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The Day You Became a Better Athlete

July 29, 2016

Welcome to the Locker


You will become a better athlete when you decide that rest is as important as exercise.  That’s a secret that athletes like LeBron James and Tom Brady have known and acted on.  The key is to understand your body continuously – 24/7.

When I was a college athlete I struggled with recovery and sleep.  Like many athletes, I believed I could just keep pushing.  I overtrained every season.  My body couldn’t keep up with its stresses and my relentless mindset.

We founded WHOOP with a simple mission: To optimize human performance.  What does it take to unlock peak performance?…For athletes? …For humans?

As a student at Harvard, I became obsessed with the concept of understanding the body.  Athletes, myself included, were overtraining, undertraining, misinterpreting fitness peaks, not necessarily understanding the importance of recovery or sleep, and getting injured.  With so much time, energy, and money dedicated to sports and training, why did we know so little about the human body?

I met with cardiologists and physiologists.  I read over 300 medical papers.  I became obsessed.  What I discovered was amazing: There are secrets that your body – your physiology – is trying to tell you.  These secrets can help prevent overtraining and injury, they can detect fatigue and even sickness, and, sure enough, they can be used to optimize human performance.  But until now, no one could monitor those metrics.

I partnered with my co-founders John Capodilupo, who was studying the hardest math classes at Harvard before dropping out to found WHOOP, and Aurelian Nicolae, a graduate from Harvard with a gift for mechanical prototyping and engineering.  We spent the last 4 years building our technology, the WHOOP System.  We assembled a world-class advisory board and we’re proud to work alongside 50 brilliant engineers, designers, and data scientists.

We’ve been fortunate to work with many of the best athletes in the world.  What we’ve discovered in the past 4 years has amazed us.  This is truly a product that can change your life: positive behavior change, fitness improvements, injury reduction.  We’ve even caused college athletes to reduce alcohol consumption by 79%, which would have been a hard thing to convince me to do when I was in college.

We believe that the data we’re collecting on athletes is unprecedented.  Both in its sophistication and scale.  WHOOP benefits from the fact that athletes also have data on tangible performance (wins/losses, batting avg, time trials, etc) across sports.  We want to share this data: The unbelievable correlations between physiology and performance; The approach to health monitoring and the different ways to interpret or action your body’s feedback.

For athletes reading this, you know that locker rooms are both sacred and messy places.  They’re private and intimate, yet boisterous and warm.  There’s a pact for those on the inside; a curiosity for those left out.  They can be emotional places: Inspirational speeches surround victorious athletes; a lonely silence can follow those who come up short.  Clothes and equipment are tossed about but also seemingly shared from one athlete to another, an unspoken understanding of ownership signified by numbers, scratches, and stains that to an outsider seem indiscernible.  There’s an order to this chaos.  Herein lies the inspiration for naming The Locker.

The Locker is a blog to tell stories.  First, stories about training plans, preventing fatigue, improving sleep efficiency, optimizing peak performance.  These are stories ultimately about athletes in search of understanding their bodies through data; Athletes willing to share inside information.  Second, it includes stories about starting and running a company – a startup – dedicated to performance.  How do we think about design and engineering, what can we learn from our advisors, how can we grow organically?  It’s a lens into the winding path of product development told by its insiders.

The Locker will tell stories about understanding the body and running a startup.  You’ll read or watch content from pro athletes, Olympians, coaches, trainers, data scientists, engineers, cardiologists, designers, professors, and more.  They don’t have all the answers and neither do we.  Nonetheless, this is our journey to understand the human body and we want to share it with you.

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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.