Many doctors struggle to figure out how best to motivate their patients to engage in daily physical activity. Not me.
As a Sports Medicine physician, I work with elite and professional athletes from multiple disciplines, as well as many hard-charging “weekend warriors.” The vast majority of my practice consists of advising and treating this demographic. I’m also the Head of Medicine for a World Tour professional cycling team, with athletes scattered across the United States, Europe, Australia and South America. Whether they are cyclists, triathletes, runners, golfers, obstacle course racers, baseball players, CrossFitters, or athletes from any other sport, my patients tend to go hard.
In working with this driven athlete population, I focus not only on injury and illness treatment, but also on health, performance, and injury prevention. When I order blood tests, I’m often not looking for disease. Instead, I’m looking for early signs of imbalance, dietary deficiency and physiologic response to training stress. I evaluate lactate threshold profiles, continuous glucose monitors and training logs.
In my opinion, you can’t separate health from performance. A healthier athlete performs better, it’s that simple.
Despite having many technological and scientific tools at my disposal, I have always struggled with how to quantify the time between training sessions. While many of my athletes are professionals, most are not. They train hard, but they also work hard. They are engaged students, employees, spouses and parents who bear the burdens of everyday life. I was able to see workout data from their daily training, but I was blinded to how the other 20+ hours of the day were impacting their bodies.
Then I found WHOOP.
Late in 2016, I got a WHOOP Strap for myself. I enjoy trying out new pieces of technology as I hear about them. However, while I find most of them to be interesting, they are usually of questionable utility in the “real world.” As I type this though, I’m still wearing my WHOOP, more than a year later.
I’m no elite athlete, but I fall solidly into the “serious fitness enthusiast” category, training six days per week so that I can competitively jump into a weekend 10k, triathlon, bike race, or whatever. I do this while, like many of my patients, juggling the rest of life.