You most likely know that exercising, sleeping and healthy eating should be at the top of your priority list. When you exercise regularly, you’re more positive, energetic, productive and creative. That all translates into making you a more effective entrepreneur who can generate more revenue and create a bigger impact in the world.
But maintaining a consistent fitness routine on top of being a productive entrepreneur isn’t a walk in the park (although even that would be better than nothing). A business leader’s average day consists of working from a to-do list, dealing with clients, managing a small team, racing against deadlines and replying to emails — our favorite.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing there’s no time to have a life beyond work, much less one that carves out time for regular exercise. But personal health doesn’t have to become a daunting task that commands large chunks of your day.
As an entrepreneur, you’re adept at using your time and energy in the most efficient way possible. You can apply the same mindset to fitness if you follow these six core principles.
1. Schedule your workout.
You schedule doctor appointments, date nights with your significant other (hopefully) and important business meetings. So why not schedule workout time? After all, without personal health, we can’t achieve our best possible versions of ourselves.
Outline a weekly schedule and include an exercise block, preferably at the same time each day. Seeing this item regularly on your calendar will decrease the odds that you’ll skip out on a commitment you’ve made to yourself.
2. Sleep smarter.
Sleep is your foundation to maintain fitness routines and function at your peak performance level as an entrepreneur. Like workouts, sleep must be scheduled.
Studies have shown that healthy sleep habits can help you keep your waistline under control. Sleep also plays a positive role in increasing your creativity, productivity, energy levels and decision-making abilities.
What you do in the hour before bed is one of the biggest barriers to attaining quality, consistent sleep. Intelligent sleeping starts with self-discipline. Create sleep rituals to “automate” this important habit.
3. Start a culture of health and fitness at work.
It’s no secret that support, accountability and enjoyment increase the likelihood you’ll stick to your goals. However, the
the biggest predictor of success often lies in the quality of your environment.
If you spend most of your time in an office, why not make fitness a part of the conversation? Build a health-minded community within your workplace. Unlike friends, whose lifestyles and schedules might be markedly different than yours, colleagues and peers understand the daily demands and intricacies of your work life. These coworkers can provide a solid network of support.
You might start with an office-wide weight-loss challenge or a display board to tally the progress toward weekly walking or running goals. You also can turn to the internet health community for support. A wide variety of fitness sites offer sample workout plans and video tutorials. You even can download health and nutrition information to develop homegrown seminars to further educate team members in your office.
4. Get creative and multitask.
Many entrepreneurs spend way too much time sitting at their desks and at cafes in meetings. During the busiest of days, separating exercise time from work may not be realistic. Life happens.
But it’s still no excuse to skip activity altogether for the day. If work is that hectic, the most logical solution is integrating exercise into your daily workflow.
A favorite strategy of mine — famously used by Steve Jobs — is to hold walking meetings. Instead of sitting at the cafe talking, get some activity in while conducting business. Take the stairs, park your car farther from the door, walk to your favorite lunch spot or invest in a treadmill or standing desk.
5. Make high-intensity training your friend.
When you’re short on time or traveling frequently, you must maximize every moment. During workouts, focus on quality instead of quantity and prioritize intensity over duration. Choose full body workouts, circuit-training intervals and other high-intensity methods to optimize your workouts. These tactics reduce the time you need in the gym to build muscle and lose fat.
6. Have a Plan B.
Whether it’s an impromptu work meeting, traffic on the way home, a family commitment or an unexpected setback on a project, you will face unforeseen circumstances. Establishing a backup plan ahead of time is essential to fail-proof your fitness.
If you can’t make it to the gym for your scheduled session, seek other forms of movement to continue your daily exercise habit. Alternatively, you could invest in some kettlebells or a TRX for some home workouts. Any regular activity is better than nothing.
The busy life of an entrepreneur or small-business owner makes it tempting to come up with excuses for diverting your time elsewhere. But achieving healthy fitness levels doesn’t require marathon exercise sessions. At a minimum, 30 minutes can be plenty, and that’s only around 2 percent of your day (nothing in the grand scheme of things).
Small, intelligent actions can help you take control of your health and maximize your effectiveness as an entrepreneur.