WHOOP 4.0 Digital Health Band Review
Getting Ready For The Golf Season With WHOOP.
Spyzinger is taking his preparations for the 2023 golf season seriously with WHOOP 4.0 Digital Health Band. Over the last 90 days he has put his health and fitness to the test under the guidance of WHOOP.
These are his insights and notes for 2023 about the WHOOP 4.0 Digital Health Band.
I had a bit of an epiphany during the offseason this past winter in Minnesota. The ol’ belly was getting a tad soft to the point my golf pants were too tight. It was time for a bit of reflection and analysis. As it relates to health and wellness, I needed to determine what I was doing well and what areas needed improvement. Where would I even start to attempt to identify my shortcomings and get back on the path to wellness. My goal was to get back on track by the beginning of the 2023 golf season which opens in April.
To find these answers and get back on track, I put my faith in the wearable device, WHOOP.
Where it Started
I have three gym memberships. One to a big box gym (Lifetime Fitness) and two boutique fitness studios that specialize in high intensity group fitness (Basecamp Fitness & SPENGA). I began to notice some of the fitness instructors wearing the WHOOP. So I started asking them some general questions about the product. “Hey, what’s that on your wrist”, I would ask. “It’s a WHOOP”. “Do you like it?” “Yes, I love it” they would tell me.
What is a WHOOP?
The WHOOP is a wearable device that collects data in five categories to measure strain and recovery: Resting heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, and sleep. Introduced to the market in 2015, WHOOP has gone through four versions with its current being WHOOP 4.0. The most apparent difference between WHOOP and other wearable devices is that is has no screen or buttons, you just take it out of the box, charge it, and wear it on your wrist. The entire interface for WHOOP is done through an app which is available for both Apple and Android phone platforms.
Another noticeable difference is that WHOOP is designed around a subscription platform with a monthly or annual fee. Its said to collect more data than its peers with its five sensors collecting 100 megabytes of data per day.
@SPYZINGER’s WHOOP 4.0
I began my journey with WHOOP in December 2023. I was not previously using a wearable fitness device. The WHOOP 4.0 is completely waterproof and theoretically, you never have to remove it from your wrist because of its integrated charging system. To charge the WHOOP 4.0, you simply charge a battery attachment. You then place the attachment right onto the WHOOP itself so you can continue wearing and using the WHOOP 4.0 as it charges. The charging device is also waterproof so there is nothing to get in the way of wearing the WHOOP during any activity. A full charge lasts about 5 days.
Out of the box, the operation of the WHOOP is as simple as charging and placing it right on the wrist. The learning curve is presented once inside the WHOOP app. It takes some getting used to navigating through all of the data and information that the WHOOP collects as you wear it on your wrist. Once you’ve gotten a handle on the layout and interface, you must learn how to make sense of the data it collects. I found the application to be really user friendly, easy to use, and easy to understand. The developers seemed to do a remarkable job in migrating the science of the device into an easy to understand graphical interface.
With little to no research into the nuts and bolts of the application, the first time consumer can genuinely understand the basics of the data it has collected based on the design of the app. This is combined with info buttons that can be pressed for an explanation of the details its presenting. I found that some advanced understanding of the data required simple google searches which information was easily accessible. That said, what could be more interesting that researching and learning about yourself?
WHOOP Data (Strain)
The WHOOP presents your workouts or other vigorous activity in a measurement called, Strain. WHOOP defines strain as a measure of cardiovascular exertion that quantifies the amount of physical and mental stress you’re putting on your body. It was inspired by “Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion.” This is a metric commonly used by coaches, athletes and trainers to track the intensity of exercise. Its measured in Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE). WHOOP tracks strain on a scale from 0-21, light to all out exertion.
When WHOOP detects a noticeable spike in heart rate and movement for a sustained period of time, it will automatically detect your activity or workout to provide a strain value. The user can also manually isolate these activities to monitor the strain for a particular workout. For example, if you are going to walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes, you can start and stop this activity to categorize this activity as your workout for the day. However, the data from that workout will still be inclusive of your overall strain for the day. This isolation just allows to view the specifics of a particular workout from day to day to gauge performance.
WHOOP defines recovery as the quantification of how your body is adapting to stress or your readiness for the day. The more recovered you are, the more you can achieve with performance side. WHOOP measures recovery through heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep performance. Through this data, WHOOP lets you know when your body is ready to perform and when it needs rest on a scale of 0 to 100%. It lets you know when your body is working hard to recover such as heavy training or perhaps you’re getting sick. It also identifies when you’re fully recovered and ready to perform an an optimal level as well as everywhere in between.
It didn’t take very long to determine that I was relatively good at generating strain. I mean in the simplest sense, just push yourself hard until you achieve your numbers. Where I was most deficient is the recovery aspect, specifically with sleep. Quite simply, I wasn’t getting enough which ultimately resulted in diminished recovery. My body was rarely ready to perform at an optimal level. Through WHOOP, I was also able to see how my alcohol use impacted sleep and recovery as well.
Although I thought that I felt rested after indulging in libations, it couldn’t have been further from reality. Alcohol use resulted in diminished deep and REM sleep which are necessary for restorative sleep. It is an essential component of recovery to perform (strain) at levels necessary to achieve your individualized results. The WHOOP data in the area of recovery and strain when compared to how I physically felt were remarkably accurate. The accuracy of the data is actually something you can tangibly feel.
As a result of this WHOOP data as it elates to alcohol consumption and recovery, I completely eliminated it from my diet for 90 days. When this period of time concludes, I will evaluate whether I want to scale this back into my life. However, I can say with absolute certainty that any future consumption will be minimal and reserved for select occasions as opposed to a component of social settings.
WHOOP incorporates a strain coach into its modules which provides the activity level recommendation based on your level of recovery. Just the same, it also incorporates a sleep coach which provides suggestions on when to go to bed and when to wake up in order to meet your daily performance goals that were established when you set up the WHOOP. When recovery data is taken into consideration an exertion recommendation is given.
WHOOP summaries data into both daily, weekly and monthly performance assessments. This incorporates all of the data points into an easy to understand snapshot of performance in your selected timeframe. The weekly performance assessment provides a comparison of your strain balance for the week. This is based on defined WHOOP training zones. It also provides a sleep consistency and sleep performance analysis to gauge recovery.
In contrast, Monthly Performance Assessments are available on the first of every month after 14 recorded recoveries. According WHOOP, the Monthly Performance Assessment provides a personalized analysis of individual data, actionable feedback, and a global comparison of your data with others in the WHOOP community.
WHOOPs pricing structure is based on a subscription model. The longer you commit, the cheaper the pricing. The WHOOP has given me the data necessary to evaluate what I was doing and make necessary changes to improve performance. Obviously, this comes at a cost and at a time in history when things are as expensive as they’ve every been. I look at this as an essential investment in myself.
I have been wearing the WHOOP 4.0 Digital Health Band for three months. I feel I am competent enough to provide a review. However, I have only begun to start to understand and utilize the data to get the most out of recovery and performance. This is one significant advantage the WHOOP has, just put it on your wrist and go. Utilize it to your understanding from the beginning, and you can also return and analyze the historical performance data because it is retained through the app. It is serves as a repository on YOU and your data, easily accessible and at your thumb-tips.
At this point, after three months, I would consider myself a novice at understanding the data. However, what its provided so far has already impacted my life with respect to understanding the impact of alcohol consumption on recovery. I also have a better understanding at how to get the most out of strain as well as when to push or when to scale back. I can now appreciate the data from the workouts I’ve been doing and get a feel for what changes need to be made.
As I’ve mentioned, the data is a constant and continues to accumulate. As you better understand the data, you can use it to better understand yourself as well as your overall wellness goals.
I believe if you’re not currently working out with data, you’re not making the most of your workouts or recoveries. If you don’t have the data, you are simply guessing. If you are content with your present state of wellness, perhaps data isn’t that important to you beyond just “interesting.” However, if you have goals that you want to achieve, data, especially that which is provided by WHOOP is essential to constructing a plan for change.
For more information check out: www.whoop.com
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