With 2019 drawing to a close, we’d like to thank our members for being a part of this incredible year. As a holiday gift and added perk of your membership, earlier today we released the Annual Performance Assessment to help you reflect on 2019 on WHOOP.
Below, we share WHOOP Founder and CEO Will Ahmed’s Annual Performance Assessment and break down its contents to help you get the most out of your own.
Annual Performance Assessment Basics
The first page of the report gives a high-level overview of your data for the year. On the top, we show you your average strain, recovery, and hours of sleep for 2019, followed by the averages of all WHOOP members and the averages of any WHOOP teams you are on (if you haven’t joined a team yet on WHOOP, we encourage you to check out this fun new feature released earlier this month).
Next, we break down your data by day of the week. Will’s report shows that he tends to be incredibly well-recovered on Mondays, but his recovery steadily declines throughout the week. Many WHOOP members experience a similar pattern, which may suggest that they need to focus more on recovery and stress management during the week and rely less on the weekend to “make up” for it.
Like Will, the average WHOOP member gets the most sleep from Saturday night into Sunday (marked Sunday on the Annual Performance Assessment) with an average sleep performance of 81%. In general, our members seem to take advantage of weekends as opportunities to build strain and get recovered. Average strain is highest on Saturdays at 12.8, and lowest on Sundays, at 11.9.
The second page of the report gives you a chance to look at your strain, recovery, and sleep data across the year and identify times where you might have been working harder than others, or being more or less disciplined about your sleep. Each row in the heatmaps is a different day of the week and each column is one week, so you can also see the day of week trends from the first page in greater detail.
For most of our WHOOP members, strain was highest in July and August (12.6) and sleep performance was highest in February and March (84%). Recovery was highest in May, with a WHOOP-wide average of 60%.
Every morning, WHOOP surveys its members with questions about several pre-bed behaviors. While the answers to those surveys don’t impact the way we analyze your data, there is a lot to learn from how your sleep and recovery correlate with your answers.
From Will’s data, he can learn that for him, sharing a bed is associated with getting slightly less sleep, but waking up slightly more recovered. Other users may or may not see similar responses to this behavior, results varied quite a bit. For Will, sharing a bed has other positive side effects--when he shares his bed, he sleeps 17% more consistently than when he sleeps alone.
Not surprisingly, alcohol consumption reduces Will’s HRV by 32 ms and increases his RHR by 9 beats (20%). Will doesn’t read before bed, use a screened device in bed, or consume late-night caffeine often enough for a statistically significant analysis, so those rows are left blank. He’s probably better off for those decisions, especially choosing not to consume caffeine within four hours of bedtime. For the average WHOOP member, this behavior is associated with a 2 bpm increase in next-day resting heart rate, a 6 ms decrease in HRV, and a 7.2% decrease in recovery.
Training & Response
The final page of the Annual Performance Assessment puts all the data into context by showing how you balanced strain and recovery (top) and how your cardiovascular fitness (bottom) responded to that training. The top graph is adapted from the first page of your Weekly Performance Assessment, but shown now as a time-series instead of a scatter-plot. The gray line shows the difference between your optimal and actual strain, with higher values indicating periods of overreaching and lower values indicating restorative periods. Sustained periods of overreaching or restoring are highlighted in red and blue, respectively.
In the bottom section of the page, you can see how your body responded to your training behavior. If you were overreaching and then your HRV/RHR improved, that’s a sign that the overreaching was functional, meaning you were more fit because of it. If, however, your HRV and RHR got worse following the overreaching period, that can indicate non-functional overreaching. Similarly, periods of rest can result in a physiological restoration that enables harder training and better performance - think tapering before a big competition - or can lead to loss of fitness and detraining. Looking at the top and bottom graphs together can help you understand if your training had the intended impact.
Will’s data is a great example of these phenomena. In March, he entered an overreaching period and in response to the elevated load his HRV and RHR got worse. He backed off in April and his HRV bounced back to its highest monthly average of 2019--a sign that the training he did in March was functional. Then at the end of April and into May, he entered a significant overreaching period. Despite backing off in June it took until July for his HRV and RHR to start to bounce back, a sign that the degree of overreaching may have been excessive.
It’s worth noting that these relationships are not always straightforward and it’s important to consider context alongside this analysis. For example, leading up to the launch of the WHOOP Strap 3.0 this summer, added stress might have in part contributed to Will’s temporary decline in HRV. So for WHOOP members digging into their reports today, we encourage you to reflect on factors other than training that might have contributed to your fitness changes.
We hope you enjoy this fun membership perk, and wish everyone a happy New Year and many green recoveries in 2020!