Tips & Recipes

Pro tips: How to maximize your recovery

Lawson and Neilson share their tips

March 23, 2021

In a world where we are constantly chasing every little performance benefit, optimizing your sleep and recovery seems like an obvious step.

But how do you measure recovery? Is it how much you sleep? How well you sleep? But how is that impacted by a five hour ride the day before? Or the two glasses of wine you had with your dinner?

The world of recovery is complicated and deeply personal. That’s where WHOOP steps in.

“We’ve been able to measure training load for years now, but that is only four to five hours of the day,” said Kevin Sprouse, the team’s head of medicine. “WHOOP gives us insight into the other 20 hours of the day. Individually, riders have been able to make changes to their routines and prioritize recovery in a data-driven, actionable manner.”

This year, you might have noticed the little pink straps on our wrists. The WHOOP Strap 3.0 collects our riders’ physiological data 24/7 to provide the most accurate and granular understanding of our bodies.

Riders Lawson Craddock and Neilson Powless have both been using the WHOOP straps for some years now and have fully incorporated it into their training routines. A few weeks ago, they sat down to give us some advice on how we could also maximize our recovery using WHOOP.

1. Monitor how your performance responds to changes in recovery

Your body will tell you how hard you can push yourself on any given day.

“The data I collect from WHOOP is looked at by my trainer and we take a lot of it into account when planning my weekly training,” said Neilson Powless. “After many years of collecting data, it’s pretty interesting to look back and see how my body has reacted to different events or training programs.”

2. Adjust your sleep routine

Decrease your screen time before bed and try to cool down your bedroom.

“One big change you can make that will improve your sleep quality is taking the room temperature down from 72-73˚F to 67˚F at night,” said Lawson Craddock. “For me, it helped me improve my sleep by getting almost an hour extra of deep sleep a night.”

“On my end, one thing I have tried to get better at is not looking at my phone too much before bed,” said Neilson Powless.

3. Monitor small changes

Monitor your respiratory rate as small changes can indicate something bigger is going on.

“Last year when I got sick with Mononucleosis, I could tell there was something going on with my body, and the data was reflecting that,” said Neilson Powless. “I ended up catching it much sooner than most athletes do which helped my recovery process go much faster.”

4. What you put in your body is important

Water can have a big effect on your recovery, but so too can alcohol.

Hydrating throughout the day can really boost your sleep and recovery,” said Neilson Powless. “That’s just one of many factors that will play a role in the quality of sleep you’re getting each night.”

“On the flip side,” said Lawson Craddock, “one big eye opener for me was realizing just how big of an effect alcohol has on you,” said Lawson Craddock. “Maybe it is great to wind down at the end of the day and have a beer, which may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it’s the second and third beer that really get you. You may feel good in the moment, but then you sleep terribly, your heart rate is high and stays high through the night, and you tend to wake up more often which then impacts your training the next day.”

5. Don’t be afraid to take a step back

Sometimes the best thing you can do to maximize performance is to take a step back.

“I feel like there’s been a big shift in the professional sports world in the last 10 years of you,” said Lawson Craddock. “We’re all working super hard day in and day out which makes it sounds like you can live a life of pushing yourself to the absolute edge everyday. Having WHOOP to be there by your side telling you ‘okay, you know what it is okay to take a step back and really rest the body today.’ That way, the next week you can feel better and have an even better training session. I think that that’s been one of the biggest benefits of using WHOOP.”

These are just a few small tips that can help you improve your recovery and boost your general wellbeing. But as we mentioned at the top, recovery is deeply personal so it’s important to monitor how your body responds to changes in routine and training.

WHOOP and EF Pro Cycling are now offering fans of the team special discounted WHOOP memberships and access to the EF Pro Cycling group, where fans can connect with the team and gain access to exclusive insights, challenges, and one-of-a-kind team bands when available. Fans can head to for their exclusive membership and join the EF Pro Cycling team by entering the invite code COMM-EF1PCT upon becoming WHOOP members.

Share this story

More Tips & Recipes