The Key to Getting (and Staying) Fit as an Entrepreneur

By Adam Mendler

Entrepreneurs face the enduring challenge of reconciling the limited amount time in the day with the limitless amount to do. However, entrepreneurs who are too busy or distracted to actively manage their health jeopardize their business objectives. For your business to thrive, you need to need to be at your best. And taking care of yourself is critical. So how can you overcome the structural challenges inherent in starting, operating and growing a business to live a healthy lifestyle and ultimately stay physically fit?

Find Your 'Why'

Rebecca Soni, a six-time Olympic medalist and winner of gold medals in Beijing and London, co-founded RISE Elite upon retiring from her swimming career. She told me, “As entrepreneurs, you are familiar with understanding motivation. You know WHY you do what you do for your business. But do you know your WHY for staying fit? Without one, you will not be able to prioritize your workouts for.” Your "why" might be different from mine. It could be driven by health, vanity, competitiveness, a combination of those factors or others. On the days that I work out, my level of energy is much higher throughout the day than on the days I do not. While increased energy is just one of my “whys,” it should be reason enough for all entrepreneurs to consider engaging in physical activity.

Don’t Be Intimidated to Start

Only a small percentage of entrepreneurs have the luxury of launching new ventures from the top. Most start from the bottom and work their way up, developing increased expertise in their product, market and industry over time. And entrepreneurs by definition are not prone to intimidation by uncertainty, hard work or the many obstacles that come with running and growing a company. Yet you may consider engaging in a new physical fitness routine daunting. According to Natalie Eva Marie, professional wrestler and star of WWE’s hit television show Total Divas, you can apply the same fearlessness that allowed you to start a new business to starting up at the gym or trying a new workout.

Prioritize Your Health

The only way entrepreneurs can tackle the most crucial of issues is by prioritizing them over those that are less important. Entrepreneurs must recognize, though, that nothing is more important than their own their health. If they are beset by physical, psychological or emotional problems, their business will suffer too. Jas Krdzalic, a technology entrepreneur, amateur bodybuilder and president of BodyBuilding.com, emphasized the importance of building workouts into your schedule. “The best way to signal that something is a priority is to schedule and plan for it,” he told me. “Even with a busy workload, you’ve got to schedule time for exercise, put your workout on the calendar, and then adhere to it.”

Scheduling is a zero-sum game and something will have to give, but it cannot be more vital than the investment in well-being and, in turn, the well-being of your company. Identify the time-consuming items in your personal and professional lives that you could eliminate or delegate to free up the time needed to take care of yourself.

Start the Day Strong

I love working out in the morning, as it allows me to kick the day off on the right foot. Entrepreneur and fitness guru Jonathan Coyle also believes in the virtue of morning workouts. He told me, “There is something powerful about starting your day off by pushing your limits and training your mind that you can overcome what seems impossible. That mental toughness will carry into every aspect of your life. Now that seemingly impossible situation at work or issue in your life no longer seems impossible.” When you take a step back and realize what you are capable of doing at the gym or in a yoga, pilates or spin class, you will gain a greater appreciation for what you can achieve entrepreneurially.

I have met many people over the years who hate exercising in the mornings and love working out after they wrap work for the day. They may not be natural morning-people or may have a prohibitively early start to their workday. Nonetheless, even they should make sure to start each day strong, even if only by spending a few minutes every morning thinking about what is possible to achieve.

Learn From Others

I am a strong believer in the power of mentorship, as no person has a monopoly on the knowledge needed to reach the pinnacle of success in his or her given craft. Successful entrepreneurs lean on the advice of those they trust, often formalized through a board seat. If your goal is to get fit, it is important to seek out the counsel of the people around you who can help, whether they are personal trainers, fitness instructors or simply friends who are in good shape.

As Laci Kay Somers, a professional fitness model, told me, “Studying other individuals who have found success is key because success leaves clues. Information and knowledge are limitless, and it's how we use that information to help us grow as human beings and entrepreneurs that make all the difference.” While not all people you turn to (in business, fitness or anything else) are prone to helping, many will jump at the opportunity to pay it forward. All you need to do is engage and ask.

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Adam Mendler is CEO of The Veloz Group and founder of Beverly Hills Chairs, Custom Tobacco and Veloz Solutions

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