So a few months ago I mentioned that I was using a Fitbit to track my sleep and heart rate. A couple of weeks ago a teammate suggested that I try a different fitness/heart rate tracker called Whoop. It’s a tracker that takes a deeper dive into your heart rate variability, and the amount of physical stress you put your body through, in addition to tracking just how well you’ve recovered from that stress. It also estimates how many calories you’ve burned that day- I’m always wary of that feature, but I’m sure with its constant monitoring it probably has a better idea of your caloric expenditure than most trackers out there.
I signed up and have been using this new device for about 2 weeks now. It’s… interesting, to say the least. Where I think Fitbit gave you an average of how your heart was doing throughout the day, Whoop will check your heart rate basically every 2 minutes and track it all in their system:
And since they want as much data as possible, you are basically told to practically never take the thing off, not even to charge it- it has a slide on accessory to charge it, so you don’t have to take the tracker off for charging. Also, to accommodate those of us who are engaged in full contact sports, Whoop offers an armband with a padded exterior- basically looks like a fitted volleyball kneepad that you put on your arm. The main focus of Whoop really boils down to evaluating how hard you worked out (your “strain”) vs your recovery, and will even make suggestions based on those assessments.
Fitbit was also starting to do this just as I switched over, but Whoop also rates your sleep quality (bonus, whoop also rates how many breaths per minute you take while sleeping, which is kind of neat), and will recommend an amount of time to sleep and recover for optimal performance-
If I was truly looking to compare the two, I guess I could be wearing both a Fitbit and Whoop at the same time, but that’s a bit much, even for a nerd like me.
Another big difference is pricing- so Fitbit you just purchase the device, and I believe their basic plan is free, although I’m sure there’s some upgraded plan on their site that I just ignored. Depending on what version you buy, a Fitbit can run you between $50 for a refurbished device up to- according to my google search- about $150. Whoop is a subscription plan however that you can’t ignore- it’s $30/month for a minimum of 6 months, and right now they have a deal where if you sign up you receive the tracker for free. I also received a referral code from my teammate which also gives you the first month free. Which if anyone wants the referral code, just comment or let me know in some fashion (email, DM, carrier pigeon, whatever) and we’ll make it work.
I will say Fitbit is more all-encompassing when it comes to wellness. With a Fitbit you can track your calories, steps you take throughout the day, water intake, women can track menstrual cycles, in addition to sleep and exercise. With Fitbit you can also connect to other apps such as MyFitnessPal, entwining itself into all your other apps and trackers and such in your life. I’m still getting acclimated to Whoop, but it seems to be dialed in and intensely focused on just a few things: how hard you work out and how well you recover from those work outs. Which is totally not a bad thing: sometimes focusing on doing a few things well is way better than trying to do everything all at once. For some it can leave them frustrated however, as life is more than just stress and recovery and want to take those other factors into account.
When it comes to the actual wearing of the wearable fitness tracker, I would have to go with Whoop- right before I made the switch I found myself taking the Fitbit off more and more, mainly because the wrist strap would dig and irritate my skin when I would do things like type on a keyboard. Whoop has a much thinner band which feels almost cloth-like that they call “proknit”, which is way more comfortable to wear, and even the arm band is pretty comfortable once you get the hang of it. Also, no one has complained about anything digging into them while training, so that’s a win.
Ultimately I think if you want something that is a little more all inclusive, or maybe you’re someone who struggles with being active on a daily basis, then a Fitbit is totally the right move. If you are a more intentional about your workouts and really want to make sure you are getting the most out of your stress and recovery periods, and want to get more into some nitty gritty, granular data when it comes to those periods, then Whoop will probably be a better option.
Just some thoughts: if you wear a different fitness tracker or have a different opinion on either, please by all means comment and share your thoughts- otherwise, have a great day!