Staying in shape can be very difficult for a leader to do. We see ourselves as examples to those we lead and typically strive to be the first one in, last one out, hardest worker of the group. But what follows this lifestyle can often be deadly to the team, and more importantly, to you.
I’ll show you how to juggle your time and resources to get fit and stay fit to lead. I’ve read time and time again about leaders who run themselves ragged and wind up in the hospital with an ulcer, stress related illnesses, and even heart attacks. Leaders are like adults on an airplane, you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. If you’re not taking care of you, your team will suffer.
I’ve experienced this first hand, and as a result, set out to defeat the leadership killer. Through years of research, and self-trial, I have compiled a list of the 10 most important things you can do as a leader to keep yourself fit to lead.
- Plan ahead – It’s often said, if you fail to plan, you’ve planned to fail. This is true with your fitness goals. You can’t just go out on a whim and decide you get fit, you have to intentionally create this change within yourself. It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.
- Assess yourself honestly – Where are you now? Make the appointment today, to go see a doctor and have your vitals checked. As a leader you may be stressed and on the verge of heart failure. Get your butt on a treadmill and go all out, and you’ll put yourself over the edge. You can’t know where you’re headed until you know where you are.
- Follow my series of posts – I’ll show you how to find out what you need to eat, how much to eat, what type of workouts to do. It’s all too much for one post so I’ll spread it out over several posts.
- Pick an hour – If the President of the United States of America can work out an hour a day, so can you. It’ll take some trial and error but you’ll find an hour in your day that works well. Mine is 10:30 to 11:30am. It’s enough time for me to get to work and get the ball rolling, then duck out and head to the gym. I work out for an hour, then I have lunch. You’re going to need to eat after you work out so plan for that too.
- Break up your meals – You should eat 6 times a day. Wait, what?! That’s right. Break your 3 big meals into 6 smaller meals. It will rev your metabolism to be eating so often, and you feel less hungry throughout the day. I eat at, 6, 9, noon, 3, 6, and 9.
- Make your meals ahead of time – this also helps out with the hour of working out. If your meals are premade, you just have to warm them up and eat. No more going out, sitting down, ordering, the whole lunch time routine. You no longer need to “go to lunch” unless you have a meeting. And then, you’re working so it’s not really a break. This is also important because as leaders we typically work, work, work, until our stomach tells us we have to stop and eat. Then we grab the closest hamburger to the office, gorge ourselves, and then resume working. Making your meals ahead of time will ensure that there is a healthy meal handy.
- Drink more water – you hear it all the time but it’s true. Water replenishes you muscles, lubes your joints, and carries off all the toxins. Drink enough water so that your pee is clear. No color in your pee means that your toxins are all out, for now. I use a 44oz cup at my office and refill it throughout the day. Trust me, a gallon a day, isn’t that hard. Moreover, you’ll like the way you feel.
- Learn to maximize your workout time – I’ll show you what to do in the gym to get the most out of your workouts. Just keep checking back in.
- Have patience – you won’t look like a bodybuilder anytime soon. But you will be healthy and fit and ready to lead your team. This isn’t about instant results, if it were easy, everyone would be in shape. This is a long road, but once you’ve committed yourself to you, and made it a part of your life, it will serve you for the rest of it.
- Hold yourself accountable – if you can’t lead yourself to fitness, how can you lead a company? Seriously? Your body works just like a business. If you’re too lazy to take care of your body, how can you be trusted to take care of your business? You’re an example to others, show them what you’d expect of them, don’t let them down.