What’s One Thing John John Florence, Nate Fletcher, And Emi Erickson Have In Common?
Hint: It’s small, black, and improves their lives daily.
This is a partnered post with Whoop.
Reaching an optimal state of physical performance might sound like an unattainable goal that only exists for superhumans, but it’s one thing athletes like John John Florence, Nathan Fletcher, and Emi Erickson strive to achieve every single day.
Years of pushing boundaries and revolutionizing surfing left Nate with a few setbacks, which he only recently discovered could be reversed through mindfulness. At the center of Nate’s well-being philosophy is his early-morning routine — which includes meditation, breathwork, and stretching. Before he knows it, WHOOP tells Nate that 31 minutes have passed, his max heart rate reached 182 bpm, and he’s burned 154 calories in the process.
Similarly, 31-year-old big wave surfer, Emi Erickson, considers recovery to be a form of art. After battling multiple knee surgeries that kept her out of the water for more than half of 2021, Emi learned just how important it is to focus on optimal training and proper rehabilitation.
During her endorphin-pumping beach runs, Emi is often tempted to push her limits, to keep on running — she feels great, after all. But then her wrist-worn WHOOP buzzes, showing Emi that her max heart rate has reached 181 bpms with 278 calories burned in 31 minutes — the perfect time for a well-deserved cool down to avoid slipping back into another injury.
Even with different goals in mind and at very different stages in their lives, both Nate and Emi celebrate the same sense of achievement that comes from having found a physical balance — a bodily yin and yang that allows them to perform optimally. The ability to be in-tune with your own body takes practice — it’s a mindset that cannot be achieved overnight. But there are tools that can ease and support this journey.
Among the likes of Nate and Emi, other high-performing surfers have joined the wearable bandwagon. None more so than John John Florence, who has attributed winning events, overcoming back-to-back career-threatening injuries, and improving his competitive mindset to his own personal WHOOP.
Anyone who watched this year’s Triple Crown knows that John John continued his North Shore reign, but few might’ve noticed the sleek black band strapped through his wrist throughout the event. As a long-time user of WHOOP, John John’s training regime, performance goals, and even day-to-day schedule are planned well beyond comp day. This data collection tool gives John the ability to track recovery percentage from the moment he wakes up, his body’s strain upon arriving to the beach, and his heart rate after a session — metrics which he can then use to understand his body during contest days and make real-time adjustments for peak performance.
For many top-performing athletes both within and beyond the surfing world, a core aspect of success is performance optimization through focused training. This ability to maximize growth potential during each workout rather than aiming for the most hours spent training is crucial for athletes who prioritize longevity, balance, and mindfulness, AKA the holy trinity of a successful career.
With access to a highly-personalized record of heart rate variability and sleep, WHOOP allows athletes to anticipate overexertion and avoid burnout based on the strain reported from days passed. It also allows them to understand just how much recovery is needed. Fun fact: JJF has found that recovery is highest after a day of low-impact movements like swimming, light gym routines, or tending to his farm, rather than a day of doing absolutely nothing.
Whether you’re winning the Vans Triple Crown like John John, training for survival during big wave drop-ins like Emi, or practicing daily breathwork like Nate, unlocking personal performance has both mental and physical benefits and has proven key to optimizing one’s athletic potential.
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