HRV, Sleep, Calorie tracking; devices from Whoop to Oura - any others? Join in!

Hey Sufferfest forum!

Wondering if anyone else is using Whoop. I bit the proverbial bullet in early May when we were six weeks into “stay at home.” It has been interesting. It has helped me focus more on recovery and getting more sleep. I was still on a training plan when I got it. So, it was calibrating and I was more focused on following the plan than what Whoop was telling me. Now that the plan has been concluded for about five weeks I do try to follow it, but… getting the message on a TUESDAY that I am 82%recovered and primed for high strain when I need to be at the office at 8 am, is well, a little frustrating.

I have overdriven on low recovery days and still performed pretty well. It is nice to have some quantification of how I feel. It has been interesting and fun to look at the weekly and monthly PAs.

I am getting more sleep (more WFH would help) and I am trying to follow the recommendations.

Anyone else a Whoop member? Curious to hear your experiences.

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Not using Whoop sir but have tried HRV a couple of times (which is essentially what I think Whoop is about).

I’ve found the measuring devices hard to ‘rely’ on so far. I used a dedicated device for 6m and that was a bit hit and miss in terms of accurate readings and have since tried another option.
That’s probably where thing like Whoop win out as they’re ‘always on’ and if acccurate enough will give you decent trends.

What I do find … when I get can consistent outputs … is that it’s an interesting set of trend data.
What I haven’t found is that it’s told me something new so far. But it’s still fun as I like data.

If Whoop or such like weren’t such a huge monthly fee I’d jump at something with that ‘ease of use’ and I think I future a lot of people will be using it/similar for HRV tracking.

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I didn’t know whoop, so I had to do some research first.

I like the concept - a lot. It embodies the quantification of training results. Especially if you train by yourself and have no other people to measure up against or coach you, it gives a nice feedback of how you are doing.

The only danger of the whole things is that every number needs to be put in context and to be interpreted in the right way. Sometimes, if you are not careful, it can mislead you.

Whoop is interesting but, for my taste, too expensive for what if offers me. I can not justify this kind of monthly expense. In this case I will try listening in on my body and getting in tune by myself a bit more. :slight_smile:

I have a similar system in place: Garmins Firstbeat technology. Maybe it’s not as sophisticated but I feel like it’s going into the same direction.
I am never quite sure if my body battery, training load and projections make any kind of sense. Sometimes they are spot on, other times they are way off base.

Anyway, it’s probably a field where we will see many more offerings and a lot of improvement in the future.

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I used one for about 4-5 months last year. The data it gave me proved inaccurate for me because I ride MTB and the straps can’t hold the thing in place well enough because of their design - it’s all anchored at one end so they tend to flip out from under the strap and then aren’t in contact with yout skin so you get no reading. I know they have an arm band, but taking the strap off to put it in the arm band before a ride is just a nuisance.

The sleep data, HRV stuff and recovery scores also seemed quite erratic, as if the readings were being affected in some way. I sometimes found the strap had twisted in my sleep and was again not against my skin. For sleep, then best place is on the wrist, but for accurate HR measurements it’s better higher up the arm so yet again you’re down to changing straps, from wrist size to bicep size.

It’s quite expensive, and there’s a minimum sign up period, but if that’s not an issue then read more reviews and maybe try it - I might just be a unique case :slight_smile:

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Thanks for sharing your experiences. I had been looking at reviews off and on for a few months. I am a data junkie and I don’t like buying the first generation of pretty much any tech, so I was not in much of a hurry to take the plunge. A couple of factors were behind it. 1) data junkie 2) I came to formal training pretty late in life so looking for more insight 3) stay-at-home order and wanted to focus on something other than binging the next season of “whatever” and the tipping point -> 4) my daughter is going to college for industrial design and is very interested in wearable tech. I provided a little guidance on her spring design project that was a more “stylish” tracker for women that tracked the same data (HRV and respiration rate).

After going over things with her I decided I had to try one out to see how it really works (the things we do for our kids). Now, I do not see me using this forever. It is interesting and it helps me correlate how I “feel” with some numbers (remember: data junkie).

For those not familiar - you get a target “strain” for the day (a normalized scale of 0-21) based on your Heart Rate Variability from your last Slow Wave Sleep. It tells you how recovered you are on a percent basis and recommends how much strain you can take on. Some days, usually the weekends, I end up over-driving the strain target - because it is the weekend and I have time. During the week, I am usually under target because of work.

Again, it is interesting and if anyone has questions I am more than happy to share my experience. I won’t do it forever, but it is an interesting distraction since I am not spending so much money on gas and tolls right now.

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I’ve been looking into heart rate variability HRV but I didn’t get a whoop. I bought the new Scosche Rhythm 24 and I use the App EliteHRV on my iOS.

I am noticing some difference in morning heart rate and when I’m tired and rested but I’m not sure what to make out of the other data. I’m still learning.

I’m a big data junkie too.

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I’ve been using HRV4 for several years and while it’s not 100%, mostly user based errors, it’s been good enough. I was on the fence for months about Whoop and then DCrainmaker tipped me in the No direction…

…”the sensor simply isn’t all that accurate when you sit down and compare it second by second to other products on the market. And given it’s the only input into Whoop, thus the only input into the Whoop platform is the data coming off that sensor, it becomes a real issue…”

I’m interested to hear counter opinion

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I also dug into the Whoop band to see what it was all about, but i find the pricing prohibitive for me and the idea of paying for an unaccurate sensor, and also some of the issues Ray noted i definitively dropped the idae of getting one!

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I have two friends that gave it a try and both thought it was useless. Both had trouble with the band staying connected, miss reading efforts and poor HR stats.

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Like others have said and, keeping it short and sweet, I’m interested in the concept, not so much in the delivery and utterly put off by the monthly cost.

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I own a WHOOP band since march, and so far I’m pretty happy.

The data is reasonably accurate for my needs, and both Recovery and Strain helped me better understand my training and my response to it. I’m also starting to change my training schedule a bit depending on my recovery - I wouldn’t do a test like Full Frontal when I’m not recovered well (something you do not necessarily “feel”), and I also tend to reschedule key workouts if my recovery scores are not good.

What I find interesting is that so many people report bad interactions with customer support - I never had a support case, but the onboarding is pretty smooth - you get your own “onboarding buddy” you can contact if you have any questions and problems, and that worked pretty well for me.

Regarding the subscription model: While I understand that it feels weird to get the hardware for free and then having to pay for the access to the data, I actually like it, because it aligns WHOOPs business model with my own interest: For a company that earns money selling hardware, existing customers are a liability (yes, you need to offer services or people won’t buy your hardware, but once someone did that, they cost you money). The subscription model creates an incentive for WHOOP to keep their existing customers happy.

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Like DCRainmaker, I’m going to be contradictory. I want to love it. I’ve had one for 8 months now. It’s nascent technology and should be viewed as such. I’m hoping the 4.0 is a healthy jump forward, and by v5.0 it will be remarkably helpful. It’s not quite accurate enough or precise enough for me to be able to recommend it to someone, but it’s also good enough I won’t discourage anyone from getting one.
It encourages you to get more sleep. You can configure it to ask you behavior questions which encourages you to do yoga, meditate, etc. It also helps you feel better about taking a day off. So for those reasons it’s worth it. Is it fully developed as an analytic tool? Not yet, but it’s not far off either. I agree the HR function isn’t good enough for mtb. Its 0-20 strain estimation also needs substantial work. They do regular updates of software, so it is getting there.
Like data? Need gentle nudges to get more sleep? Need encouragement to take a day off? Pick one up on Black Friday. In 2-3 years we’ll see them as great training tools. Now, they aren’t bad but aren’t a must-have either.

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I have had a whoop now for a year and its both good and bad it depends what you are doing. For example outdoor riding its terrible it tells me I have a heart rate of 170 which I know is impossible and well outside of what my Tickr HRM is saying. But if I use it inside on the wattbike where the position is much more stable the numbers are far more inline.

The data gathered overnight seems to be pretty good and reflective of how I feel and have slept and typically if it says RED for recovery then whatever I do has not been great. But it can get very confused as my partner has one as well. She was doing strange shift patterns as she is a consultant on ITU and whoop got very confused about her sleep and non sleep.

Overall you can get some good data its just frustrating that its so poor at times when I am outdoors cycling in what it captures.

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@Bleddyn @Loamjunkie @lifeintheslow Thanks for sharing your experiences. Pretty similar to mine.

I had a Garmin watch at one point but never used that HR for training as neither it, nor Whoop, capture my peak HR. When doing aggressive rides it can easily hit 180 (e.g. front of the pace line) and the LED wrist monitors never capture that.

I have been relying on it more for tracking my sleep and recovery. It has helped me focus more on getting more sleep and even more inclined to take a day off. It is always challenging to take a day or two off in the summer. I have a limited window of outside rides before winter roles around so always feel compelled to make the most of it.

It took me quite a while before I decided to take the plunge but overall I am happy with it. I could recommend it for understanding sleep and better managing recovery. I use the journal and some of the insights it provides are interesting; for example today I was 67% recovered and it tells me that I when I read in bed my HRV typically increases 8.8%. Hm. At least my evening IPA does not appear to negatively impact recovery. :slight_smile:

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Funny that you mention that. If it’s one thing that consistently lowers my recovery, it’s alcohol (ok, maybe not a single beer, though …).

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For the last couple of month I am transitioning from being a triathlete into more and more of a cyclist. Because of this, I decided to get rid of my trusty garmin watch. It has so many functions I just don’t need.

However, I like to keep track of my hear rate, sleep and recovery. Whoop sounds like it could fit my new needs and even improve on the stats garmin delivered.

  • How reliable is the automated tracking for you guys? I am especially interested in the tracking capability of the sufferfest sessions and strength workouts, as well as playing with kids and going for a walk.

  • How well does it measure „life“? Will I know if my stressful workday makes my training impossible?

  • How accurate do you find the daily calorie burn estimations? Can I fine tune my nutrition intake with this?

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@P.Weikamp Great questions.

For heart rate, sleep and recovery I have found it to be quite accurate. I never liked sleeping with my Garmin watch due to the size of it. Wearing The Whoop does take a little getting used to but it is a much lower profile and thus less obtrusive when sleeping.

Earlier I posted that I rely on my Wahoo Tickr synced to my Wahoo Element Bolt as the chest strap was always more accurate and I am so dialed into speed and distance. That said, I did review the HR data Whoop captured on my weekend rides and it does a much better job than my old Garmin watch at catching the HR spikes. Probably because it reads HR 100 times per second. Still, the HR strap is my “official” that goes into Training Peaks.

I think it will be pretty reliable for The Sufferfest sessions. I find my strength sessions from The Sufferfest do not add significantly to my day strain. The Whoop has a real time Strain Coach that you can start when you start a work out so you can watch the strain build to whatever the daily recommendation is. I did that this morning on “The Trick” to make sure I did over-drive my day strain.

I think it measures “life” well. I have been experiencing quite a bit of job stress the last couple months and I now really see the connection between mind and body. The stress took its toll on my recovery mainly through disrupted sleep. Happy to report the issue has come to a successful conclusion but SOMEONE owes me a couple of months of sleep.

I can say the “recovery” number in the morning correlates well to how I feel. I can still go out and do an aggressive ride with a low recovery score, but it will put me further into a hole the next day. I will feel it.

I have not really put any effort into the calorie burn evaluation yet. Just a casual review makes me think it reports a higher burn than actual. Probably my next eval now that the work stress is dealt with.

Good luck and please don’t hesitate to ask any other questions.

My question is why are you transitioning away from triathlon and more to just cycling?

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Thank you, @Rick66, for this response. It was immensely helpful.

I’m glad to hear you sorted your stress at work.

Whoop has many of the benefits I am looking for, compared to my old garmin, and yet, and can’t bring myself to pull the trigger on it. :slight_smile: I am really interested… I can’t exactly put my finger on why I am hesitating.

There are just one or two things the Whoop doesn’t do that I need. I fully appreciate the intend but it means I need two devices. I am looking at an Apple watch plus Whoop, right now.
For example, I am too used to the silent wake function of my old garmin. I know it sounds silly, but it’s these little things I will truly miss.

First world problems…

I fully relate to your previous comment on being a data junkie. My only problem is that I like to have a proper platform to collect all the data. Right now, it seems my workouts go to sufferfest, my heart rate - would go - to whoop, steps to nowhere, and so on… Garmin always filled this newfound hole.

I am transitioning more into the cycling world out of several reasons. For one, I can manage the strain on my body better: I always felt like I am missing out on important workouts with too many sports. Another is health: My knees gave me trouble during running for several years. Yet another is family: I workout in the garage and am “available” if the need arises.
Last but not least: I started enjoying riding a (indoor) bike much more than I used to.

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I do get the desire for a proper platform. I have bounced from Garmin Connect, Strava, Training Peaks, now Wahoo and Whoop… I guess I am used to checking multiple places. I wish someone would write an API so my Garmin Index scale would automatically enter the data into Training Peaks. The rest of my data goes there…

Thinking more about the calorie comment. I realized that wearing the Whoop 24/7 the calorie expenditure will be higher overall, but I will do a test to compare the calories attributed to a ride in Whoop to that in my Element and report back. All I know is I still eat too much chocolate.

Several of my riding friends are former runners who developed knee and ankle problems. I appreciate being available for family. When the kids were little it was more an issue. Now, everyone is surprised if Dad is not doing an “epic” ride every Saturday.

Good luck with your training. Again, I will start comparing my calorie numbers and post.

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I am too interested, I just signed up for a six month membership (and got a decent 15% discount).

Let’s see what all the whoop is about… :slight_smile:

Just curious: What happens after the initial subscription period? Do I just sign up for a new one and also get a new band, or will I get the chance to continue for a reduced monthly fee?

@Rick66: Do you have any experience wearing the device on your upper arm instead of the wrist?

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