“It’s always been my dream to make a living and be successful at doing something that I love, which is riding motorcycles.”
Brittany Marcotte started riding dirt bikes when she was 11. Inspired by her dad, a former dirt bike rider, she spent most of her pre-teen and adolescent years practicing at the local SoCal race tracks. She began racing nationally at age 13 and went pro at 18, competing in the X-Games in 2013.
Despite the pro life, it was still a grind. It meant working additional odd jobs to supplement her income and sourcing sponsors, and the Women’s Motocross sport itself (WMX) was not nearly as developed as its male counterpart. So when the opportunity arose to join Marvel Universe Live and become a professional stuntwoman, she thought, “Why not?”
Black Widow on a Bike
Brittany’s career is unique. She’ll often get questions from friends or on her personal Instagram, which features videos of her flying through the air and popping wheelies, asking things like, “What do you actually do for work if all you do is ride?”
The reality is, that’s her job. “It sounds crazy, but it’s literally what I get to do,” she says. “That’s my lifestyle: riding.”
When she was invited to join the Marvel Live Universe show in 2014 as a professional stuntwoman, Brittany knew this was her next step and she retired from professional racing. Not only are stunt actors limited compared to the regular pool of actors, it’s hard to come by females in the space with the expertise and fearlessness Brittany has.
Touring with Marvel was a dream come true, but it also took a huge toll on Brittany’s body; something she could handle in her 20s, but not something she planned on doing for the rest of her life. For nearly 5 years, Brittany traveled 27 weeks straight and performed every weekend in live shows like Spiderman or Thor, each time in a different city or state. Her favorite character to play was Black Widow from Avengers.
“It’s very physical. You’re running around, falling, fighting, doing all this active stuff,” she explains. “We’d perform Thursday through Sunday in a new city and a new arena every week.” The shows were exhilarating and flashy–just like being on the set of a real movie. For Brittany, however, the toughest part was the travel and simply making sure she got enough sleep.
Enter WHOOP. Brittany had heard about WHOOP from some of the CrossFit athletes she followed, but she wasn’t quite sure what it could do for her. She wasn’t familiar with HRV, and the idea of wearables or physiological monitoring in the motocross world was relatively uncharted. She just wanted a consistent sleep schedule while on tour and thought WHOOP could help.
“If I want to have a peak day tomorrow, I need exactly this much rest.”
It takes a special kind of strength to ride a 200-pound motorcycle into the air, land a jump, and then speed around a race track to do it all over again. You need to be physically strong enough to hold on to your machine mid-flight, and also absorb the shock when hitting the ground. Add in some layers of risk and adrenaline, and you have a full workout within 20 minutes of riding.
When Brittany first started wearing WHOOP, she noticed immediately that her heart rate was regularly 170-180 while performing at shows, resulting in multiple consecutive days of high strain. Combined with travel and lack of sleep, recovery was a challenge. Brittany also had a history of minor bone breaks and concussions from riding when she was younger (the scar on her right shoulder is from an old motorcycle injury), which meant it was imperative that she monitor and prioritize her physical well-being in order to be her best for each show.
“I wish I had this ten years ago,” she laughs, explaining that she only started using WHOOP towards the end of her tour schedule. It was a huge eye-opener, and it confirmed just how much strain she was putting on her body on a regular basis. “Knowing the amount of calories I burn when riding or training tells me how much fuel I need to keep me from getting fatigued.”
WHOOP is much more than just a heart rate monitor for Brittany, it’s a tool that keeps her balanced. “Honestly, it kind of instilled a habit in me. I know if I want to have a peak day tomorrow, I need exactly this much rest.”
Optimizing Performance in Every Sport
As technology advances and “the quantified self” becomes more popular, athletes from all backgrounds are seeing the value of monitoring personal physiology. In Brittany’s opinion, it doesn’t matter how niche her sport is, it’s incredibly important to maintain health and fitness if she wants to keep riding. Ultimately, wearables aren’t just for runners or gym junkies, they’re for athletes of all backgrounds, from frisbee players to NBA All-Stars. As she works towards acting in feature films as a pro stuntwoman, Brittany knows WHOOP can help her stay at the top of the game.
To see Brittany’s stunts in action, you can follow her journey at @brittanymarcotte33 on Instagram, or check out some of her highlight reels on Youtube.