Are you looking to maximize your performance, in and out of the pool? What if you could?
WHOOP is a fitness tracker that measures strain, recovery, and sleep. It is a band that you can wear on your wrist or bicep 24/7 that has the ability to charge on the go as you move throughout your day. Athletes are best known for wearing this, but it is accessible to everyone.
I first started wearing a WHOOP during my post-grad swim career in 2019. I was looking for every possible way that I could be the absolute best in and out of the pool leading up to Olympic Trials. I was eating and training well, but I was having a hard time recovering from the strenuous day to day of being a professional athlete. I heard about WHOOP from a former swimmer and Olympian at the University of Michigan, so I thought I’d give it a try. Insert WHOOP wearing.
According to whoop.com, it measures how much stress you experience through your life and exercise, how you recover, and how well you sleep from that stress. The data is used to give recommendations on how you can improve your performance.
The first few days of wearing the WHOOP is getting it calibrated with your body. Everyone’s physiology is very unique so it takes a few days to “get to know you”. Then you get your first real recovery score which will be in the green, yellow, or red. The full calibration phase takes about 30 days which includes your strain assessments too.
I am a middle distance swimmer, but on the lower end. I train mainly for 200s and 100s. What I started to notice was that the harder I trained (strain increase), my body required more sleep in order to peak and perform the next day. It was also interesting to note that the days I ate nutritionally well seemed to help my performance score while the nights I stayed up late, on my phone, participated in adult activities, or ate poorly, my score was significantly lower.
I also started to notice that a week before my menstrual cycle, my body was having a hard time recovering from the stress I was putting on my body. After trying several different things out during this time, I was able to work with my body instead of against it.
The body is a very complex system that is ever changing. I still wear my WHOOP everyday and am constantly learning new things about how I can still perform at my potential. The data is truly amazing to look at and incorporate into my daily life. Science seems pretty cool and easier to understand with this than it did in college, haha.
Check out whoop.com to learn more if you are interested in trying it out for yourself! Honestly, it has been one of the best investments I could have made for myself, along with getting my DNA tested with Erica. These two things together have helped me optimize my performance as a swimmer. WHOOP also has a podcast that I listen to on Apple where they dig deeper into sleep, recovery, nutrition, training, lifestyle habits, and more, every week, to help you reach your potential. If you wear a WHOOP, let me know what you think!