The Go-To Self-Quantification Wristband Now Used By The Navy SEALs, Pro Sports, Top College Teams, Olympians & Beyond

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self-quantification wristband
Podcast, Self-Quantification

Note from Ben on the WHOOP discount mentioned during the podcast: I stated that code: GREENFIELD would save you $50 off your WHOOP when, in fact, it'll actually save you $30. Still a great deal on an awesome device! 

It's been a while since I've talked about the WHOOP self-quantification wristband.

A few things we learned in my last podcast about this unique device, entitled  “WHOOP: The Performance Enhancing Wearable That Tells You When To Sleep, How To Exercise, Your Strain Levels & More!, include:

-The key defining characteristics that set WHOOP apart, including skin conductivity, accelerometer data, and continuous HRV monitoring…

-Why WHOOP is the only company to measure the activity and fluctuations of the cardiac autonomic nervous system, particularly as it relates to recovery, training status, and training readiness…

-The actual hard data being collected by the WHOOP, and HRV, pulse oximetry, temperature, respiration, etc.)…

-Why the WHOOP uses a combination of PPG (photoplethysmography) sensors (4 LEDs and 1 Photodiode) along with 3-axis accelerometer, capacitive touch sensor, ambient temperature sensor…

-How coaches and trainers can use WHOOP to monitor the sleep, training and recovery status of a large number of athletes and clients…

-Why the WHOOP has 90% sleep/wake accuracy compared to gold-standard sleep labs…

-How the WHOOP sleep coach automatically calculates sleep needed based on your sleep baseline, any sleep debt that has accumulated over the last few nights, and any naps taken for that day…

-The technology the WHOOP uses to tell you how much sleep you need and to give you a picture of when you should go to bed based on your habitual sleep efficiency and desired wake up time…

-Why athletes like LeBron James and Michael Phelps are using the WHOOP…

And in the article The World On Your Wrist: How To Track Your Daily Strain, Recovery, Sleep & More (A Nerded Out Review Of The New WHOOP Wearable.), you got a complete user review of exactly how the WHOOP worked out when a member of my team put it through the ringer for sleep, activity, recovery and much more. Then in the follow-up podcast “The Reebok Crossfit Games, Half-Ironman Nutrition, Elite Athlete Diets & More: A Conversation With The WHOOP Team” we discussed how Crossfit athletes have been getting a ton of value out of the WHOOP.

Today,  Will Ahmed, the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, is back.

At WHOOP, Will works with professional athletes across every sports league, college athletes across every conference, Olympians and the U.S. military. Ahmed has raised more than $50 million from top investors and has an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, marketers, and designers. He was named a 2011 Harvard College Scholar for finishing in the top 10% of his class and a CSA Scholar Athlete; he captained the Harvard Men’s Varsity Squash Team. Ahmed was recently named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and Boston Business Journal 40 Under 40.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-What a WHOOP device is and what makes it so unique…8:00

  • Unlock human performance.
  • Understanding 3 core parameters about the body:
    • Strain
    • Recovery
    • Sleep
  • Focus is on collecting data: 100 mb per person per day.
    • 100x more than other wearables.
    • Much more accurate understanding of the body
  • Strong focus on Heart Rate Variability (measured 24/7)
  • Triangulating data points.
  • Recovery is the most important measurement.
  • What is measured in the realm of sleep.
    • WHOOP data is comparable to PSG, considered the “gold standard” of sleep measurement.
    • Used by the NFLPA for recovery wear.

-Why there's a very dim light on the WHOOP device and whether there's concern about it affecting quality of sleep…19:40

  • Blue light stimulates the IPRGC, which tells your circadian rhythm that it's daytime.
    • Don't look at screens at night.
  • WHOOP emits green light; less capable of stimulating those cells.
  • If wearing correctly, you can't see the light at all.
  • Light on the body of the U/V spectrum is problematic.
  • Seeing light much more consequential, than light being emitted onto your skin.

-More about the actual electricity, Bluetooth and wifi signaling of the WHOOP…23:20

  • Two different things at work
    • Frequency
    • Power emission
  • Low power emission has very little consequence, even with sustained exposure. 
  • Power emission is measured by level of communication. (Cell phones are very high)
  • Bluetooth have very low power emission.
  • WHOOP is not constantly transmitting data; every 6 minutes.
  • WiFi is extremely high power emission.
  • If phone is in airplane mode, WHOOP stops transmitting data.

-The research WHOOP has been doing on meditation…32:10

  • Partnering with Head Space and Arsenal on a study. (can't discuss details)
  • Study involving float tanks.
    • Gives effects of sleep without sleeping.
    • Similar to a meditation session.
    • Monitoring HRV, respiratory rate, heart rate and motion
  • Independent woman did a mindfulness study
    • For 3 weeks, had no mindfulness practice.
    • Then for 3 weeks, meditated 3-4 times per day.
    • HRV increased while practicing mindfulness; quality of sleep improved.

-WHOOP's work with Navy SEALS and Army Special Forces…35:45

  • Worked with Army ordnance unit.
    • 40 participants
    • Half could see data; half could not.
    • Those with access to data went to bed earlier; slept later than those without access to data.
  • Navy SEALS test
    • Skydove from 14k feet into the ocean.
    • Swam 3 miles to shore
    • Ran 100 miles with 25 lb plates on their back.
    • Focus on preventing overtraining; body wasn't recovering properly.
    • By seeing data, helped with recovery.
    • When they started, averaged ~6 hrs. sleep per night; after 3 months, averaged 7.5 hrs.

-Research Will has done on stress reduction…42:30

  • Stress and HRV closely related.
  • Less alcohol consumption.
  • No caffeine after 4 pm.
  • Exercise; but don't overtrain or undertrain.
  • Drink more high-quality water. (minerals, sea salts, etc.)
  • Dehydration plays a large role in lack of recovery.
  • Mindfulness.

-The pros and cons of sleep regularity vs. sleep duration…46:45

  • Harvard study performed on students showed that consistency in sleep led to higher GPA
  • “Sleep coach” within the WHOOP app recommends times to go to bed and to wake up.
  • Minimum viable sleep.
  • WHOOP takes napping into account (sleep need)

-And much more!!!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

WHOOP (use code: GREENFIELD for $30 off at checkout)

AquaTru Mineral Drops

Quicksilver Scientific Quinton Hypertonic Minerals (use code: GREENFIELD10 at checkout)

-Biohacking movie Ben mentions: Upgrade

Episode Sponsors:

Kion Lean Support for normal blood sugar levels and healthy energy metabolism, even after large, carb-rich meals.

Organifi Red Juice. A “Tart-Sweet” Custom Brew With The HOTTEST Fat Melting And “Skin-Firming” Superfoods In The World. Use code: GREENFIELD for a 20% discount on your order.

Thrive Market Organic brands you love, for less. Get your favorite Organic & Non-GMO brands delivered to your door. Use my link and get an extra 25% off your order.

Primal Cold Make the cold your secret weapon with next-level cold gear. Get 15% off your order when you use code: BEN at checkout.

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Will or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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47 thoughts on “The Go-To Self-Quantification Wristband Now Used By The Navy SEALs, Pro Sports, Top College Teams, Olympians & Beyond

  1. Andre says:

    I finally got the whoop for my wife and myself after a few years of wanting one only to learn about the required subscription… Returned it right away…

    The next gen biostrap is supposed to be coming out middle of 2019 with a legit airplane mode and all the features whoop currently has minus the subscription. Looks like I’m getting a biostrap.

  2. Ted says:

    Ben – big fan of your podcasts and respect your efforts. I had great hopes for the WHOOP technology after this episode, and ordered one for myself and one as a gift. Unfortunately, I have been nothing but disappointed with the device and the company. Right out of the box it didn’t work at all. The app crashed every time just in the set up. Tech support by phone is literally unavailable. Email support is dismal at best, and offers no solutions other than the “team is working on a solution.” I know you have no ties to this company, but you and the listeners should know to beware of a company that is knowingly vigorously marketing, and selling a device that doesn’t actually work. WTF….I wish I had thought of that business plan for my own company. Anyway, buyers beware! Keep up the good work Ben…and btw we love the Kion coffee.

  3. Brian Potter says:

    Ben, I respect you tremendously and you’re one of my top go-to biohackers. But this product and podcast, just, well, I don’t know where to start. Echoing some of the other comments, why didn’t you call this guy out on some of his claims. Based on my research, this product and the way it’s marketed is total BS (well, almost). I’ll stick to my Oura ring (V2).

  4. Mark Austin says:

    The Oura is annoyingly lacking as a fitness tracker. One cannot get any data on workouts or peak HR during the day or any meaningful information when meditating. Seems all this is just a software thing because the hardware is tracking it all anyway. To save us having to buy the Whoop and the Oura ring can’t you have a chat to the folks at Oura for us Ben and have them upgrade the software to make it a more useful fitness tracker. The Oura does track activity but gives more credit for ironing a shirt than 5 x 5 deadlift with 450 pounds…

  5. Steve Carter says:

    Can’t believe they won’t ship to Australia?

  6. David says:

    I have worn a Whoop for around 2 years now, have found it to be very useful in encouraging nmr to optimise my Recovery. Over the last few months I have also worn the second generation Oura Ring, there are noticeable differences in the light/REM/SWS readings on the two devices. In general the Oura records less SWS and more REM although the combination of the two is not equivalent every night. Both devices have their advantages, you can’t improve what you don’t measure!

  7. Mike Jones says:

    The subscription is ridiculous. I really hope no one buys into this so as a community we can tell Whoop NO to subscriptions.

  8. joeyjoejo says:

    This guy has no idea what hes talking about from emf standpoint. Furthermore, putting your phone in Bluetooth mode will not stop the whoop from trying to make a Bluetooth connection, or else how would it connect when you turn your phone’s Bluetooth back on?

  9. Jose Fernandez says:

    GREENFIELD promo discount isn’t working :(

    Is there some kind of geo-blocking in place for people outside of the US of A?

    1. Caerie says:

      Trying from the UK and also not working

  10. Darryl Purpose says:

    Ben,
    Thanks for what you do, I’m a big fan.
    It would have been nice to get a clear explanation of the cost of ‘membership’ at the end of this podcast. It almost happened, but then didn’t.
    Best,
    Darryl

  11. Matt Wilson says:

    I think the CEO of Whoop was a lot less prepared to talk about EMF, light, meditation, or hydration to the biohacking / extreme health enthusiasts than interviews I’ve heard with the Oura Ring founder. Even small things like telling Ben that HRV isn’t accurate if you take it randomly throughout the day was a little elementary to tell Ben. Of course he controls his variables and takes his HRV immediately when he wakes up in the morning before he runs around or eats.

    I’m curious if others are skeptical… I’m sure some informed people could pick apart some of his answers.

    Also I’m not sure about the business model of them not giving me my data unless I continue to pay them for it. I’d rather have a device and get that data as frequently or infrequently as I want.

    1. Jim says:

      The guy was full of it, so many technical holes in what he was saying:
      1. Putting your phone in airplane mode will not stop the device from transmitting. Bluetooth low energy devices send out beacon requests on average every minute. The device will keep probing its surroundings to find the phone.
      2. WIFI does not transmit at 30Ghz, it is 2.4Ghz. The same as bluetooth. Difference is the power level and the actual band in the 2.4Ghz spectrum.
      3. The guy makes ridiculous correlations about a few measurements he takes to say things are the same: “because people in a float tanks numbers looked the same as people in a meditative state, therefore they are meditating”

      This is one thing I hate about these kinds of podcasts, Ben obviously doesnt want to be rude and pull him up on things like this as he is a guest on the show. But to less educated people it seems as if Ben is agreeing with him.

  12. Andrea says:

    I prefer wrist device and this one looks a promising one ….
    But monthly fee is a ridiculous proposition, out of the market: if I use it for 5 years (as I did with my current device) it’ll cost 1.800 US dollars…
    It’s a pity such a promising device cannot be acquired upfront as every other one else from competitors.

  13. Keith says:

    I e gone ahead and taken the plunge to test this for 6 months. However had I read the amoiu t of negative reviews by users in faceboook I would have stayed clear. How can a company the reports to be used by special forces, celebrities etc have such poor customer service and not respond to requests or calls? Time will tell.

  14. James says:

    Being forced to spend USD$30 a month AFTER you’ve paid $180 is ridiculous. I would never consider this a viable option unless they had a version of the software that was always available for free, crazy money for data.

  15. Eric says:

    Could training with blood flow restriction as a recovery modality affect this devices accuracy?
    Concerned that it may completely throw off the ability for the device to quantify general recovery and the benefits of recovery from BFR due to uncalculatable changes in ones blood pressure from BFR training.

    Any thoughts?

  16. Aaron says:

    How accurate is the measurement of sws vs rem? I’m 38yo male crossfit athlete and consistently get 7-7.5 hours a night with breakdown of 3-3.5hrs of rem and always under 15min of sws. Often nights it says 0min sws. I’ve tried every hack possible to get sws up but to no avail. Is it possible it misreads my sws as rem? I don’t feel refreshed in am but also don’t feel exhausted and weak like I should with under 1hr of sws a week combined according to Whoop.

    So to summarize, is the calculation of sws vs rem accurate? Anyone worn oura and whoop at same time to see if readings different? Thanks Ben

    1. Taylor says:

      I tried for a long time to get mine up as well. Things that I noticed having the greatest impact were increasing the amount of time from last calorie to bed and also using a PureKana CBD vape pen. I have doubled my SWS when I focus on these. try to get 3 hours from last calorie until i go to sleep.

      1. Sam says:

        Circadian rhythm is key; Dr. Satchin Panda (I think Ben did an interview with hiim once) has some really great information around it.

  17. Erik says:

    At first I was very disappointed to hear that the Whoop doesn’t have an Airplane mode. But, then Will described how Whoop has a magical way of knowing when you’ve put your phone in Airplane Mode, and therefor doesn’t try to transmit data every six seconds while you’re sleeping (and it’s probably next to your head). Also, it’s very cool that (while not trying to communicate) it somehow magically knows when you’ve turned your phone back on, so it can start sending over data via Bluetooth. Who needs an Airplane mode when you’ve got magic?! Whoop Whoop!!

    But magic is very expensive on a monthly subscription, so I’ll be sticking with my Oura.

    1. Matt Wilson says:

      I’m skeptical here. By putting your phone in airplane mode, your wrist band no longer emits Bluetooth? It might not transmit data, but doesn’t everything that has Bluetooth have their own field, whether or not there is anything around to talk to it? I’d love to hear what an EMF expert would say. The oura for example has its own airplane mode. Unless you turn this band off I assume if it has Bluetooth there is an outbound signal.

      1. Erik says:

        Matt, please don’t be skeptical. The magic only works for those who believe.
        Can I get a Whoop Whoop!

      2. Cathy Cooke says:

        I’m a Building Biologist and I found this skeptical as well. Without testing it with my meters I can’t say for sure, but I suspect there might still be some frequencies. And the fact that he says the lower frequencies aren’t a problem is not accurate. We know that even extremely low frequencies have biological impact. ‘Extremely low’ is an industry term, it doesn’t mean that it has a ‘low’ impact on the body- it can have profound affects actually. They may not have found any anecdotal problems among users, but for anyone trying to avoid EMF’s, especially on the body- I would be wary of this. I would like to see the device tested by a Building Biologist or other professional who has professional meters to do so.

        1. Erik says:

          I am more than skeptical. There is no way that I know of (outside of proprietary Whoop magic), that the wrist band can know your phone’s status without trying to communicate (sending a signal). Will was careful in his wording, always saying that the Whoop ceases to “transmit” data when you put your phone in Airplane mode. No surprise that it can’t “transmit” data to something that is effectively off. It seemed that he was crafting his wording with the intent that the listeners would interpret it as “the Whoop isn’t sending out any signal.”
          I was also dissatisfied with his explanations on Bluetooth’s harmful effects, light exposure on skin, etc. But, the trickiness during the Airplane mode conversation was enough to turn me off (airplane and otherwise) to the Whoop. Also, the subscription model is terrible for the user. Even though you’ll end up paying for 10’s of Whoops, you’ll never be able to “Give a Whoop!” because you’d never actually own one.

          1. Matt Wilson says:

            I really didn’t like how he danced around these topics. Ben specifically asked about light on the skin and he gave a lengthy explanation about cells in your retina, before finally coming back to the conclusion that the Whoop wouldn’t affect your sleep because it’s a green light and not a blue light. It’s probably a great piece of technology, but the interview didn’t build trust.

      3. Ken says:

        I own a band and my understanding from using it is that the Bluetooth automatically turns off if it can’t reach the phone. In order to wake it back up I tap that the band Twice when I turn my phone on, which puts it back into transmitting mode. So it’s not constantly searching for a phone which is turned off.

    2. Mark Austin says:

      love your sarcasm Erik… my thoughts exactly

  18. Heath says:

    Same here. I’m waiting on my Oura ring (hope to get it this month) and find the Whoop to be very interesting. But, having to pay $30 every month for the life of the product seems a bit much.

    Ben,
    I too am interested in your take on this strap compared to the Oura ring.

  19. Greg says:

    The comments about “proper bluetooth settings” and how wireless/wifi and bluetooth operate at wildly different frequencies make Will seem pretty ignorant and undermine any credibility, and by extension, Ben too because of his lack of disagreement.
    The power output from your phone on WiFi and the power output of a stationary cell phone and a cell phone in your car driving down the highway are all pretty different, with the former two being rather small and the latter case being quite large. People don’t seem so concerned about their phones in the car though, even though it takes a bit more power to consistently connect with multiple cell phone towers while driving 50-70mph.

  20. Terence says:

    Also interested in views of Oura vs Whoop

    1. Ryan says:

      Great point! I was thinking that all episode long. Very interested in your take on this Ben.

    2. Walter says:

      I am using both. Fortunately I got a whoop before the subscription model.

  21. drew says:

    yeah i’m curious too Ben… do you prefer the oura ring or the WHOOP ??

    1. I've used and gotten value from both. I currently use the Oura ring because I just don't like wristbands but many people actually do prefer a wristband, so I want to offer folks the best of the best options for either preference. In addition, the WHOOP is a very good solution for coaches working with a team of athletes or personal trainers working with a group of clients etc. So a big part of this depends on your personal preference (e.g. wristband vs. ring), the situation in which you're using the device (e.g. team coaching vs. personal use) and also how you like the layout of the specific app and web dashboard. Both options give good, accurate data.

      1. Sam Biller says:

        Doesn’t Oura sample at 250 Hz versus 100 Hz for the whoop? That plus the airplane mode and the improved skin transmission at the finger versus the wrist makes Oura a better choice for hardware.

  22. frank m orel says:

    So…. this or oura???

  23. James Betesh says:

    You say $50 off, only got $29 off …….

    1. James Betesh says:

      Actually I ordered and just canceled. You can never fly solo even after the 6 months. It’s basically bricked unless u have the membership

      1. Frank says:

        Hmmmm. Ours looking better and better

        1. Steve says:

          The Oura is backordered a few months, the WHOOP is available now, so for people who want it NOW there is a clear edge.

      2. Ryan says:

        Thats interesting James. I wondered about that. This means that in just over 8.5 months of paying for the subscription based service, you would have paid off an Oura ring which does not require a subscription. I would like to see Oura incorporate some of the ideas and algorithms into future software updates on their ring.

        1. James Betesh says:

          Ben asked in the podcast at the end but all I heard was crickets. Agreed. I’d rather pay up front and be done then have another subscription

    2. I miscommunicated that…it's not $50, sorry, man. Still great savings.

      1. James Betesh says:

        No worries i figured, didn’t bother me as much since i ordered it anyway…..but after digging and realizing the ride or die membership (and im far from frugal) i fell out. I prefer a wrist item personally (and not a watch type) but i’ll look into the ring.

        1. Ted says:

          Ben – big fan of your podcasts and respect your efforts. I had great hopes for the WHOOP technology after this episode, and ordered one for myself and one as a gift. Unfortunately, I have been nothing but disappointed with the device and the company. Right out of the box it didn’t work at all. The app crashed every time just in the set up. Tech support by phone is literally unavailable. Email support is dismal at best, and offers no solutions other than the “team is working on a solution.” I know you have no ties to this company, but you and the listeners should know to beware of a company that is knowingly vigorously marketing, and selling a device that doesn’t actually work. WTF….I wish I had thought of that business plan for my own company. Anyway, buyers beware! Keep up the good work Ben…and btw we love the Kion coffee.

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