• Rob Olson

The Whoop Diaries - Pt 4

Oh yes, The Whoop Diaries is back! This one is titled "Just when you thought it couldn't get any better ... It. Got. Better."

If you are new to the Whoop, check out the previous posts to catch up:

Part 1 (What is it?)

Part 2 (Learning from the data)

Part 3 (Coach Nicks data and learning points)

In January, Whoop released what it called the "Annual Performance Assessment". I had been using Whoop for all of 2019, so I got some pretty amazing data. Just like CrossFit, it is cool to look back and see what you were doing, and where you are now. Seeing progress is addicting, and it feeds the positive feedback loop!

Here's a breakdown of what the Annual Performance Assessment showed me.

Strain - Also known as "the accumulative affect of how hard you worked in a day". It measures cardiovascular load - the higher your heart rate, for an extended period of time, measured against your resting heart rate, shows how much "work/strain" you did in a day. What the annual performance assessment shows is the light blue is easier days, and the dark blue are harder days. You can see a lot of dark days around April, May, and June, and this makes sense - this is when I was training for my 50 mile ultramarathon.

Recovery - Also known as "how well you prioritize sleep and restful, restorative habits". It measures your resting heart rate and heart rate variability and plugs it into their algorithm to give you the nice color coding every day. Work hard but don't sleep much, you'll probably see a RED. Take a day off and do some ROMWOD or yoga, you'll probably see GREEN.

Green = High Recovery

Yellow = OK Recovery

Red = Poor Recovery

Looking at the data above, you see more RED in January/February/March/April/May/June and this makes sense as I was training for the ultramarathon, and the harder you work the harder it is to properly recover. There's a saying that "you can only train as hard as you recover". While I was focused on recovery, it can be a challenge with work and family commitments. You will notice though that after the race in June there is a reduction in RED days and much more GREENS.

Sleep - Whoop measures your sleep based on quality and quantity. You can get 8hrs of sleep but if its poor quality, it is not helping you recover.

Light blue = poor sleep

Dark blue = great sleep

Check out the difference between Jan/Feb/Mar/April/May and then the rest of the year! HUGE GAINS! What happened? Denise and I made a decision to focus on getting more sleep instead of watching that "extra" episode. We went from going to bed at 10pm to going to bed at 9pm. GAINS!

Training Behavior - How hard did I work versus how well did I recover.

This I found fascinating. What this shows, is that I do too much work, and do not focus enough on recovery. Worth noting - March, April, May, and June was peak training for my ultramarathon. This had me running miles on miles every week. BUT, seeing this, in hindsight, I should have focused on my recovery more. Maybe an extra recovery day, or more sleep, more foam rolling, etc. Once we look at Sept, Oct, Nov my work/recovery is more appropriate.

One big note - in looking at this chart, there is no "restorative" phases. I did have peaks and valleys because I did program deload weeks into my training, but it was apparently not enough to be "restorative". This is one of my 2020 goals, is to have a month where I dip into the blue. Its hard mentally to do less. Working out makes me feel good. But, if you push, push, and push, eventually something will break. Balance is key, and this is a great reminder to me to find that balance.

This. This is everything. This literally shows the definition of "fitness".

An increase in HRV and decrease in RHR = Improved "Fitness"

(HRV = Heart Rate Variability. RHR = Resting Heart Rate)

Lets look at HRV first, up top. You can see I made gains up through August, which makes sense, as this was ultramarathon time. September I was working out a lot less, so I saw a decline in HRV. BUT! My HRV in December was still WAY higher than it was in the beginning of the year. POW!

Next, RHR. Again, we see fitness gains from all the running and CrossFit in the first half of the year. There's a slight regression in the fall, but again, my RHR was better in Decemeber than it was 11 months earlier. I'll take it!

As you can tell, I love fitness, and I love data. Whoop combines the two into a easy to read/decipher graphs and charts.

Where I think Whoop benefits most people, is with the sleep tracking. If you do not sleep well (but think you do), this device is well worth it. The fitness tracking is a bonus for the fitness nerds in us. For having done fitness my entire life, I find this thing glorious, and they only keep making it better.

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