How Accurate is WHOOP Calories? An In-Depth Analysis

by | Jul 28, 2023

Keeping track of your caloric intake and output is the most important thing to do when trying to lose, gain, or maintain your weight.

Fitness trackers, like the WHOOP strap, have made this task a whole lot easier. But it’s important to know, how accurate is WHOOP calories?

If you’re relying on this data to guide your nutritional choices and workout plans, you need to be able to rely on its accuracy, or at the least, know how far off it is from perfect.

In this detailed article, we’ll explore the accuracy of WHOOP’s calorie tracking feature and compare it to the Apple Watch Ultra calorie tracking.

How Accurate is WHOOP Calories

The accuracy of WHOOP’s calorie count depends half on the health metrics it gathers from you.

The accuracy of other half depends solely on the algorithm WHOOP uses in their sensors to determine active calories burned – and there is no way of knowing this without testing it – which we did for you.

My Experience With WHOOP Calorie Accuracy

For two months I was very strict about eating maintenance calories, which is the amount of calories that I burn a day according to WHOOP. Every day I would log everything I ate into MyFitnessPal.

After the two months, I had lost just over 4 pounds, which equates to roughly a 233 calorie difference than what my WHOOP said I burned.

This tells me that the WHOOP underestimates the amount of calories you burn.

With confidence I would say that the WHOOP calorie count is underestimated by 10-15%.

Important! No fitness tracker can provide 100% accurate calorie tracking, as many other factors can influence calorie burn.

Everyone’s accuracy may differ depending on their physiology. If you find yourself losing or gaining too much weight, then adjust as necessary moving forward.

Check out our guide for a more in depth method of using the WHOOP to estimate how many calories you really burn.

How Does WHOOP Calculate Calories Burned

The science behind how WHOOP calculates your calories burned involves a two-step process.

First, WHOOP estimates your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) based on your height, weight, and gender, which you set in your user profile.

Your BMR is the number of calories your body needs to burn daily to maintain the basic functions of your life, such as heartbeat, blinking, everything that involves just staying alive.

Once your BMR is determined, WHOOP then adds the increase in your Heart Rate (HR) to this estimate.

Note that when your HR crosses a certain threshold, WHOOP transitions to a proprietary formula to calculate calories burned.

Simply put, the formula is Calories Burned = BMR + function (Heart Rate). This method takes into account the additional calories burned through physical activity beyond the basics of staying alive.

How to Find Calories Burned WHOOP

To find your total calories burned on your WHOOP, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the WHOOP app.
  2. Scroll down and select “Calories“.

Here it will show you the amount of calories you’ve burned up until this point. It will also show you previous days’ data, as well as your average calories burned.

Keep in mind that the true amount of calories burned for the entire day won’t be available until the day’s end.

WHOOP Active Burn vs BMR

Your body burns calories in two primary ways, through your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and through active burn. As mentioned, your BMR represents the calories burned to maintain basic body functions.

On the other hand, active burn pertains to the additional calories burned through physical activities. This means the more active you are, the more calories you’ll burn, obviously.

There is not much you can do to increase your BMR since it is based off normal bodily functions, however you do have control over the active calories.

How to Improve WHOOP Calorie Accuracy

There are two things you can do to improve the accuracy of your WHOOP calorie tracking, but the rest is in the hands of the algorithm.

The two things that are in your control is wearing your WHOOP strap correctly and for as many minutes of the day as possible, and making sure you keep your weigh up to date on the app.

This will make sure that your heart rate is accurately captured, which will lead to more precise calorie tracking.

How to Update Your Weight in the WHOOP App

  1. Open the WHOOP app.
  2. Select “More” on the bottom navigational pane.
  3. Tap “My Account”.
  4. Select “Profile Information”.
  5. Scroll down and enter your current weight in.
  6. Click “Save”.

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Ken Lynch

by Ken

Ken is a Data Analyst in the Healthcare industry and the owner and sole contributor to The Wearable Guy.

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