Monday, July 25, 2022

The Whoop Experiment -- Field Notes for July

Green recovery day! I said to Brian this morning as we eased into our morning coffee, reading the news, slow-Monday dawning… For nearly six months, I’ve been learning a digital-app-based body metric system known as the Whoop band/strap. It came at a discount after the Level 1 CrossFit Training Seminar last September, so I decided it was a Christmas present for myself. (Supply chain issues meant the tech-band didn’t arrive until end of January). Ever since then, I’ve watched my strain-recovery-and-sleep metrics each day.

 As I am not an elite athlete, monitoring top performance requirements, Whoop serves as a nerdy conversation partner for me, most days. I like how it keeps me intentional about my body, both in energy output and in healthy recovery practices. Intentionality is probably its biggest gift to me.


There’s a journal function, for instance, which allows me to track my macros/food-intake about 4-5 times a week. This keeps me conscious and honest about how I’m eating, what I’m eating. The ‘recovery score’ reminds me to balance strain and sleep with intention as well. I’m largely a yellow-recovery person, with few in the red, a bit more in the green. (Red=0-33%, Yellow=34-66%, Green 67%-100). It really is quite stunning how a good night’s sleep skyrockets my recovery into the green.


The biggest surprise for me, however, has been how the strain score gives me a sense of both confidence and challenge. I’ve needed an outside metric to balance my sizeable anxiety and/or fear about my body, its messages to me I learned to distrust from an early age. I am relearning trust, with confirmation.


Several days in the spring were in the 13’s, even 14’s, as I played with morning WODs followed by afternoon runs. I listened to my body—it really did feel like moving, pushing—and I eased off when the strain moved into the 13’s. I knew that was my upper limit for a healthy ‘push.’ Having that outside metric as confidence-builder allowed me to push myself in ways I didn’t know I could. I felt better and stronger, more and more confident. The largest strain score I’ve recorded was the July 4th WOD plus “reorganization of the storage unit” while Brian was away. A partner WOD and all the lifting and moving of stuff? 15.0 strain. I was exhausted. And slept hard into a yellow recovery.


At one point, I set Whoop’s alarm function for whenever Recovery would hit 67%.  That wasn’t a good pairing for me, as I would sleep ‘on edge,’ waiting for the buzz that sometimes didn’t come. I realized finally I relaxed and trusted more when I wasn’t waiting for “Recovery success.” Pay more attention to the big picture.


So I’m enjoying my Whoop experiment. It’s given me more confidence in my body, stronger ability to push myself without fear.

Or maybe I simply feel most at home with nerdy conversational partners.


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