This post contains an affiliate link for WHOOP. It won’t cost you anything to click on it but if you do, I save $30 off my membership and you can save $30 as well.
This past August I snuck into the CrossFit games with a media pass. I spent a few thousand dollars on the trip, camera, and podcast gear. I thought it would be where the stars align for making some business deals and spreading the word about fitevents.com. Well, want to know what was the best thing to come out of the weekend? Besides pissing off Dave Castro, the Director of the Games (that sucked actually), I finally bought a WHOOP fitness strap. My life has been improved for the better in numerous ways ever since.
I initially bought an Apple Watch to track my fitness through its heart rate monitor. Turns out the Apple Watch doesn’t measure or track HRV (heart rate variability) – the one measurement that’s crucial to tracking recovery. I want to know how my body responds to my training and adjust accordingly.
Day one with WHOOP was getting to know each other. After waking up after another night in a tent from camping at the Games my WHOOP strapped told me I was only about half recovered. I knew that I should thus limit my daily strain (my cumulative exertion for the day) to a minimum to speed up my recovery. My Apple watch did not do this.
It actually took us both about a week to really know each other. The better I slept generally meant the more I was recovered the next day. As the days went by the app got to know me better as an individual and was better able to measure my response to training and sleep. Over time I also start realizing that certain factors could affect my sleep and thus my recovery.
Generally going to bed later and getting seven to eight hours sleep was not as good for recover as getting the same amount of sleep but going to bed earlier.
Before WHOOP I would work out six to seven days a week and only take a day off when I felt like poop and then I would feel like poop for skipping a workout. With WHOOP I know when to lay off the pedal and take it easy – based on accurate measurements – not just gut feelings.
On the flip side, and this where I believe WHOOP has forced me to be the machine, terminator, better version of myself – it lets me know when I AM ready to go – whether I woke up “feeling” great or not. If my recovery number is in the green it means I am ready to train hard and log a high strain score for the day. If I don’t push myself to achieve some serious strain that day I’ve neglected an opportunity to improve my fitness.
With WHOOP what I thought was a hard workout has changed. It’s like having my own David Goggins on my wrist letting me know I ain’t done yet mother f-er!
Success comes when the fucking whisper becomes the only voice you hear! You are not done, motherfucker! Stay hard! pic.twitter.com/mKMDhexkMi
— David Goggins (@davidgoggins) October 31, 2019
Before WHOOP I only really pushed myself at races or the rare occasion I get to drop in at a CrossFit class when traveling (CrossFit memberships in NYC are crazy expensive). When working out on my own I would still get a good sweat going but I had no real indicator of the level of effort I put out that day.
Now I go until I am done – achieving an accepting level of strain for the day.
As my fitness improves, what was a high strain workout before becomes a slightly less strenuous workout today. In other words I can see fitness improving through real hard numbers (my resting heart rate has gone down, my HRV has gone up).
Since I started tracking how my sleep affected my recovery and overall fitness I naturally started to focus on other factors once I got my sleep relatively dialed in. I started experimenting with my diet and caffeine intake. Before, I wasn’t scared of pasta and bread. Now I try to avoid all crap carbs and stick to a paleo diet. While the WHOOP doesn’t track these things at all, I 100% give the strap credit for making me look at these factors in my life. Fix one thing, get room and energy to fix something else, and the snowball momentum of health builds.
I believe in the power of the WHOOP strap so much we’re giving away a free strap and membership this month. I may do this every month. I’ve even applied for a job with them. If you don’t win the strap or if you can’t wait, you can use my referral link for $30 off your membership.
I have since sold my Apple Watch on ebay and never looked back.