When it comes to human performance, the work of Andy Walshe, PhD, runs the gamut. After receiving a doctorate in applied biomechanics, Walshe started his career as a human performance coach. He has coached elite athletes in the Winter Olympics and professional sports teams around the world, spent time in the special forces, and worked at Red Bull for more than a decade as the Director of High Performance.

Throughout 20 years of exploring the art and science of human performance, Walshe has contributed to the success of some of the world’s most elite humans. His lifelong mission: hack human performance and demystify the concept of “talent.”

Now, Walshe is bringing his expertise to Oura, where he is a member of our medical advisory board

Below, learn more about Walshe’s advice for unlocking your full potential, and how Oura can play a role in your pursuit. 

What brought you to Oura?

Sleep is our greatest tool. It’s fundamental to performance across the board. Whenever I work with an individual or a team, it’s one of the first things I touch on. Oura seamlessly tracks your sleep, helping people gain more insights into their sleep.

Performance always starts with self-awareness and introspection, and Oura provides great information about how you sleep and recover. When you have the tools to turn the lens inward and understand the workings of your own body, you’re able to tap into your true potential. 

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READ MORE: Using Oura to Listen to Your Body

How can members use Oura to improve their performance?

Recovery is vital to human performance, and it happens during sleep! Oura helps people better understand this regeneration process. Oura is an education tool — it helps you monitor your recovery and allows you to identify the factors that contribute to this. So first things first: make sure you are sleeping well. The power of sleep can’t be overstated!

You can use the data collected by Oura to guide your daily choices. Don’t get caught up in the weeds; remember to focus on doing the basics well and adapt to the data you’re seeing in your Oura App. 

Member Tip: Use Oura’s Trends view to see how your scores and contributors evolve in the long run. The easy-to-visualize charts and graphs help you see if you are moving toward your personal goals, and to track which variables may impact your overall health.

What’s your #1 piece of advice to someone looking to improve their performance? 

It’s all about the individual. I coach people in all sectors, so high performance looks different. 

My first question: What does performance mean to you? It could mean being a better parent, or better partner, or doing something extraordinary at the edge of human limits. Start from there, and figure out how to bring all those elements together to have a happy and meaningful life.

These are the three tips that I recommend to everyone: 

    1. Treat yourself as your own experiment: The human system is so complex that there’s never a one-size-fits-all. You’ve got to treat yourself as your own experiment of n=1.
    2. Find what works for you, and be consistent: Try out different tools and habits that fit your lifestyle and your goals, and try to choose ones that are easy at first so that you’re able to be consistent. Consistency is hard, but it’s where the results come.
    3. Sleep well: When you have the basics down — sleeping well, eating well, moving regularly, and having a positive community around you — you’re off to a good start.

READ MORE: How To Conduct A Self-Experiment With Oura

How does someone move from being in the top 80% to the top 1% of their chosen endeavor?

Going from the top 80% to the top 1% of human performance requires exponentially more work and effort. But it’s a common misconception that you need to do things very differently. In fact, the people at the top of their game are still working on the basics – they’re just extremely consistent and rigorous with it. 

It’s undeniable that your inherent characteristics play a role too – such as height for a basketball player. But everyone can explore their potential. Once you find what is meaningful to you, you have the chance to be extraordinary.

Rapid-Fire Round!

Must-do morning ritual

Once I’ve gotten my 12-year-old twin girls out of bed, I take a moment to pause and reflect. It helps me get centered before the day. 

Bedtime routine for good sleep?

After putting the girls to sleep, I focus on letting go of the day. I make sure I’ve got my basic sleep hygiene ticked off — a cool, dark bedroom and no blue light or digital media.

One thing Oura has helped you with?

Oura always acts as a reminder. The data brings me back to center and helps me know what to focus on.

Mid-afternoon energy booster?

I’m a huge proponent of an afternoon nap, followed by a bit of movement – preferably a walk in nature! 

Something people would find surprising about you?

Despite knowing everything about human performance and having heaps of hobbies, it’s ironic that there isn’t one particular hobby that I excel in. The phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” is very accurate!

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