In 2012, Will Ahmed launched Whoop—a wrist strap that tracks exertion, sleep, and recovery 24 hours a day—with some buddies from college. The former captain of the Harvard squash team was constantly flirting with overtraining, and as a result, got interested in how he could prevent it by learning more about his own physiology.
Ten years on, Whoop has a valuation of $3.6 billion, after closing a $200 million funding round earlier this week. The company has attracted investment from both big-name tech investors like SoftBank and athletes like Patrick Mahones and Kevin Durant. (The Nets star has seen his stake appreciate by roughly 2,800 percent.)
With more than 500 employees—nearly half of whom started within the past year—Ahmed’s a guy with a demanding day to day. So how does a guy who crafted an empire around dialing in good-for-you habits actually practice what he preaches and fuel himself and recover? We caught up with the founder to hear about his diet—which includes regular breakfast sandwiches and a lot of water—and which slip-up always makes his numbers tank.
What’s something about your morning that’s a non-negotiable?
I’m up at 7 a.m. most days, and the first thing I do is get out of bed and go directly into a freezing cold shower. I think doing things that naturally make you happy is generally a good idea. The cold shower also has a lot of other real health benefits.
What happens after the shower?
I brush my teeth, get dressed, and meditate for 20 minutes. Every single morning, I have to meditate. My wife tends to sleep in a little later than me, so I’ll go back to bed, give her a few kisses, then I’m out the door. Depending on the day, I’ll either go work out with a trainer or go to the office. Most days, I’m at the office within an hour of waking up. I live very close, and I like to hit the ground running.
What do you eat for breakfast?
A breakfast sandwich. It’s either toast, eggs, and bacon or a lox sandwich. For some they’re a guilty pleasure, but I think if you’re naturally more slender—which I am—you need calories. If you’re also going at a high output, which I tend to be, you need energy. I’m not an anti-carbs guy. I am an anti-dairy guy. I have no dairy in my diet. I also happen to be allergic to it. Plus I don’t snack. So that’s three meals a day, no snacks.
What’s for lunch?
That tends to be my lightest meal of the day, and it’s usually a salad with a bunch of vegetables and some chicken in it. Some days I’ll do a chicken and rice dish. Usually on days where I’ve done weightlifting in the morning, I’ll try to have more protein for lunch. There’s a place near the office, Fiouna’s, which I love.
What’s your hydration like?
I drink more water than almost anyone. It’s a running joke in my office. I have like these bottles just all over my desk [Ahmed holds up a Poland Spring bottle].
We’ve got to get you a few Camelbaks or something.
Now that I think of it, I drink very few (if any) beverages that have calories in them. I have a coffee in the morning, then it’s just water all day. If I have another coffee, it’s gotta be before 2 p.m. I’ve noticed that doing caffeine after that time impacts my sleep—which in turn can impact my recovery. I’ll have the occasional glass of wine or something, maybe more than one drink on a weekend.