Earlier this summer, the folks at SportTechie published a list of the world’s 20 most tech-savvy athletes. It featured NBA superstars (LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony), legendary NFL quarterbacks (Tom Brady and Joe Montana), the greatest female tennis player of all time (Serena Williams), an iconic New York Yankee (Derek Jeter), and the most recognizable athlete on the planet (Cristiano Ronaldo).
Also cracking the list was New York Jets offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum.
From commencement speaker to STEM advocate, @KelvinBeachumJr is leaving a legacy off the gridiron.
— Front Office Sports (@frntofficesport) July 27, 2017
“[Sports tech] is the avenue to be at the intersection of a variety of different arenas,” Beachum told us. “Due to the nature of playing football and the platform that I’ve been given, I have the ability to influence a number of different sectors. I’m very active on LinkedIn, something that not many athletes use. That’s really been a springboard for me as a thought leader and to be able to connect with some of the top influencers in the tech industry.”
When asked if he might pursue a second career in technology after his days as an NFL player are over, Beachum said: “It’ll definitely be an area that I’ll look into. I’d like to be able to use my influence and capital to add value to companies that I feel are up and coming. Not only in the sports-tech arena, but in others that are changing the way we see the world, and how we interact with the world around us.”
— Bread for the World (@bread4theworld) July 26, 2017
Among his many off-field endeavors, Beachum sits on the advisory board of the OneTeam Collective, an athlete-driven business accelerator in partnership with the NFL Player’s Association. It was through his role there that WHOOP first appeared on his radar.
“I was at [the OneTeam Collective] pitch day at the Super Bowl earlier this year,” Beachum said. “I had a chance to see Will [Ahmed] pitch the company and I had a great experience hearing what he had to say about the benefits of the product. Afterwards there was a reception and I had the opportunity to speak with both Will and John [Capodilupo], the CTO. I got to ask some more questions and take a deeper dive into WHOOP. I learned how it could be beneficial to me and other athletes, not only in the National Football League, but other athletes around the world.”
Beachum started wearing WHOOP a short time later, and he’s been on the system ever since. What was it that got him hooked? “Measuring heart rate variability and how the heart responds to different levels of strain and recovery,” he explained.
“I don’t need to be able to count my steps. I’m a professional athlete, I’m stepping enough. I need to be able to know what type of damage is being done to my body, what type of recovery does my body need, and how does sleep apply to how I may feel.”
“I’m actually not a guy that’s into wearables,” Beachum elaborated. “This is the first time that I’ve worn something for this long. I’m not a watch guy, so this is a big step for me because I don’t usually wear anything on my wrist. But I’ve had WHOOP on for several months now, and I’ve had a very good experience with it.”
With the 2017 NFL season fast approaching, we asked Beachum how WHOOP has helped him improve his training and prepare for the year ahead. He noted the ability to effectively quantify how certain behaviors affect his body:
“I’m not a drinker, but I’ve had caffeine late in the day and it’s impacted my sleep at night. Now I can be experimental and see what different things do for me, whether they’re beneficial or not.”
“Overall, I feel much more informed,” Beachum said. “I’m more aware of what’s going on internally with the type of strain and the type of stress that I’m putting on my body. You always understand “Hey, I worked hard,” but what does that actually look like? What can you do to make things better? How can you prepare better? How can you sleep better? Yes, you’re supposed to get eight hours of sleep, but what if you don’t? What does that do to your body?”
Now he has the answers to those questions.