Why I love the WhOOP Strap

NOTE: I’ve had a lot of followers/listeners ask me specific questions about the WHOOP Strap. In order to provide the most utility possible, I developed this post. It is much longer than a usual blog post. If at any point through reading you decide you just want one please scroll to the end and click the link to get your strap and first month free.

In the business world they have a saying. “What gets measured, gets managed.” Run around the tech world or talk to anyone with a rudimentary understanding of statistics and probability and they will tell you to use data to drive decision-making. If both of these statements are true then shouldn’t you measure your own health to manage it appropriately? To take it further, shouldn’t you use data about things like sleep, strain, and recovery to drive your decision making? Have you ever wondered what the impact of certain daily habits has on your sleep, workouts, or overall well-being?

If so, you now have an affordable way to determine if that impact is positive or negative. It’s called the whoop strap and I have been using one for a year now. Below is a synopsis of how the whoop strap works, what kind of data it provides, and how I used it to measure performance during SOBER October.

How it works

The Whoop Strap is a strap that sits on your wrist (preferably) and measures your exertion or “Strain”, heart rate variability (HRV), and your sleep. It uses these three metrics to provide you with a daily Strain, Recovery, and Sleep score, respectively. Whoop then uses the data gained to provide you with weekly, monthly, and annual reports to help you infer the effects of certain habits on each of these three metrics. Here is a link to a video from their website describing what whoop is.


The Picture Above shows a strain score reading from an individual wearing a whoop strap. The strap also provides you with metrics such as Average heart rate, Max Heart Rate, and calories burned from strain. It measures your strain using the Borg Scale of Exertion, you can read more about that here. In summary that scale will tell you if have had zero exertion through out the day (6) or maxed out your exertion (21).


The Picture Above here shows you the recovery score provided by a whoop strap. Recovery is calculated based off of your Heart Rate Variability and Resting Heart Rate as well as sleep performance. You are able to use this information to determine how much strain you should achieve in a day. I personally found myself doubting this score. I would later go workout and think to myself, “I feel like shit today.” I would later check whoop for my recovery score and find it to show I had a very poor recovery score. Conversely I would find on days when I felt amazing (without checking the strap prior) I would hit Personal Records and annihilate workouts.


The Picture above shows the vast amounts of data you can get from WHOOP on your own sleep. The whoop strap provides you with information about:

  • sleep performance
  • sleep duration
  • REM duration
  • NREM Duration
  • SWS Sleep (very deep sleep)
  • sleep Debt
  • sleep efficiency

If you aren’t yet aware of the importance of sleep


Whoop then uses all of this information to recommend to you how far to push yourself in a workout based on your desires. They use the same information to recommend how much sleep you should get for the night including when you should get to bed in order to obtain that sleep. I generally take 20-30 minutes to fall asleep at night, Whoop routinely tells me to get to bed for that amount of time prior to my sleep need. It automatically calculates this based off of your average wake-up time. In example, let’s say I’m up at 5:00 am normally and I need 8 hours of sleep tonight. Whoop will recommend I go to bed between 8:30 and 8:40.

Whoop then uses the same technology to recommend a desired strain score for the day. You can even tell whoop what days you want to have peak performance and what days you want to maintain performance levels. It will then use your preferences to recommend increased sleep the night prior to set you up for success.

The Journal

Finally, if you have a weird habit that you think negatively impacts you lifestyle or has a bad impact on you, you can use their journal feature to track that. Whoop will provide you with information on how specifically that weird habit impacts your lifestyle. During Sober October I put that to the test.

Sober October Data

During the month of October I stayed completely sober, avoided streaming tv services (minus one movie a week with my wife) and I did a three minute cold plunge in the ocean every day. One could argue all of this was a complete waste of time and I might not have much aside from anecdotal evidence to combat that. Responses like, Oh I feel better, look better, etc. only go so far. I actually had legitimate data to prove the impact these habits had on my heart rate variability, average recovery, and sleep.

What was the result. As the images below demonstrate, I had:

  • A 40% increase in Heart Rate Variability Adaptation (my body responded better to strain)
  • A 11% decrease in Resting Heart Rate (lower=better)
  • An average daily recovery increased by 24%
  • A 10% increase in sleep performance (lower sleep need paired with more sleep achieved)
  • An increase of 13 mins of restorative sleep per night, on average

If I haven’t sold you on it already that’s fine. With my link below you can get your strap, and your first month of membership free (click the button). I hope that you enjoy the app as much as I do. Message me if you do and I’ll put you on the PMP Whoop strap team.

Get your Whoop Strap and Your First Month Free

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About the Author

John McCarthy is a Father, Son, Husband and former Marine Infantry Officer. He serves his local community and just wants to push people to be better humans. Check out the Tough Talk Podcast and other writings on this website to learn more.

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