The Reebok Crossfit Games, Half-Ironman Nutrition, Elite Athlete Diets & More: A Conversation With The WHOOP Team

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Podcast, Self-Quantification

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

In the podcast episode WHOOP: The Performance Enhancing Wearable That Tells You When To Sleep, How To Exercise, Your Strain Levels & More!, I introduce you to Will Ahmed, CEO of WHOOP, the first scientifically-grounded, self-quantification system worn by a growing number of professional and recreational athletes. Will launched WHOOP out of the Harvard Innovation Lab with his co-founders John & Aurelian, when as captain of the Harvard Men’s Varsity Squash team, he became deeply interested in how strain, recovery and sleep affected an athlete’s performance. WHOOP is currently used by Olympians, military, the world’s top trainers, and teams across all major U.S. professional and collegiate sports leagues.

Since that podcast, Will has filled me in on how Crossfit athletes have been getting a ton of value out of the WHOOP, and introduced me to Mekenzie Riley, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist by trade who has her license through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as well as both a Bachelors and Master’s degree in dietetics from Eastern Illinois University.  In 2016, she went to the Crossfit Games on Team OC3 Black, taking 5th place overall. Now in 2017, she's been competing as an individual and finished third in the Atlantic Regional, punching her ticket to the 2017 Crossfit Games in Madison, WI.

Will also introduced me to Seth Page, Owner and Co-Founder of Misfit Athletics (where Mekenzie trains). Misfit works with athletes of mixed modalities to prepare them to compete at the highest level in the sport of CrossFit. Seth started out in the more traditional field of fitness training in 2006 before transitioning to CrossFit in 2008, and began coaching athletes locally in 2009 as the sport began to gain traction. Since then, Seth and Misfit have worked with countless CrossFit Regionals and Games qualifiers. Seth's current focus includes experimenting with and refining programming for competitive athletes, all while training for his first Ironman race.

In today's podcast, I have Will, Seth and Mekenzie all on the show together to talk all things WHOOP and self-quantification for Crossfit, Ironman and beyond, including:

-Mekenzie's training protocol and qualifying strategy for the 2017 CrossFit Games…[14:30]

-How Seth tracks eight different athletes each day and which parameters he looks at to make training decisions “on the fly”…[16:40 & 19:45]

-How Seth differentiates between mental vs. physical fatigue…[26:30]

-How Seth is using Crossfit to train for Ironman triathlon…[29:20]

-Whether you need to be concerned about Bluetooth radiation or LED light signals from the WHOOP…[45:50 & 47:40]

-Mekenzie's approach when it comes to Seth's diet, and why she has transitioned him from “carb backloading” to a more traditional diet for endurance athletes…[51:00]

-How Seth and Mekenzie are using WHOOP to customize nutrition data…[60:00]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

WHOOP (use code GREENFIELD for $50 off at checkout)

-Podcast: WHOOP: The Performance Enhancing Wearable That Tells You When To Sleep, How To Exercise, Your Strain Levels & More!

-Article: The World On Your Wrist: How To Track Your Daily Strain, Recovery, Sleep & More (A Nerded Out Review Of The New WHOOP Wearable.)

Show Sponsors:

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-Onnit – Get 10% off ANYTHING, from functional foods to supplements and beyond, at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/ONNIT

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


Also published on Medium.

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10 thoughts on “The Reebok Crossfit Games, Half-Ironman Nutrition, Elite Athlete Diets & More: A Conversation With The WHOOP Team

  1. David says:

    I have a question regarding the role that sleep data plays when calculating the recovery score. What I superficially see and all that I could read is that the total time slept is compared with my last 30 days average and this will determine the positive/negative contribution of sleep to its 1/3 in the recovery score.

    My question is: is the amount of SWS or REM taken into account in any way? Because the strap does collect this data too which without any doubt also relevant for recovery and next day performance but WHOOP doesn´t seem to use them in any way.

    Thank you!

    David

  2. Carl Bolster says:

    Ben,

    Would you recommend the whoop or the oura ring?

    1. Whoop is better of coaches with teams, Oura for individuals. Which are you?

  3. nonegiven says:

    The WHOOP HR is terribly inaccurate. Total waste of time. The HRV measurement is very useful but sleeping with the thing on your wrist is not comfortable. Much better ways to get your overnight HRV like the Emfit QS bed monitor.

    For HR tracking during vigorous activity, nothing matches a chest strap yet.

  4. lisa says:

    I felt like Will dodged the question in the podcast about the Bluetooth. From what I understand, the Oura ring actually allows you to TURN off the Bluetooth. Does the WHOOP allow you to do so? Or does it just ‘not transmit’? What’s the difference? For example, on my computer and phone I actually set Bluetooth to OFF.

  5. Evan Gonzalez says:

    Hi guys: I’ve been wearing my Whoop daily since Jan/2017. Aside from the common and well-known advice, any cost effective tips for increasing SWS, HRV and Recovery?

  6. Massimo Trevisan says:

    Is there an Australian retailer selling the Whoop or I can just buy from the Whoop website and pay for the extra shipping?

  7. adam ray says:

    I really like the idea of all day HRV coupled with sleep and exercise. Add in a MyfitnessPal type data for nutrition and you’ll have a complete package. The main question I have is the problem with wrist based HR monitoring. My experience has been proven that it’s VERY unreliable across multiple exercise types. The data crunching is irrelevant if the input data is inaccurate.

    I’ve tried a lot of hrm devices and I’ve never had a wrist based hrm that was anywhere close to actual HR while doing crossfit, weight lifting, or any other irregular movements and strain. A chest strap is the only device I’ve seen that can handle everything. I’m currently testing a Zoom HRV pod on my temple under a sweatband and that has been the most accurate PPV device placement for all sports. And so far it’s been close enough to the chest strap to make me question which one is right.

  8. Kendall D Trembearth says:

    Personally I would not recommend the WHOOP. My first WHOOP never worked as advertised and was sent back for a replacement. As for the HRM, about as accurate as a two bob watch. When it’s life is over, it will not be replaced.

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