Today’s CEOs are facing innumerable challenges: a global pandemic and a sea change in how and where employees want to show up for work, just to name a few. For leaders, the pressure has never been higher. How do they mitigate it? In our new series, we ask executives about their day-to-day wellness habits to gain insight into the tactics they use to minimize stress and maintain their well-being.
Will Ahmed is the founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. Ahmed was named to the 2021 Sports Business Journal 40 under 40 list as well as Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list in 2020. Ahmed founded WHOOP as a student at Harvard, where he captained the men’s varsity squash team and graduated with an A.B. in government.
Coffee or tea? And what do you put in it?
I drink coffee in the morning and then water after that. Occasionally I’ll have a second coffee but I always make sure it’s before 2 p.m. It’s clear from my WHOOP data that having caffeine any later in the day negatively impacts my sleep.
What is your go-to breakfast?
I almost never miss breakfast as it helps me start the day off right and feel ready to take on whatever happens next. My regular order is scrambled eggs, bacon, and avocado.
Tell us about your workout routine.
It’s a mix of a few different activities, which I think is a good thing if you’re looking to stay engaged with fitness or build better habits. I workout with a trainer about three times a week in the morning when I can most control my time before work begins. I was the captain of the Harvard squash team and still play about twice a week for fun. I also love to play a lot of other sports recreationally, like soccer and golf.
How many hours do you sleep on a typical night?
Sleep is the most important thing you can focus on to stay healthy and I’m very intentional about my bedtime routine. I listen to my WHOOP and try to spend seven hours in bed and achieve at least 85% of my nightly sleep need. I always wear blue light glasses at least an hour before bed. I also sleep in a very cold and dark bedroom. I’ll often take melatonin and magnesium before bed as well.
How do you de-stress?
After waking up and taking a cold shower, I meditate for 20 minutes every morning. I’ve been doing that for more than eight years now. Meditation helps me declutter my mind, choose which thoughts I want to sit with, and level-set for the day ahead. For me, it’s a way for myself to take a step back and gain a different perspective on what really matters.
According to your phone, what’s your daily average screen time from last week?
What app do you use the most?
WHOOP, Messenger, Spotify, Spark (email), and Twitter
When’s the last time you took a day off? What did you do?
This September I had a chance to go to Aspen with my wife for a few days. It was great to spend time in the mountains and also get some training in at altitude.
What’s one thing your company is doing to prioritize employee wellness?
We know from our own research that sleep is an integral part of repairing your body and mind. We offer a sleep bonus to every employee. Our team members earn $100 per month when they average 85% of their personal sleep need or better. We think this is pretty cool. By incentivizing sleep, we are helping our team stay healthy and optimize their focus.
What’s your favorite treat?
I’ll occasionally enjoy a glass of wine. If I’m celebrating a major milestone or accomplishment, I’ll have a dirty martini or tequila.
Show us a photo of your happy place.
Courtesy of Will Ahmed
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