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Podcast No. 45: Pro Athletes and Coaches on the Impact of Alcohol

October 23, 2019

This week, we’ve got a special Sober October episode for you.

By Will Ahmed

Listen, review, subscribe.

It’s a compilation of what pro athletes and coaches have to say about the impact alcohol has on their bodies and their training, as well as the insights they’ve gained from wearing WHOOP. You’ll hear from gold medalists, world champions and some of the most elite coaches on the planet.

And make sure to check out to get a live look at the WHOOP data for Joe Rogan and fellow comedians Bert Kreischer, Tom Segura and Ari Shaffir as they participate in Sober October.

Show Notes:

3:19 – NBA Champion Marc Gasol shares a humorous story from the night he was drafted, “By the time they picked me I was asleep.” Marc also explains how WHOOP helps him better understand the impact alcohol has on his sleep.

6:15 – Air Rifle Gold Medalist Ginny Thrasher discusses how she notices that small amounts of alcohol have significant effects on her WHOOP data. “I won’t even have a glass of wine the night before I have practice.”

7:33 – Pro Street Skater Neen Williams. An ACL injury at age 28 made Neen realize he was throwing his career away drinking and partying. Neen notes that his body couldn’t heal itself physically when it was also trying to recover from alcohol on a regular basis, “If you’re drinking while you’re healing your body is trying to fight two things at once.” He also shares how getting sober has helped revitalize and extend his career. “My goal is I want longevity, I want to skate forever.”

15:50 – Nike Master Trainer Kirsty Godso, a self-described “Energy Dealer,” explains how sleep deprivation can have as great an impact on her ability to perform as a hangover. “Generally if I put myself in the red it’s not from training, it’s always from the rest of life.”

18:26 – Pro Golfer Scott Stallings talks about the role drinking plays in life on the PGA Tour, and why your body metabolizes some types of alcohol better than others. When Scott does drink, it’s “mostly tequila.”

20:50 – Superhero Trainer Don Saladino explains why he worries less about the calories from drinking, and more about what it does to sleep. “I’m not going to get fat from having a couple beers once a week.”

22:52 – Basketball Legend Sue Bird discusses how WHOOP helps her be more thoughtful about the times she does let loose and have some drinks. “You probably know what’s bad and what’s good, and alcohol is the best example of this, but to see numbers validates that.” Sue also shares the cause of her worst-ever recovery.

24:45 – Headspace Co-Founder Andy Puddicombe talks about what motivated him to give up alcohol and completely change his life by becoming a Buddhist monk age 22. “I hit a point where I felt I was quite regularly overwhelmed in my mind. … I just had this really strong feeling that I was never going to have that sense of peace and happiness I was looking for if I continued to study from a book.” Andy quit school and traveled to the Himalayas.

26:58 – PGA Tour Champions Leader Scott McCarron explains why he doesn’t like to drink at all when he travels, because of the compounding impact it has on his WHOOP recovery. What improves his sleep? “Not drinking much, and staying off my computer. I’ll read a book for 20 minutes.”

28:27 – The Ainsworth Creator and HPLT Founder Brian Mazza discusses his poor training behavior as a student athlete. “A lot of my choices now really go back to my college soccer career where I made a selfish and childish decision. … But it led me to many other really cool things in my life.”


Learn More: Sober October – 8 Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol


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Will Ahmed

Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. WHOOP members include professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, fitness enthusiasts, military personnel, frontline workers and a broad range of people looking to improve their performance. WHOOP has raised more than $400 million from top investors and is valued at $3.6 billion, making it the most valuable standalone wearables company in the world. Ahmed has recruited an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, marketers, and designers. Ahmed was recently named to the 2021 Sports Business Journal 40 under 40 list as well as 2020 Fortune 40 Under 40 Healthcare list and previously named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Ahmed founded WHOOP as a student at Harvard, where he captained the Men’s Varsity Squash Team and graduated with an A.B. in government.