Day Strain, Recovery, and Sleep performance. These data points can be used to influence your training in a strategic matter to get the best out of each workout and to maximize your body’s ability to perform. With WHOOP Live, the company has added the ability to track and share how a workout is impacting you in real time. There’s also the ability to join and create teams so that you can compete against others. The battery life is much improved over its predecessor, with a single charge lasting around 5 days. Finally, another important change with WHOOP 3.0 is its price point. When the company first launched, it was charging $500 for access to this game-changing data. It has flipped this model on its head and replaced it with a more affordable subscription model of $30 a month.
The WHOOP band is pretty simple. It’s got one job, and one job only—to track data. If on-wrist functionality is a deal-breaker for you, then you may want to look elsewhere. While the importance of the three numbers will immediately make sense to more seasoned gym vets, they may leave others a little confused with what to do with them. The only other negative that I would mention is the charger. While it’s conveniently able to charge your band during use, it’s small and easily capable of being lost.
You need the Whoop 3.0. It has made my training much smarter and more individualized. I get much more out of my workouts because I train hard when my body is ready, and it’s taught me to prioritize recovery when my body needs more rest. I also have focused more on my sleep and am seeing the benefits of this change beyond the confines of the gym. If you are serious about wellness and feeling your best, then this band is a must-have.
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Even though we live in a fast-paced society largely powered by decisions based on instant gratification, health is an accumulation of the decisions that we make over time. If you want to realize your full potential and tap into a higher level of wellness, you have to go beyond simply counting calories, logging hours on the treadmill, and “crushing” workouts. The food you eat, your recovery methods, and your progress toward holistic health each day will dictate whether you struggle to meet your goals or eventually steamroll through them. Luckily, as the understanding of exactly what it takes for the body to operate at its best has improved, so has technology. The WHOOP Strap 3.0 is the culmination of advanced leaps in tech. It not only provides us with the “what” of fitness; it also helps us answer the “why.”
In a fitness wearable market that is saturated with trackers that simply count steps and buzz occasionally to remind people to move a little bit more, the WHOOP stands out. This device is dedicated to optimizing performance. While it looks surprisingly simple (there’s no on-band functionality), this device is pretty complex. It calculates your body’s readiness to perform at its best by compiling a “recovery” score based on three physiological markers: heart rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate, and sleep quality. Your HRV measures the variation in intervals between each heartbeat. This variation is controlled by our autonomic nervous system, which can be further subdivided into two components: the sympathetic ( fight or flight) and the parasympathetic (relaxation response) nervous systems. Variations in HRV could indicate imbalances in autonomic system activity. Monitoring these numbers could serve as a noninvasive way to monitor your health. Recovery isn’t just about how you feel, but about how your body is adapting to your health and wellness regimen.
To track the work that your body is being put through daily, the WHOOP also presents you with a strain score. Your strain is a quantification of the cardiovascular load that your body is being put through by a particular activity or the normal rigors of life in general. The strain pillar will provide you with your max/average heart rate and the amount of calories burned, It will also calculate this exertion and place it on a scale from 0-21. You can use this number to see how different types of workouts affect you and to adapt based on these findings. If you haven’t recovered from the day before, then you could take on a lower strain day to prioritize recovery. If your recovery number is higher, then you know you can probably push it and maybe even attempt a personal record.
In addition to calculating strain and recovery, the WHOOP is amazing if you are looking to step it up in the sleep department. Since you spend around 33 years (about ⅓ of your life) in bed, and adaptations from training occur during recovery, you should make sure that you are getting high-quality sleep! You could look up all the tips for sleeping better in the world, but if you aren’t tracking your progress, you won’t know if you are getting better. The WHOOP provides a comprehensive breakdown of each night’s shut-eye. This includes information on the number of disturbances you experienced, time spent during particular sleep cycles (Bring on the REM sleep!), and how long it took you to fall asleep. It even calculates the desired sleep number that you need to enhance your recovery experience. The sleep coach helped me dramatically improve the efficiency of my sleep. I woke up more days feeling well-rested instead of feeling like I need to hit the snooze button. It’s also been helpful to see that, even though I may get a higher quantity of sleep on a particular night, it doesn’t mean that the quality was good. By recreating conditions of the most optimal nights, I have been able to use my improved sleep habits to be more productive during my days. More sleep has also kept me more motivated to work out and continue my progress.
If you take your wellness seriously, you need the WHOOP 3.0. This band provides actual data that you can use to make real-time decisions. When the band first hit the market, the public was charged $500 to access this information. Luckily, the company has switched to a much more affordable $30 per month subscription model. With the addition of WHOOP Live, you don’t have to keep all this fun to yourself, either. You can share how your workouts are affecting you as they happen, and you can join/create teams to compete with others on all of your scores. These changes make this a much more social wearable, and I have already seen the WHOOP begin to spread throughout the fitness community. If you are looking to challenge yourself, train smarter, and take your health to the next level, then you need to get the new WHOOP Strap!