For the last couple of years, I spent more than 200 days a year on the road. That’s a grueling schedule that doesn’t lend itself to healthy habits – especially for someone like me who has a lot of friends in the restaurant industry and a passion for trying great food.
Despite the challenges – and some setbacks along the way – I actually managed to come out of those two years slightly ahead of where I started. When I shifted back to being CEO of CustomScoop on May 1, I was about 10 pounds lighter and a bit more fit than when I started at DCI Group in 2009.
But it is still clear that being home more is better for my overall health and wellness. In just over 3 weeks, I have already lost nearly 10 more pounds. I’m able to work out in my home gym almost every day. My home pantry is stocked with much healthier fare than what I would find on the road. I no longer face the near daily temptation of friends and food at fancy restaurants in major cities.
Of course, the extra sleep I get at home doesn’t hurt either. Hanging out with restaurant industry friends almost always means late nights. The difference is I need to be at work at 7 or 8 AM, while they’re not even contemplating being awake yet.
Though I am far from a fitness nut, I have generally found that I am at my most creative and productive as an entrepreneur the more focused I am on working out and eating well. If I were to chart my fitness against my business success, there would be a pretty close correlation.
For me, here’s why I think health & fitness drives my business success:
- Fitness gives me more energy. Being an entrepreneur is hard work. To keep charging forward, it’s important to fuel those efforts. The more I focus on eating well and working out, the more likely it is for me to be energetic.
- Working out helps me clear my mind. I have talked about how my mind is usually churning on something. When I’m working out, I’m able to select a couple of different brain speeds – both of which help in their own way. If I’m doing a high intensity workout, it clears my mind completely, giving it a valuable respite. During more moderately paced sessions, it allows me to relax just enough that more creative thoughts and problem-solving can take place.
- Eating well saves time. Even when I account for the extra time it takes to cook my own food versus having a chef somewhere prepare it, I still spend less time eating – and more time doing more productive things – when I’m eating better. Restaurants for me are a social experience whereas eating at home is simply a task to check off.
- Healthy behavior means better sleep. I have never been a guy who likes a lot of sleep. In fact, eight hours is pretty hard for me to achieve – and unless I’m incredibly sick, ten hours is impossible. But the sleep I do get tends to be deeper and more restful when I’m eating well and working out. In particular, laying off of booze makes a significant difference for me (as it does with most people).
Succeeding in this area isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard either. A lot of it just comes down to establishing healthy habits and then finding ways to reinforce them. Fortunately, there are a lot of technology-based tools that make it easier than ever – but that’s a subject for another post.