Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Biometrics 101: What You Can Learn from Patrick Mahomes’ Longtime Trainer

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Behind a brilliant player like the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes is a brilliant trainer. That man is Bobby Stroupe, a 41-year-old lifelong Texan who met the future football great when he was in fourth grade. Back then, everything was done by group, and Mahomes was just one of many kids who, in small pods, may not have recognized their own future greatness but were united by the desire to get better. And that’s what the future Super Bowl Champ and NFL MVP would do, one day at a time. “I know from the outside a lot of people feel like he’s this gifted person,” Stroupe says. “And while that’s obvious, he’s one of the hardest working human beings that I’ve ever been around.”

Stroupe knows a bit about hard work himself: Once the smallest kid in his class, boy or girl, through the eighth grade and with Forrest Gump-style braces on his legs, he worked through his growth spurt to set high school records in track and field, powerlifting, and football. It was in the latter that he would focus, playing in college and later on an arena team, though even then, he says, the sport wasn’t his ultimate goal. “From a pretty young age, I knew exactly what I wanted to do,” he says, “and what I wanted to do was help kids who were like myself.”

Related Guides

Helping pro athletes achieve peak physical condition was never the goal — Stroupe has been training athletes of all levels since he was in high school himself, and his company, APEC, has worked with individuals from kindergarten through the pro ranks since 2005. But with his metric-focused philosophy, the pros have come in a similar manner as Mahomes: an outgrowth of the everyday. While he continues to train the football star, to date, he’s worked with more than 200 pro athletes competing across six sports.

Granted, some concepts have remained the same since he was a prep athlete. Weight, after all, is still weight, and those dumbbells aren’t going to lift themselves. But the greatest difference between then and now, he says, is in our understanding of the central nervous system and its optimization. “It would be the equivalent of if your batteries are running out in your favorite toy when you’re a kid. You start to see little holes in performance and then all of a sudden you can’t play with your friends because your toy’s deficient until you get new batteries. Well, we’re no different.”

Stroupe, in partnership with


, spoke with The Manual at length on what you can learn from the invisible rhythms of your body’s wiring and how you can gain Mahomes-level performance when it comes to game day or the everyday.

Strength Isn’t Everything

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Stroupe says that you can be built like a brick shithouse, but if your body is run down or you’re unable to recover between workouts, it won’t matter. “The driver is the electrical component, and if the electrical component is right, then the conditioning of your tissues is really secondary and maybe even further down the list.” Really, the question shouldn’t be on your capability at your peak but on the level of fatigue right now. The easiest way to discover this, of course, is through fitness trackers by Whoop and others, which monitor things like resting heart rate over time. Its elevation can indicate an increased level of fatigue and lack of recovery since your last hard effort.

Conditioning Versus Technique

Some athletes, including runners and cyclists, are focused primarily on conditioning, with a secondhand focus on technique. Others, in ball sports like tennis, basketball, and Mahomes’ football, must contend with equal parts conditioning, technique, and tactical development. Stroupe admits the number of elements that a football quarterback must incorporate can be overwhelming. But the reality, he says, is that if recovery between conditioning is emphasized, those other areas can only benefit. “[Athletes’] reaction capabilities and their mental processes are going to be sharper, so they’re going to make better decisions,” he explains.

Sleep It Off

Stroupe points to a famous Stanford University study, published in 2011, in which its basketball team, deprived of sleep, saw its turnovers jump 28%. Sleep was then increased to a minimum of 10 hours a night, and would you guess, turnovers shrank 40%, while sprint times dropped and three-point accuracy improved almost by double digits, among other beneficial effects. “When you’re a quarterback, it could mean the difference between seeing something that breaks the game open and making a game-breaking mistake,” he says. So if you’re looking to increase your recovery and right a banged-up ship, the easiest way is to turn in early and often. Your performance can only improve.

Read more: How to Sleep Better

Responding to Wacky Stats

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Hey, sometimes you’re just run down, and your fitness wearable is letting you know. According to Stroupe, that’s not always a bad thing. “We’re looking for adaptations,” he says. “We need to impose different types of exposures to get these adaptations. If you don’t get the recovery scores low at some point, why would the body change?” Of course, how long your body stays in that zone is what’s important, and after a dip, you should be focusing on bringing it back to normal levels. “If [you’re] in those places 10 days running, you’ve done something wrong.”

Performing Through Fatigue

And on the subject of low recovery scores or elevated levels of body fatigue and distress: That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re destined for a bad session at the gym. “I’ve seen Patrick have incredible workouts and incredible game performances with sub-optimal recovery scores,” he says. The key is not the recovery score but in the nature of the man: “He is a performer and understands to draw what is available to him to do what is necessary to get done.” Maybe that’s you in YMCA basketball pickup game or alone running laps on a track, but one score doesn’t necessarily mean the end. Stay engaged and see what you’ve got — you may surprise yourself.

Don’t Panic

Let’s say you wake up the morning of an important workout, game, or race, only to find that your metrics indicate you’re still carrying baggage from your last hard effort. Do you pull the plug? Punt to next week? Call in sick? Stroupe suggests that if there’s time between now and that maximal effort, what happens between now and then is critical. Take a nap. Get a massage. Drink water and eat well. All of these things can help improve your score in the interim. “It’s unreasonable to think that every single game day you’re going to hit 95% recovered because there are a lot of factors at play,” he says. “The guys that are the best, they’re not accepting of those narratives in their head, and psychologically, when you’re in that space, your body is going to follow.”


Image used with permission by copyright holder

Stroupe admits he prefers working with athletes who have the resilience to compete rather than feel enslaved to data. And who wouldn’t? But just like you, some of the men and women that darken his door can get a little obsessed with incorporating the biometric equivalent of Moneyball. “The athletes that are overly obsessed, I don’t know that it’s always healthy,” he says. The solution is simple: Take a break. That’s not to say that you have to throw your watch in the junk drawer for the next few weeks — by all means, keep wearing it. But stop checking in. If you’ve got a coach, feel free to provide access (Stroupe himself continues to monitor and adjust workouts accordingly), but you yourself shouldn’t peek.

The X-Factor

Michael Jordan’s “Flu Game,” when he sliced through a hapless Utah Jazz in game five of the 1997 NBA Finals despite seeming on the verge of collapse between plays due to illness, is just one of numerous examples in sports where the athlete transcends the situation. Stroupe himself admits that troubling metrics pre-game don’t necessarily dictate the performance. “When the body is against the wall, and you send a message back to the body that there is something that has to be done, the best of the best, they’re going to produce an abnormal amount of neurotrophic growth factor, different adrenal factors, that are going to be a cocktail to get them over the hump.” Of course, with every transcendent performance, there’s a cost, and doubly so for the ones that come when you’re already in a hole. “When the game is over, they’re worthless,” he says. The goal with these is to adjust training in the following days, taking even greater caution while nursing yourself back to health.

When in Doubt, Call a Coach

Mahomes and Stroupe have worked together for decades, forging trust over time. Granted, you may not have a similar relationship in your life, but if you’re currently employing a coach, when all else fails, trust. “The coach-athlete relationship boils down to communication, trust, honesty, and the ability to audit yourself and feel comfortable in your space doing that,” Stroupe says. If you don’t feel that with your current trainer, either commit or search for someone with whom you can.

Jon Gugala
Features Writer
Jon Gugala is a freelance writer and photographer based in Nashville, Tenn. A former gear editor for Outside Magazine, his…
How to build strength and mobility with functional training
Strengthen your upper and lower body with functional fitness
a man doing pull ups

As you prepare to start your summertime fitness routine, you’ll want to include functional training. Now more than ever, there’s an increased focus on this type of training within the fitness-conscious world, and with good reason; functional training primes your body for your everyday activities. 

As we go on with the hustle and bustle of our day, we often overlook it, but functional training provides the strength to carry out the daily tasks that require you to push, haul, load, and lift. Keep reading to learn more about functional training and how to include it in your routine.
Does functional training build strength?

Read more
How to do a hack squat: Tips, tricks, and advice from the experts
Fire up those quads and build tree-trunk legs with the hack squat
blonde-haired man doing a hack squat on a hack squat machine

Looking for a way to torch your quads and sculpt those treetrunk legs you’ve always dreamed of? You’ve probably done your fair share of squats, but if you want to switch things up and really target your quads, it's time to try the hack squat.
The hack squat can be done one of two ways: with a hack squat machine or with a barbell. In this guide, we’ll break down both methods for you and cover everything you need to know to perform this exercise effectively and safely.

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to conquer leg day with confidence and take your quad strength to the next level.
What is a hack squat?

Read more
Spark your fitness journey with accessible home gym equipment from Major Fitness
Major FItness family workout with Dad and son on Spirit B52 AIO home gym

A gym membership is great, especially since it gives you access to a lot of useful fitness and health equipment you probably don't have at home. But at some point, if you're serious about your fitness journey, you'll probably start looking into getting some gear for your place. Having at least something on hand is perfect for those days when you're tired, got off work late, but don't want to hit the gym. Or, better yet, when you've woken up early and you're ready to hit the equipment first thing. While there are a few brands you could turn to, we recommend checking out Major Fitness. Its mission is specifically to "enable your fitness journey," and a huge part of that mission is offering accessible, excellently crafted fitness equipment from power racks and Smith machines to storage options, free weights like dumbbells, and much more.

Of course, we like Major Fitness because of its focus on people first. They don't just want to deliver equipment and leave you to the wolves. They want to help you craft a customized and ultimate home gym that meets your needs. There's no sense in getting equipment you're not going to use, but at the same time, you want something that will evolve with you along your journey. As your strength, focus, and exercises change, your workout system will also grow with your body. Major Fitness aims to be a fitness companion rather than just a provider, continuously improving alongside you with your personal wellness and growth in mind.

Read more