Last month, we announced the creation of Team Thrive as part of our effort to challenge WHOOP users to #ThriveTheHolidays this year. The team consists of athletes from all walks of life, ranging from recreational enthusiasts to world-class professionals.

Over the first two weeks of Team Thrive, it was a pro who topped the leaderboard for highest Strain–UFC fighter Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman, with a daily average of 18.5 (out of a possible 21).

Below is a screenshot of Scott’s WHOOP data from Sunday, December 3, along with his Strain chart for the previous 14 days (Sundays are his “rest days”):

WHOOP Strain is a metric that quantifies the total exertion placed on your cardiovascular system. It’s no surprise that a professional athlete in the midst of high-volume training for an upcoming fight is the Strain leader so far on Team Thrive.

This Saturday, December 9, Scott will take on Darrell “The Saint” Horcher at UFC Fight Night 123 in Fresno, CA:

Tale of the tape. #SquareUp • • December 9th, Fox Sports 1, Fresno, CA • • • • #hotsauce #ufc #athlete #mma #Sauce #kickboxing #muaythai #boxing #fitness #bjj #jiujitsu #valetudo #sambo #watchout #cholula #usa #tennessee #knoxville #vols #onnit #fresno #california #mmalab #fight #fitness #menshealth #fistfight #sports #reebok #cardio

A post shared by Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman (@hotsauceholtzy) on


The 34-year-old Holtzman began fighting professionally in 2012. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Scott had a brief career in minor league hockey after college. When he grew bored of his desk job, Holtzman decided to give mixed martial arts a try. He won his first amateur MMA fight in only 20 seconds and knew in that moment it was the sport for him.

“I used to work as a recruiter for electrical engineers,” Scott explained. “My nickname came from a friend of mine there. He thought it was funny that I put hot sauce on everything I ate, so he started calling me “Hot Sauce” around the office. Eventually he came to train with me and the nickname stuck. I initially pushed back against the silly nicknames people try to give you in fighting, like “Killer” or “Axe Murderer,” that kind of thing is not really me. I’m just a competitor and an athlete. But “Hot Sauce” was a nice middle ground. Plus, it’s been good for branding too.”

Scott resides in Knoxville, TN, where he learned about WHOOP from his good friend Scott Stallings, a pro golfer on the PGA Tour (check out Stallings’ story here on The Locker). After getting on WHOOP in early October, Holtzman says the data has been invaluable to him:

“The big thing for me is accountability. Knowing my Strain each day and how it affects my Recovery is huge. I try to shift back and forth between high-intensity and low intensity days, WHOOP helps me maximize that. You spend three months training for 15 minutes in the ring, so you want to make sure you get it right.”

Last week, Holtzman shared this screenshot in his Instagram story, proudly showing off his place at No. 1 on Team Thrive’s Day Strain rankings:

You can see he logged three activities that day, Martial Arts, Boxing and CrossFit. “On high-Strain days, three workouts is the norm,” Scott said. “I usually do conditioning of some kind, boxing and either kickboxing or wrestling.”

We asked Scott about the pressure he has to deal with when months of hard work all come down to his performance on one single night. How does he handle it?

“It definitely can be a challenge mentally,” he said. “I just try to prepare myself with positive reinforcement. I know I’ve put in the time and effort to be at my best and I have the data to back it up.”


With Week 3 of Team Thrive underway, don’t expect Scott to remain among the daily Strain leaders. He’s now tapering his training, cutting back his Strain and boosting his Recovery in order to peak on Saturday. “I’m not allowed to wear my WHOOP during the fight,” Scott told us, “but I’ll have it on right up until I step into the octagon.”

 

If you’re on WHOOP and would like to be part of Team Thrive, click here for an invitation. We want to hear from current team members too! Email TheLocker@whoop.com with your Thrive stories (good and bad!) and make sure to check out @whoop on InstagramTwitter and Facebook for updates.