WHOOP 3.0 Review: WHOOP vs Apple Watch
How I select the products I link to:
You’ve certainly seen or at least heard of the Apple Watch. In addition to Apple’s popular product, you may also have noticed a growing number of devices being worn people’s wrists—all of which do a whole lot more than tell time. Fitbit, for example, is “wearable” you may also have heard of, and WHOOP Strap 3.0 is another. If you are into fitness, and you haven’t heard of WHOOP, you sure will soon as the device has some incredible health-centric features and technology. I’m going to break down the WHOOP vs Apple Watch so that you can find what is best for you.
In the world of fitness, trackers, and smartwatches, there can only be one. You may not wear WHOOP on one arm, and an Apple Watch on the other. So you have to decide which product is best for you? Here is my WHOOP 3.0 review to help you make that decision.
First off, what’s so great about, “wearables?”
Wearable fitness trackers, or “wearables,” are better than old-school devices that you have to carry around in your gym bag and remember to put on before every workout.
The reason is two-fold:
1) You don’t have to remember anything! The best wearables like WHOOP 3.0, the Apple Watch, and Fitbit are all minimal, and all look good all day and night. Plus, you can even comfortably sleep with them. The last thing you want is to add one more thing that you have to remember before your next workout—that’s why it’s better to get a wearable, put it on, and let the device do the rest!
2) Most people don’t realize that they burn most of their calories every day just by being alive. I go to the gym and run on the treadmill for an hour every day. Surly that burns more calories than a night of sleep, right? WRONG…The number of calories you need to burn in order to stay alive is really quite incredible.
Called the “Basal Metabolic Rate” (BMR), the number of calories you burn per day just to stay alive is around 1,650 for men and 1,500 for women. If you are a particularly large or muscular person, however, this number can be much greater.
As you can see (unless you are a professional athlete or involved in a highly physically demanding profession), odds are you are burning more calories outside of the gym than you are inside.
- What Does BMR Have to Do With Wearables?
- Why Did You Decide to Buy the WHOOP 3.0?
- What’s so Important About HRV?
- What Has Your Experience Been with WHOOP so Far?
- As a Performance Athlete, How Has WHOOP Impacted What You Do?
- Is WHOOP for Fitness Newcomers or High-Performers Only?
- How Does Whoop Compare to the Apple Watch?
- Which Wearable Delivers Better Results?
- How does WHOOP Help you Work Smarter?
- WHOOP App Versus IOS Health Apps
- What Is Your Favorite Wearable Fitness Device and Why?
- Why Is It Important to Be Quantitative About Your Health?
- What Kind of Things Do You Suggest People Measure Using WHOOP?
- Why is Calorie and Recovery Tracking so Important?
- Is WHOOP 3.0 Accurate? Is It Comfortable? And When Do You Suggest Wearing It?
- Is the Membership Worth It?
- WHOOP Versus Biostrap + Oura Ring
- Overall Winner
What Does BMR Have to Do With Wearables?
Well, I’ll tell you: BMR relates to wearables in devices like WHOOP 3.0 keep track of not just the “active” calories you burn in the gym, but also the ones you burn to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing, your brain workings, and everything else your body needs to stay alive. Wearables, in other words, are accurate. When it comes to fitness tracking and heart rate tracking you want your WHOOP data or the data from whatever fitness tracker you use to be as accurate and comprehensive as possible.
One of the simplest (yet hardest to accept) truths about health and fitness is that if you want to lose weight, you need a caloric deficit. This is just a fancy way of saying that losing weight requires burning more calories than you consume. Wearables help you do just that by providing a clear, accurate picture of how many calories you are burning every day. They eliminate the guesswork!
Accuracy is important both for those interested in dramatic weight loss as well as those trying to get rid of stubborn fat. It may, in fact, be even more important for those trying to lose stubborn fat.
Because just 100-200 calories per-day can mean the difference between losing that stubborn stomach fat covering your abs versus seeing no results at all.
By keeping a close eye on calories in and out, you know exactly which activities, foods, and routines are contributing to your goals, and which are holding you back.
Everyone’s bodies react differently to various stimuli. Some people burn more fat during long, steady cardio workouts, while others do better with interval training.
In terms of diet, some folks do better with super-high protein intake, while others find they end up burning more fat by focusing on raw vegetables and fruits.
The beauty of BMR-tracking is that I can cross-check my diet and exercise routines with the real-time feedback I get from the device, so I know exactly what tweaks I need to make to my lifestyle, and enjoy performance boosts based on hard evidence.
Why Did You Decide to Buy the WHOOP 3.0?
As a performance athlete and fitness entrepreneur, I took my time in choosing the right fitness tracker. I knew that by collecting data on how I trained, ate, and slept, I could greatly improve not only my life but also the lives of those I work with. So I hunkered down and did some research. The WHOOP 3.0 Strap piqued my interest for a number of reasons.
- You wear WHOOP 24/7: Unlike other wearables, WHOOP has a removable battery pack, so there’s no need to ever take it off.
- WHOOP Tracks HRV: WHOOP has the best heart rate monitor on the market, shown to be within 1-beat-per-minute accuracy versus and EKG. And it not only tracks your standard heart rate, but it also gathers analytics and makes suggestions based on your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Using HRV data, the WHOOP tracker can tell you when you should and shouldn’t work out, how hard you should push yourself, and if your body needs a rest day. Few, if any, other wearables have these advanced types of heart-rate-based features. Just how many wearables can you think of smart enough to tell you when you shouldn’t work out.
- WHOOP is specifically designed to help you improve your workout performance as well as your daily habits. Living in this day and age, we can quantify just about anything, but what use is knowing how many steps we take or what our resting heart rate is if we don’t use that raw data to improve your habits and optimize the way we live? WHOOP helps you do just that.
- WHOOP Gives Great Sleep Suggestions: WHOOP understands that sleep plays a critical role in overall fitness. The device measures your sleep patterns and gives fantastic suggestions that leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
In short, I knew the WHOOP 3.0 was exactly what I needed to take my performance to the next level. Click here to see a monthly report of my progress.
What’s so Important About HRV?
Heart rate variability is one of the most important metrics when it comes to physical fitness.
The average resting heart rate for adult men is between 60-100 beats per minute. Let’s say we have someone, Jim, whose average resting heart rate is 60 beats per minute. Jim assumes that means his heart is beating exactly once every second per minute. But this is not actually the case. There may be two heartbeats that occur over a period of just 1.85 seconds and then two other beats that occur over a period of 2.15 seconds. These fluctuations are heart rate variability.
HRV is a highly accurate fitness indicator, and the greater your heart rate variability, the better. You will want to consider HRV when looking at things like your recovery score, another metric that is generated in real-time, and made available to WHOOP users.
Exactly why HRV is so important requires a deeper physiological understanding than I’d like to go into here. But, if you want to know more, click here.
What Has Your Experience Been with WHOOP so Far?
I’ve had an amazing experience using WHOOP. The device helped me understand which variables affect the quality of my recovery the most.
I have always been someone who trains hard, but I needed to learn how to recover. If you want optimal results, you have to push yourself to the limit. But you also need to recover smart. I’ve had the WHOOP strap for over 6-months, and my health and overall performance has dramatically improved as it has helped me improve my sleep patterns, HRV, and recovery days.
Click here to see my monthly performance assessment here.
As a Performance Athlete, How Has WHOOP Impacted What You Do?
WHOOP has helped me, and many of those I work with, get bigger, stronger, and faster. What more can you ask from a wearable?
I work with a lot of people in the fitness space, and I’m confident enough in WHOOP to recommend it to anyone looking to take their performance to the next level.
Way too many athletes go hard every day in the gym or at practice, but they overlook the crucial components of recovery, sleep, heart rate, and metabolism.
They strap up with WHOOP and it’s like an entirely new range of ways to improve opens up to them. They start to see that training is only a piece of a much bigger puzzle.
Instead of relying on coaches and trainers to tell them what to do every day, they start learning more about their own bodies, habits, and routines. It helps them level up in ways that couldn’t just be done with more personnel.
Is WHOOP for Fitness Newcomers or High-Performers Only?
One of the coolest things about this product is that with so many layers of functionality, there’s something useful for anyone, no matter where they are on the journey.
High-level athletes love the insane level of precision and analytics readouts from the device. Even if it can help them perform one or two percent better, that can mean the difference between victory or defeat on the field, court, track, or cage.
Folks just starting out, on the other hand, may not be interested in the super-detailed readouts at first, but seeing real, tangible improvements day to day is huge for motivation and keeps them on track with their goals.
I’ve worked with people who haven’t set foot in the gym for years, and find that WHOOP helps them stay accountable and informed about their progress. For someone just getting started, extra insight can be a huge motivator.
Basically, WHOOP is as serious as you want it to be. Everyone can benefit from the strain tracker, recovery, and sleep tools, but you can dive way deeper if you want.
I kept it pretty simple at first myself, sticking to the core features, but I’ve learned so much more about the interface since, and now I can’t go without it.
Apple Watch Functionality
When it comes to wearables offering health and fitness features, the Apple watch still leads the pack in terms of popularity. This is not to say it’s the best fitness wearable, but for some people, it works well. Some of the Apple watch’s primary functionality includes:
- Apple Watch fitness tracker: Apple’s fitness tracker measures both your active and passive fitness. One of the best things about the Apple watch is that it can send you reminders about when you should stand up, stretch, and move around. This is especially important if you have a demanding office job because many office workers let hour after hour go by without ever remembering to tear themselves away from the TV and get active.
- The Apple Watch can also help you with heart rate data as well as with counting calories as well as the “active” calories that you burn over the course of a workout. These metrics are important as recognizing them will give you a baseline to work with when you measure your physical progress. Tiny, incremental changes that you can look at and save can make a tremendous difference in time!
- The Apple Watch has a pretty good sleep tracker that monitors hours of sleep as well as different sleep stages and deep sleep, but it doesn’t use a respiratory algorithm as advanced as the one the WHOOP 3.0 uses to track sleep. So, when it comes to sleep tracking, the WHOOP fitness band may have a leg up.
- Another obvious great thing about the Apple watch is that it pairs seamlessly with the iPhone. However, in defense of the FitBit and WHOOP, both devices have fantastic apps that work very well with both Android and iOS. The WHOOP app, in particular, is easy-to-use and very informative with information on sleep quality, sleep performance, a fitness tracker, strain score, and more.
- The new Series 5 Apple Watch has a long 18-hour battery life, but it isn’t long enough to wear all day and night and you will have to take the device off to charge.
- Aside from functionality, the Apple Watch is stylish and comes in two sizes—38 mm and 42 mm. You can wear yours out to dinner or while you are at the gym. It is also waterproof – or, actually, it’s water-resistant* Meaning you shouldn’t jump in the pool while you have the thing on, but a bit of water shouldn’t do any real damage.
- Some of the downsides of the Apple Watch include its flawed and often inaccurate activity tracker, cumbersome design, and the fact that it does not currently check or measure for heart-rate-variability.
- The Apple Watch does not have anything similar to WHOOP’s strain coach feature which people can use to help guide their intensity levels in the gym or while doing activities like CrossFit or other types of exercise. The Apple Watch Series 5, though, does have many good health apps that fitness enthusiasts are sure to love.
How Does Whoop Compare to the Apple Watch?
The Apple Watch does some cool stuff and is a great product that you can use for a lot of different things. But if you are looking for something specifically geared toward personal fitness, you are going to want to go with WHOOP. You can even get $30 off your WHOOP here.
I believe WHOOP is a better overall fitness tracker than the Apple Watch as it offers more accurate information regarding the stressors on your body that impact your ability to recover. While I occasionally wear my Apple Watch for work, I find it is too bulky for the gym or intense workouts, which is when I prefer the WHOOP 3.0 Strap.
Don’t get me wrong, the Apple Watch is a killer piece of technology, but when it comes to the specific, targeted goal of improving health and fitness, WHOOP can’t be beaten.
Which Wearable Delivers Better Results?
We all know that ultimately, the main factor that determines our results is how much work we put in on a daily basis. Training, nutrition, recovery, you know the basics.
There’s no product out there that can make you work harder but I can definitively say that the WHOOP Strap can make you work way smarter, which can lead to faster, more consistent results in turn.
The key distinction here is that while the Apple Watch provides some useful data, it doesn’t offer much in terms of direction.
On the other hand, the WHOOP app is way more like a coach that tells you how to improve upon your last performance.
For example, the Apple Watch will display the quality of your sleep from the night before, but only WHOOP will take that information, combine it with your level of strain, BMR and heart rate to tell you exactly when you should go to sleep that night, and when to wake up the next morning for optimal performance.
How does WHOOP Help you Work Smarter?
Let’s say you overdo a workout and can’t fully recover that night. The WHOOP strain coach feature will recommend you don’t push it so hard in the gym the next day and may suggest more calories at dinner and an earlier bedtime.
It’s obviously not as legit as having a 24/7 personal trainer, but I firmly believe this is as close as we’ve come to an automated digital coach so far.
The WHOOP application also offers way better weekly and monthly performance readouts, which is great for folks who want to track their progress over longer time spans, instead of just going day by day.
WHOOP App Versus IOS Health Apps
I can’t complain too much about the health applications native to the Apple Watch, since they all do the basics like heart rate, sleep schedules, and habit tracking.
But the truth is that WHOOP packs so many more features into a single application, and gives me the information all in one place.
The strain coach, sleep coach, and recovery coach features are all accessible from the same main screen, and the information carries over seamlessly from one to the next.
Apple Watch feels more like a loosely connected set of health features, while it’s clear that WHOOP was designed specifically for fitness tracking and coaching.
Journaling, Assessments and More
I love the ability to record my daily habits on the WHOOP app and see how they impact my performance.
It gives me the option to add notes like if I skipped a meal, had a few drinks, or made any changes to my supplement lineup.
WHOOP also summarizes daily, weekly, and monthly performance on all levels, from workouts to recovery and sleep.
There just isn’t a way to get this level of high-level insight from the Apple Watch, at least not yet. As someone who wants a ton of information about my performance, the WHOOP strap is on a different level entirely.
WHOOP Comfort and Accessories
I stated earlier that the Apple Watch feels a bit clunky compared to the WHOOP, and that’s because it feels like the WHOOP strap is barely noticeable at all.
On top of that, you can pick from a ton of different strap colors and fabrics, so it’s even more customizable than you think.
You can wear the WHOOP on your bicep if you want, making it easier to go for long runs or be more competitive in a game of one-on-one.
The Apple Watch may be better for the office, but WHOOP rules in the gym.
WHOOP Versus FitBit
I’ve heard good things about Fitbit, although I’ve never worn one personally. Here’s a comparison chart showing some of the differences and similarities between WHOOP and Fitbit:
What Is Your Favorite Wearable Fitness Device and Why?
WHOOP is by-far my favorite wearable. All of the data it offers is second to none.
One of my favorite WHOOP features is the sleep coach. It tells you when you should go to sleep based on the amount of recovery you’ve reached the night before. Knowing when to go to sleep is paramount so that I can start my nighttime ritual.
The sleep coach also tells you more about your nighttime recovery than you ever thought possible.
You get readouts on sleep efficiency, REM cycles, and the number and frequency of disturbances during the night.
I never expected I’d go to bed each evening looking to reach new levels of “sleep performance”, but as a competitive person, I love it.
Why Is It Important to Be Quantitative About Your Health?
I try to do everything in life as efficiently as possible. And, as the saying goes, “if you can measure it, you can manage it.” That goes for business, fitness, and everything else.
To improve performance the right way, you need empirical, date-driven evidence to influence how you eat, sleep, and train, as well as to better understand which variables correlate with your body’s optimal recovery. Otherwise, you’re just doing guesswork.
What Kind of Things Do You Suggest People Measure Using WHOOP?
The best features are the calorie and recovery tracking. There simply isn’t another product available that tracks these metrics so accurately and consistently.
Why is Calorie and Recovery Tracking so Important?
Because understanding how hard you should push yourself based on your level of recovery from the night before keeps you from overtraining and also allows you to push yourself more on the days, you have more in your tank.
If you’re like me, you keep your foot on the gas 100% of the time. These tracking features help me pump the brakes now and then, and ultimately perform better when it matters most.
Is WHOOP 3.0 Accurate? Is It Comfortable? And When Do You Suggest Wearing It?
Yes, WHOOP is very comfortable, you barely notice it’s on. I wear it during boxing, weightlifting, functional training, flag football, and all daily activities, which is great because the more you wear WHOOP, the more accurate its readings and suggestions become. At this point, it’s basically just an extension of my arm.
Is the Membership Worth It?
For the insights and accuracy you get with the WHOOP 3.0 Strap, I can say with no hesitation that it’s 100% worth the membership. You get what you pay for.
Another great thing about WHOOP is the community, which I am now a part of. Not only can you push yourself to get in better shape, but you can see what others are doing and help encourage them, or just get a dose of much-needed motivation.
Since the WHOOP service is membership-based, you know that only the most driven and dedicated people are going to be in the community.
I’ve been on other online platforms where nobody has any incentive to hold each other accountable or stick to the program themselves. You end up interacting with people who aren’t on your level or just don’t take things seriously. That can be distracting.
The WHOOP crowd is on a totally different plane in terms of ability and insight. It’s like being part of an elite gym or training camp wherever you go.
WHOOP Versus Biostrap + Oura Ring
A few other wearables have hit the scene recently, and I’ve tried them out as well.
Biostrap has a solid app interface and gives great insights such as blood oxygen levels, but I ran into problems with the sleep tracker. It messed up my reading too many times, and it seemed like other electronics interfered with it.
It also isn’t the most comfortable thing to wear, and the battery life was too short.
I need pinpoint accuracy (and comfort) at all times, so the Biostrap just didn’t do it for me, overall.
The Oura Ring had me super excited at first. It has a ton of great features, the product itself looks cool, and is easy to wear. Unfortunately, the instructions say you can’t wear the ring in the gym, which is where I need it most!
Why would you use a fitness tracker that can’t record activity in the actual gym? It made no sense to me, so I can’t imagine choosing the Oura Ring until they improve it. I will stick with the WHOOP 3.0 for now.
The WHOOP 3.0 Strap is an invaluable addition to my fitness arsenal. Frankly, it’s the best thing to come along since Whey, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to be in the best shape inside and out. If you are interested in taking an intelligent, scientific approach to your training, sleep, and recovery, you need a wearable like WHOOP to provide you with the raw data and suggestions necessary for making long-term, lasting improvements. Click here for a 100% discount on your first month of WHOOP.