The Growth In Human Performance Optimization
This Newsletter Is Sponsored By….
I’m excited to announce a new partnership with my friends at SoFi, an all-in-one platform that enables you to save, spend, earn, borrow, and invest in everything from stocks & ETFs to crypto & an automated portfolio.
What I’m most excited about? As part of the launch, I’m giving away $1,000 to 5 separate people today ($5,000 total). The rules are simple:
Download the SoFi app & set up an account
Tweet a screenshot of your profile
Use #GetYourMoneyRight and tag @SoFi before 5p ET today, 8/4.
* Read the terms & conditions here.
Someone asked me the other day about an industry I thought was underestimated but could be massive in the long run. I didn’t initially spend too much time thinking about it, but my answer was Human Performance Optimization (HPO).
My thought process is simple: human innovation & technological progress continue to compound over time, accelerating faster than any time in history and enabling greater access to a wider distribution of people.
The Olympics are a great example. The women’s triple jump world record was broken almost 20 times from 1980 to 1995, but for the 26 straight years after that, not a single athlete in the world could beat Inessa Kravets 15.50m world record jump.
Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas finally broke the world record this year, but only after billions of dollars have been spent on training, recovery, nutrition, and more, over the last 50 years to gain a 6-inch difference — about the size of your iPhone.
USA Swimming superstar Caeleb Dressel is another great example. On Monday, he returned from Tokyo with five gold medals in hand, joining Mark Spitz, Matt Biondi, and Michael Phelps as the only male swimmers in history to win five gold medals in a single Olympic Games.
Dressel’s most impressive performance might have come in the 100m freestyle. He swam a time of 47.02 and set an Olympic Record. Still, despite besting Mark Spitz’s 1973 time by about 4 seconds, it also illustrated a significant slow down in the pace of athletic evolution.
Time Taken Off World Record (100m freestyle)
1932 to 1972: 7-second decline over 40 years
1972 to 2021: 4-second decline over 49 years (-42%)
To be fair, not only is 4 seconds an eternity in the pool, but it’s impossible for records to continue to be broken in a linear fashion. There is an eventual limit to how fast a human can run, swim, or jump, but that’s exactly my point.
As athletes around the world continue to iterate their training, they’ll spend billions of dollars looking to gain a 1 second, 1 inch, or 1mph advantage. Just check out what the world’s most dominant swimmer looked like 50 years ago vs. today.
Definitions vary depending on where you look, but I like to keep it simple. Human Performance Optimization (HPO) is just a combination of approaches and techniques that optimize your performance to help you successfully accomplish your goal.
We often use sports as the most popular vehicle for application because the results are visible, quantifiable, and ingrained within our culture. World records are being broken, limits are being overcome, and athletes are now running faster, jumping higher, and lifting more weight than ever before.
For example, Jerry Mays and Len Dawson of the Kansas City Chiefs were drinking soda and smoking cigarettes during halftime of Super Bowl I, while LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Russell Wilson now spend more than $1 million annually on their training & recovery.
That includes personal chefs, trainers, massage therapists, cryotherapy, hyperbaric chambers, compression products, and more.
Humans have wanted to train like professional athletes for decades. Whether for social status, health concerns, or mental well-being, we inherently care about our bodies. But the reduction in cost and an expansion in market demographic due to technological innovation is finally making it possible.
Take Whoop, for example. They created a product that enables the average person to track metrics previously reserved for elite athletes, like resting heart rate (RHR), heart-rate variability (HRV), REM sleep, and more. The best part? It’s all done through a 1-inch wrist strap that weighs 0.64 ounces and costs $30 per month.
That represents incredible progress, and there are countless other examples, but the reality is clear — Human Performance Optimization expands way beyond traditional sports.
Companies like Calm & Headspace have introduced mediation to millions of customers through a mobile app. Eight Sleep is enabling the 80% of Americans that suffer from temperature issues during sleep with an affordable solution.
Hell, even Peloton doesn’t get enough credit for creating a tech stack that enabled personal training at home for almost 5 million people and counting.
But given history tells us that the rate of innovation will continue to accelerate as humans are provided with more advanced technology than previous generations, the core concepts driving Human Performance Optimization are just getting started.
Time will eventually be the greatest judge. The market rejects flaws, iterates on progress, and accepts products that work and are in demand.
But with technology continuing to evolve, the human interest in a calculated, analytical, and scientific approach to their overall health & wellness is only increasing.
Ultimately, everyone wants to look, feel, and train at their highest level, both mentally & physically. It’s in our DNA.
Have a great day, and we’ll talk tomorrow.
If you enjoyed today’s email, please share it with your friends!
At 45,000+ subscribers, Huddle Up is quickly becoming one of the largest sports business communities on the internet — every addition helps :)