work smarter, not harder: the 'just do it' myth
In 1988, the three most iconic words in sports, “Just Do It” were born. This well-known tagline became synonymous with every athlete, competitor, and jock as a mantra to prove one’s toughness and athletic talent.
Nike, the originators of the tagline with help from the Wieden+Kennedy agency, positioned this slogan as an aspiration rather than a descriptor - it evokes the emotion of championships, hard work, sweat, and elite status.
“Just Do It” elevates our play. It makes us strive to be better. It makes us feel as if we are lacing up our shoes and stepping onto the court with Michael Jordan or playing football (or baseball) with Bo Jackson. It elicits the competitive spirit in all of us.
Nike presumably intended the phrase to mean something like, “stop procrastinating, get out there and outwork everyone. Be the first one there, and the last one to leave. Never stop.” While there is valor in this mindset, when relating it to athletics, athletes and coaches need to understand that playing like a champion doesn’t always mean this presumed definition. It means respecting that champions are byproducts of not only training harder but training smarter.
Enter WHOOP. Perfectly balancing hard work and data-informed recovery, Whoop is a wearable performance optimization system that informs serious athletes all over the world maximize their performance through analytics.
The WHOOP Mission
When you boil it down, the responsibility of a player and a coach is to win the game. Above all else, winning games are what keeps athletes and coaches gainfully employed.
So before every game, they work together to fine-tune the factors that affect winning - like conditioning and studying the tactics of the opponent. However, many times athletes and coaches apply the “Just Do It” mentality to practice, which cause them to focus on how hard they push, rather than how well-recovered they are. This mentality can often result in overtraining, leaving the athlete either injured or grossly under-recovered. As a result, sleep, the most important part of recovery, often is lost.
Here’s an example:
Two sprinters, Brett and Justin, are at the starting line. Both are 6 foot 2, 180 pounds, and considered the best sprinters in the northern hemisphere. In the past 5 races, the difference in their times has been around .05 seconds. Both are equally talented and both are equally fast. As they get into the starting blocks Brett looks over to Justin and confidently says, “good luck.” The gun fires off and the race is over in a matter of seconds.
Brett clocks in at 9.67 and Justin finishes at 9.91, a difference of .24 - an eon of time in the sprinting world. Why did Brett win by a landslide when both were equal in almost every way? Why was there a gap of .24 seconds when the race should have been closer? Why is it that one day an athlete has the game of their life, and the next, they play like crap?
Answer - most athletes don’t understand how Recovery affects training and performance. In this case, Brett was simply more recovered than Justin. We’ve seen this situation before. In fact, we’ve seen it so much that we decided to quantify it.
We looked at sleep as a performance indicator in NCAA athletes. After studying 43 collegiate athletes in two top-ranked NCAA Division I swimming programs we found that for every hour of additional REM sleep, our swimmers saw a performance increase of .25% in race times relative to their season averages. This percentage improvement is often the difference between finishing first and not standing on the podium at all.
Why Elite Athletes Trust Us
Since 1988 athletes have been “Just Doing It.” They’ve been pushing their bodies to the edge of possibility in order to live up to the tagline on their shirt. This blind ambition has reduced the awareness of how much recovery plays a role in the player performance cycle - “eat, train, sleep, repeat” they say. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to help athletes and coaches become aware of the interplay between Strain and Recovery, and athletes in almost every league are starting to understand this relationship.
“With the demanding travel and lengthy NBA season, I need to always make sure my body is ready for game time. By wearing WHOOP I can finally track and manage my training, sleep, and recovery so that I’m always ready to perform. It’s a game-changer.” - Kyle Lowry, Guard, Toronto Raptors
To help athletes like Kyle achieve elite performance, we’ve developed the first scientifically grounded performance optimization system worn by the most elite athletes in the world to positively change behavior and unlock peak performance.
We provide individuals, teams, coaches and trainers with a continuous understanding of strain and recovery so that they can balance training, reduce injuries, and predict performance. Visit WHOOP to unlock peak performance using the password: COLLECTIVE. Password expires 10/3/16.