I am an athlete. I am also a fitness coach and programming manager at obé fitness. And, most importantly to me, I am a mother. Like many other individuals, the notion of “wearing multiple hats” and attempting to wear them all with equal amounts of ability is not a foreign concept.
However, these three roles that are a crucial part of what makes me tick also require something that has to be measured and analyzed accordingly: Physical performance. This is where using my WHOOP has been an invaluable tool–tracking not only my strain but also sleep and recovery while assisting me in constantly “leveling up” my execution of all three roles.
I started using WHOOP as my primary activity tracker at the beginning of 2021. Coming out of pandemic-induced lockdowns and great changes in my training schedule and circumstances, I was looking for a resource to help me step up my fitness game, as well as guide my sleep and recovery in this new era of existing. Things like a hybrid work environment, random intervals of remote schooling for my daughter, and general covid anxiety were certainly impacting my sleep schedule!
By summer of last year I decided I needed additional motivation to help me feel my strongest as an individual competitor, so I signed up to train for the NYC Marathon (the race was a fundraiser to support my daughters’ school, which will make more sense by point No. 3). I have always been an avid sprinter, but this was my first foray into distance running and I needed all the support I could get!
Gradually, my WHOOP data variables began to fluctuate as my race training progressed. Longer runs led to higher strain, increased fatigue, and greater need for recovery periods. During my first official month of marathon prep, I noticed my recovery trended towards the yellow zone (and in many instances, lived in a constant state of red!) Prior to this boost in training intensity, I hadn’t seen such a dip in my daily recovery, which clued me in to the fact that adjustments needed to be made in my overall strategy. While my body naturally adapted to fatigue over time, race training was not the only element I had to factor into my plan…
I have been an instructor with obé fitness for nearly 4 years, and what I truly adore about teaching on this platform is the variety of modalities in which I get to lead our members–from trampoline classes and intense HIIT sessions, to boxing and powerlifting. Not only is every week’s programming different, but teaching 3-4 days a week means every day’s workout and strain is different.
Now here’s the thing: We aren’t just coaching and cueing our members at obé, we are also performing the workout in real-time with them, and going (as we like to say) “All In, Full Out!”
Obviously teaching effectively is my job, but it is also my personal responsibility as a coach to make sure I can bring my “A-game” with both programming and physical performance. Every. Single. Class.
So, as an athlete and a coach, I had to use my WHOOP to constantly adjust my daily fitness load, even if that meant deviating from my marathon prep plan. If my long run was scheduled for Monday but I had to teach on a Tuesday, and I woke up Monday morning with my WHOOP showing me in the red, that long run becomes a short recovery run or complete rest day. As you can see from my WHOOP data, teaching creates just as much strain as a functional strength session, so I adapted to make sure I could perform at that level. But also…
As any parent or caretaker can tell you, raising a child is taxing on so many different levels. Managing schedules, constant communication with teachers/parents/coaches/classmates, making sure they remember to eat or go to the bathroom or take their medicine… All of these are regular concerns, and all of these can sap your energy more than a HIIT workout on any given day.
My amazing daughter is currently 7 years old, full of energy, and on the autism spectrum. While every day may provide different victories and struggles, successes and challenges, the constant factor is always making sure there is enough in my tank to support her needs. In general, tasks that involve physical demands (long walks, subway stairs, new or overwhelming environments) will require additional exertion. A walk through Central Park may require her to be given shoulder rides or piggy-backs. We’re regularly squatting, hinging, pressing our way through daily activities to help her feel as supported as possible.
So, how do I best manage my exertion to successfully live in all 3 roles simultaneously?
Yes, super glamorous, oh-so-important data. My WHOOP has become my own personal trainer and wellness coach. When my recovery or sleep is low, I know that I need to adapt my personal sessions as an athlete first, so that I can then teach classes for our obé members at full capacity and still have energy left to serve as “Mom” throughout the day.
Off day from teaching and my recovery is in the green? You’d better believe that is when I fit in my 10-mile training run or a big day out in Manhattan with my kiddo.
Confession time: I have been burnt out, drained physically, and still tried to push through. I have seen my recovery in the red, running on fumes and minimal sleep, and yet attempted to complete training runs, instruct class, and somehow stay awake to snuggle my daughter at the end of the day. It. Does. Not. Work.
Every day I get a little bit wiser. I learn to plan ahead (including going to bed when my WHOOP reminds me!) and adjust my strategy based on feedback from the app. I can truthfully say I am a much better performer all around because of it. As a Mother. A Coach. And an Athlete.