How WHOOP’s fitness tracker is helping Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes better understand his body

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Ahead of the 2020 NFL season, the NFLPA partnered with WHOOP in order to monitor NFL players’ health, wellness and performance throughout the course of the season. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was one of the players equipped with WHOOP’s “Strap 3.0” fitness tracker throughout the course of the season. He actually began wearing it a few months prior to the season to help with his offseason workouts.

Earlier this week, WHOOP published the data they acquired from Mahomes and the results were pretty telling. They monitored how much strain games and practice weeks put on his body, but also his sleep, recovery and how it all impacted his performance.

Strain is described as “cardiovascular exertion” measured on a scale of 0-21. Obviously, the Chiefs’ game days were one of the highest average strain days for Mahomes throughout the course of the 2020 NFL season. He averaged a 19.3 day strain when the team played a game. For context, athletes who run marathons average 20.7 day strain on the day of a race.

For Mahomes, there was also a correlation between the highest strain and the number of passes that Mahomes threw in a given game.

“September 9th – 47 pass attempts (2nd highest total of season) in overtime win, 20.7 day strain

November 29th – 49 attempts in victory over Tampa Bay, 20.6 day strain”

February 7th – 49 attempts in Super Bowl, 20.7 day strain”

The data also showed that Mahomes was at his best performance-wise when his recovery was at its highest. Recovery is described as your body’s readiness to perform on a scale of 0-100%.

“On Sunday November 1st, before he really started taking on intense levels of strain from the grueling demands of the long season, Mahomes woke up with a 91% WHOOP recovery. His body was primed to perform, and it showed.

That afternoon, he completed 31 of 42 passes for 416 yards and a season-high 5 touchdown passes. He also posted a passer rating of 144.4, his best of the year.”

As the season went on, Mahomes’ average strain increased and eventually leveled off, with the exception of the team’s Week 12 bye week.

“It does make so much sense,” Mahomes told WHOOP. “Obviously, every game is important, but September and October you’re feeling out what you are as a team. As you get to November and December and obviously January and February, your intensity picks up as you’re trying to win these football games.”

WHOOP has helped Mahomes better understand his body and how it handles the strain of a full NFL season in an entirely new way. Checking the data his tracker provides has even become part of his daily routine.

“[Checking my recovery score is] the first thing I do when I wake up,” Patrick explained on the WHOOP Podcast. “I look at it because I want to know how I’m feeling, how my body is feeling, where I’m at. Usually, if I’m feeling pretty relaxed it’s a pretty good score.”

The fitness tracker has given Mahomes a newfound context on what exactly stresses his body out the most. It also lets him know what the proper rest and recovery can do for his body. Finding a greater balance between the two in 2021 could be key to a successful season for the Chiefs.

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