Whoop vs Fitbit For Athletes and Workout Recovery Monitoring

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Let’s take a look at the Fitbit versus the Whoop Strap as it concerns athletic performance and recovery.  We will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of both devices. 

Fast facts: Below, I outline why I found the Whoop watch to be a superior tool for athletes to monitor performance and recovery. I also highlight why I actually changed my mind about the benefits of this kind of technology in general

If you’re looking for a new device to track biometrics, performance, and recovery you may be wondering which is better for your needs. We will look to answer any questions or concerns you may have before making a purchase. 

After wearing and using both devices, I have come to the conclusion that they are both effective in their own right.  It truly depends on what you want to get out of your device in deciding which one to purchase. I can see an instance where using both at the same time would be beneficial. 

I have used the Fitbit Surge (they don’t make this model anymore. I think the Iconic is most comparable) and the Whoop Strap 3.0.  I purchased the Fitbit while working as a personal trainer and working as a professional athlete as well.

whoop watch performance monitoring for athletes

I wanted to track my sleep and heart rate/calories burned during workouts. I purchased the Whoop strap to monitor my sleep, recovery, Heart Rate Variability in order to know my readiness for workouts and how well I was recovering while preparing for tournaments.  

Fitbit Iconic features:

  • Built-in GPS tracking
  • Goal-based exercises
  • Smartphone notifications
  •  24/7 heart rate monitoring
  • Sleep tracking – tracks all states of sleep 
  • Multi-day battery life 
  • Tracks steps (not something that I care about, easy to cheat)
  • Water-resistant 
  • Stores Music 
  • Tracks – resting heart rate, cardio fitness level, female health-tracking, sleep stages

Whoop 3.0 Features:

  • Multi-sport tracking 
  • Sleep Coach – gives you reminders when to go to bed to get adequate sleep for recovery. Tracks all stages of sleep and any disturbances
  • Strain Coach  – tracks your workouts/ activity and recommends how much work should be done each day based on recovery. 
  • Weekly Performance Assessments – gives a full breakdown and averages of strain/sleep/recovery 
  • Non-stop Heart Rate Monitoring 
  • Heart Rate Variability Monitoring – a feature that helps track how well your body is recovered from the workouts 
  • Tracks calories burned – tracks based on heart rate 
  • The battery pack allows you to charge while wearing – the device is intended to be worn at all times, you can keep wearing while you recharge. 
  • Scores your recovery/sleep/strain 
  • Waterproof 
comparing whoop and fitbit

What’s better Fitbit or Whoop watch for athletes?

I used both the Whoop Strap and Fitbit for athletic performance.  I was hoping that by using these devices, I would be able to get myself to peak performance without overtraining. 

I used the Fitbit for about a year on and off.  It was really useful to for my job as a personal trainer.  It was nice to have a stopwatch and be able to change songs, check messages without interrupting my client’s workouts, as well as monitoring my heart rate and sleep.  

I’ve been using the Whoop Strap more recently for about 2 months.  It has been very helpful in preparation for tournaments. It’s nice to see the days I’m ready for a greater workload or the days when more rest is needed based on my daily recovery scores.  It’s helpful to see me sleep and know how much sleep I need to recover for the next day’s work.  

The Fitbit was good for monitoring basic fitness needs. It tracks sleep to monitor how much I  was sleeping and quality of sleep. It also tracks your heart rate, I could track my resting heart rate and monitor heart rate during workouts.  It works as a watch/stopwatch, tracks distance on runs, calories burned during a workout, and you and view text messages on it as well. The biggest downside for me is that I couldn’t use it during my sport-specific training.   It was too bulky and would get in the way. It also doesn’t track HRV (heart rate variability) which is something that I really wanted.  

Why I prefer Whoop to Fitbit

The Whoop Strap is simple in that it doesn’t have a display it just tracks biometrics.  I prefer the Whoop Strap to the Fitbit because it is better at tracking my readiness to perform.  It gives you daily and weekly evaluations. It lets you know how much sleep you need to recover from the amount of strain you are putting your body through.  It is waterproof, so you can wear it during any activity. They have different accessories to accommodate wearing the strap during all forms of activity, which is helpful as wearing a watch-like device isn’t ideal in my sport. 

whoop recovery for athletes

If you’re an athlete looking to track the amount of stress you put on your body and how well you are recovered then the Whoop is a superior product.  Its sole purpose is to track biometrics which makes it better at doing so. Whoop gives a lot more information and tools within the app to help interpret what your biometrics are telling you.  

I’ve become almost obsessive about checking my recovering each morning.  It’s really enlightening to see how your body responds to the daily stress that it endures.  I also have become more aware of the amount of sleep I am getting. You can track naps to help bridge the gap in the amount of sleep you need versus the amount you are actually getting. 

sleep strain and whoop watch vs fitbit

It doesn’t know that comparing Fitbit versus Whoop is all that fair.  I would almost categorize them as different items. Fitbit is a fitness watch that has a heart rate monitor whereas Whoop strap is just a heart rate monitor with an app that gives you detailed information about the stress and recovery on your body. Fitbit is great in that as a watch there is a lot more you can use it for. 

Is Whoop a better fitness watch overall?

The Whoop watch and Fitbit both have value, it just depends on what you are looking for.  If you are looking to purchase strictly for athletic performance and recovery, the Whoop strap is definitely a better value.  If you are looking for an athletic watch the Fitbit has value but it is lacking in its ability to track biometrics in depth.

The cost of Whoop watch vs. Fitbit

The Whoop Strap usually comes free with a membership, $180 for 6 months or $324 for 18 months.   I can ultimately cost more as you pay a membership fee, however, the membership has a ton of value inside the app and on the platform. You can connect with other members and get access to information explaining more about recovery and performance. 

Fitbit is a one-time price and is a great fitness watch. For me, it just isn’t as sophisticated in evaluating my daily performance and readiness to perform as I would like it to be. 

sleep monitoring whoop watch and fitbit comparison

Why athletes will prefer Whoop watch to Fitbit

I would definitely say that if you are an athlete, the Whoop Strap is worth the money.  It is really important to be able to monitor your daily performance as well as recovery.  As I’ve matured as an athlete I’ve come to realize just how important rest and recovery is to performance and Whoop is a great asset in analyzing just how well I am doing that. 

I’ve had great experiences with both devices, but again I don’t know that there is a direct comparison.  I personally don’t really need a fitness watch, but I am very interested in learning about how my body is responding and to the daily stress I put it through.  When I was personal training I loved having my Fitbit, but once I stopped that to focus more on my athletic endeavors I stopped using it. It would die on me and I’d forget to recharge it then it would sit on my counter for weeks.  

The Whoop strap has become an obsession for me. I wake up and process my sleep and recovery immediately, then after each training session, I can’t wait to see my max heart rate and calories burned.  I’m constantly checking the app for more information oh how my body is performing.

Other questions? Leave them below and I’ll chime in.

Author: Jena Bishop

Jena is considered one of the accomplished female grapplers of all-time. She is one of only 5 American females to win an IBJJF World Title at black belt and is a multi-time ADCC, IBJJF, and Abu Dhabi World Pro medalist and qualifier. Jena is a former athletic trainer as well and currently coaches and trains female athletes at Alliance San Diego in San Diego, California.

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