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Most people who exercise regularly wear some sort of device to track their workouts. It’s an excellent strategy to promote consistency, and in many ways makes it a game to keep things fun and interesting. You can connect and share data with friends for a little competition and an extra layer of “addiction.” Hey, if it keeps you moving that’s awesome, whatever works!

The market is cluttered with trackers and wearables, and you may have tried one or two. However, one product differentiates itself and is perfect for anyone looking to track more than just calories: the Whoop. Ativo believes in taking action and being intentional with your fitness, nutrition, hydration, and recovery, and the Whoop captures all of these elements.

Simply put, the data collected by the Whoop demonstrates how your daily habits affect your body and overall fitness level. By measuring your resting heart rate (RHR) and heart rate variability (HRV), the Whoop identifies correlations between your habits and your overall well-being.

Ok, cool, what the hell does that mean?

The Whoop wrist strap reads your heart rate 24/7 and displays two numbers: your recovery score from the previous day and your daily strain from movement & workouts. The method in which the device calibrates your recovery score (measured from 1 to 100%) is where the Whoop stands alone.

While asleep, the Whoop reads your resting heart rate (RHR), as well as your heart rate variability (HRV) which is the time in between beats, measured in milliseconds. These numbers are unique to each person and ideally, you want your RHR to be as low as possible, and your HRV to be as high as possible. Over time, a consistent decrease in RHR and an increase in HRV will signify an increased fitness level. Alternatively, increased RHR & decreased HRV would be a sign of a decreased fitness level. Aside from your workouts, the choices you make every day are the driving factors determining these numbers.

For example, it’s a Friday night and you go out for a big dinner with your friends. You’re out late, you have several drinks, and finish the night off with some ice cream. The next morning your Whoop will detect an elevated RHR and decreased HRV, resulting in a poor recovery score. Due to the low recovery, the Whoop will suggest you take it easy on the workout (or rest) since your body isn’t in great shape and ready to perform. If this is a frequent occurrence, it will be hard to make progress.

Compare your Friday night to a normal Monday. You slept well because you had to work the next day. You also packed a healthy lunch & refilled your water bottle twice. You hit your workout in the afternoon, followed by a sensible dinner, and went back to sleep at a decent hour once again. Chances are you will see a decreased RHR, increased HRV, and the Whoop will recommend a challenging or more intense workout because your body is feeling primed. This is where you reap the benefits of smart habits, and the Whoop is there to give you the green light (literally) to keep going.

Whoop’s feedback illustrates how your actions affect your body’s performance. To help identify a certain habit’s effect on your body, a journal function allows you to get specific. Simply select the habit you wish to track from their list and record things like hydration, alcohol consumption, vegetable/nutrient intake, protein intake, if you were feeling stressed, worked an overnight shift, etc.

At the end of the month, you receive a report displaying how these actions affected your recovery. It also displays your RHR & HRV trends and identifies if you have made fitness increases or decreases over that time.

Of course, the Whoop is there to measure your actual workouts as well. Based on your recovery, the Whoop acts as a coach and recommends an “optimal strain” for the day, measured on a scale of 1 to 21. This is where it becomes a game, as people will often find themselves “chasing” their optimal strain during a workout.

For example, if your optimal strain recommendation is a 13, and you complete your workout with a 12.5, you’re likely going to continue that workout for 5 or 10 more minutes until you hit that strain. Over time, an additional 5-10 minutes to every workout adds up quickly, and the results will follow.

So, if you’re looking for a new wearable that promotes healthy habits and gives you a push during your workouts, give the Whoop a shot. If you fully “buy in” and utilize all the bells & whistles, you will learn an incredible amount about how your choices affect your body and how to get fitter.

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