Editor’s Note: This feature is supported by WHOOP.
In all the chaos, the madness of life, from raising rugrats to running a business while trying not to do too many things that affect your health (like drinking too much beer), do we really need another app in our lives? It’s debatable. But, if you were to add another app to your life, it probably shouldn’t be something that keeps you scrolling. It should be something that contributes positively to the way you feel. And in that case, the WHOOP app – combined with the Strap 4.0 – would be a great addition.
If you hadn’t heard, WHOOP is a health system that actually helps you get down with recovery. Without scrolling. That’s definitely something I can get down with. Basically, it’s a personal, digital fitness and health coach. WHOOP helps you monitor your sleep, strain, and recovery with real-time feedback. It applies a number rating to most everything you do (think QBR rating for NFL quarterbacks). For example, your “day strain ” gets a number. My all-time record was an 18.9 on a day the wind was whipping and I spent three hours kite surfing poorly, but kiting nonetheless (right).
WHOOP then assigns a percentage to your recovery, which includes how much you sleep as well as other insights and biometrics. Above 70 percent and you’re getting a green ranking. Below 50 percent and you’re in the red (in between and it’s a yellow color for caution). You also get a reading of how many hours you actually slept, and how much of that sleep was truly deep and restorative.
How does it all come together? WHOOP calculates how much strain your body has endured, with how much recovery you’ve had, and gives you notices on the app if you’re ready for a big day of strain or output. Like, go for shit in whatever activity you feel like because your body’s ready. Or on the opposite side, if you need more rest, the app will let you know (and you’ll be able to feel it so it matches up). The app includes a calendar so you can go back and nerd-out on all the effort you’ve given, and the recovery you’ve given your body to review where you’re at, where you felt the best, and what activities kicked your ass most.
The calendar even allows you to see what circumstances led to better sleep. For example, on weeks I was traveling, the recovery percentages were really low, and I felt like dog. My best recovery was obviously home, in my comfy bed, in a place I was familiar with. The thing works.
There’s of course several critiques: You can read too much into the numbers when your recovery has been low. You’ll get a reading like 18 percent recovery and think, “Am I dying?” Again, there can be a tendency to obsess over the numbers. As far as the Strap 3.0 goes, the wristwatch-esque device is extremely accurate and I appreciated how light it was and basically unnoticeable. It worked like a champ. That said, the strap could be a little hardier. I’m physical. A ruffian really, taking wetsuits on and off and I lost it several times as it got pulled off with my suit (the final time it was ripped from my wrist and flushed down the drain during a surf session at the City Wave in Chelan, Washington). A hardier strap would do the WHOOP good as well as turning it into a wrist watch – since it’s there, you may as well be able to tell time with it, too. WHOOP does have an after-market solution to protect the strap called a Hydrosleeve, highly recommended if your activities are of the physical variety.
That said, I’m a WHOOP believer, whether they were a partner with The Inertia or not. Having those key numbers allows you to monitor your body, and especially your sleep, which is so vastly underrated in the quest for good health. When you overstrain, you can recover, and WHOOP helps you manage that and know how much you have left in the tank. It’s a clear view of your health in a sometimes wildly unclear world.