My Alter Ego: The Whoop Band

By Wendy Winn

Performance has been trackable by watches and heart rate monitors for over ten years now. As recovery research expands, professionals now recognize the important role of recovery in aiding performance. So how can you improve your recovery?

Enter the Whoop Band, a wrist-worn device that measures heart rate, heart rate variability, and sleep. From there, it calculates values such as “Day Strain,” “Recovery,” and “Sleep Performance.”

Heart rate (recorded continuously) signals both activity bouts and resting heart rate, a measure of overall fitness. Heart rate variability is the difference in timing of heart beats. This measure is not only about the cardiovascular system, but also includes the nervous system. This is where things get interesting. The autonomic nervous system controls fight or flight responses, and responds to not only cardiovascular stress, but illness and emotional stress as well. Lastly, sleep performance is measured as one wears the strap 24/7 and disturbances in heart rate are detected. This includes analyzing time in REM sleep, proven to be the most restorative sleep.

What I learned wearing a Whoop:

  1. I love sleep and sleep is amazing. You can’t “fake” sleeping, no matter how hard you try. The whoop band recommends how much sleep you should get every night, and then compares it daily to the actual amount.

  2. HRV is no joke. I was shocked how much my HRV was impacted by lack of sleep, illness, housework, emotional stress, and alcohol. A few glasses of wine or a slight cold? My HRV was exponentially lower than after a workout!

  3. The truth hurts. The Whoop is an honest reflection of your inner self. Armed with more information about your inner workings, you can make better life choices!