13 Entrepreneurs Dish On The Importance of Health and Wellness

For entrepreneurs, focusing on change and newness don’t just come at the start of a calendar, but at a moment's notice. With hectic schedules, long days, and even longer nights, it’s important to carve out time to focus on your health, wellness, and of course getting in some sleep. Regardless of the constant pressure on entrepreneurs, many of us still jump on the wellness bandwagon of New Year’s Resolutions.

Interestingly enough, only 17 days into January is where most people end up leaving their resolution behind, also known as Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day. If you’ve kept up the pace thus far, you’ve only a little more than 300 days to go. If that seems like a long way out, perhaps the advice from entrepreneurs from all walks of life will give you some added inspiration to keep up the wellness efforts:

Jillian Michaels: Keep It Simple

According to world-renowned fitness expert and life coach, Jillian Michaels, it’s all about simplicity. Keep it simple, affordable and accessible. The less strict the better. Anything rigid is hard to stick to:

  1. Don't eat too many calories
  2. Use common sense with food choices and eat less processed when possible
  3. Practice the 80/20 rule. Allow 20% of your daily calories to be treat foods and the other 80% to be relatively healthy

Speaking of simplicity, Michaels recently launched a new fitness anywhere platform, FitFusion, which allows you to stream some of the more popular workout types on any device.

Peter Corbett: Productive Activities

Some of us run, others meditate and do yoga. For Washington, DC’s founder and CEO of iStrategyLabs, Peter Corbett, he’s been on a progressive wellness journey for a healthier lifestyle over the past few years.

“My best advice is to find some activity you really love – where you can also be productive. For me it’s cycling. I can get out there for an hour or two, clear my head, and solve a few business problems by noodling on them as I ride.”

Ross McCray: Measure Everything

If you want to achieve a goal, you need to measure wellness milestones leading up to it. For VideoAmp cofounder and CEO Ross McCray, that means measuring everything.

  • Measures everything, whether it’s sleeping, eating, or working out, put everything in a spreadsheet and then create models over time
  • Times everything
  • Wears a heart rate monitor, monitor body weight
  • Big on tracking to use in my performance
  • No interest in marathons but have done Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, has taken team to do a Spartan Race

Cyril Paglino: Find A Balance

Being a healthy entrepreneur isn’t all lifting weights and hitting the track. You also need to flex that brain muscle to promote wellness.

“As an ex-breakdancer for over a decade, I rigorously trained daily for professional competitions. Those experiences made me realize how good health can affect productivity for the better — and even make me a better CEO,” said Cyril Paglino, cofounder and CEO of Tribe. “I kick off every morning by reading for 45 minutes before checking my emails, which helps me start the day with the most up-to-date tech news at top of mind. In general, I try to make sure I get in a workout 4-5 times per week to allow me to unplug from work for a few hours and relieve any stresses that may come my way, keeping me sharp and focused throughout the day.”

Bert Jacobs: Inspire Optimism

For a positive brand dedicated to inspiring optimism, it’s important to have healthy employees – both mentally and physically. Bert Jacobs, chief executive optimist at Life is Good shares how he inspires his team into a healthy atmosphere:

  1. Get your vitamin L! When we laugh, it actually changes our body chemistry in positive ways. Laughing regularly reduces stress and anxiety, releases muscle tension, boosts our energy, lowers our blood pressure, improves cardiac health, triggers the release of endorphins and dopamine (our natural happiness transmitters), strengthens our immune system, and helps us sleep better.
  2. Hit the pause button. When it’s time to eat, we should leave our work space. While we eat, we should think about and/or talk about interests other than work. Not only do we enjoy our meals more this way, we digest them better and come back to work stronger and refreshed.
  3. Sweat Equity – The benefits of daily rigorous physical exercise are not just physical. After a good run or workout, our mental state is more relaxed, and the complex puzzles of business development become simple to solve.

Ryan Croft: Clearing Your Mind

Before kicking off his day, cofounder and COO of DC-based TransitScreen, Ryan Croft, clears his mind.

“As a tech startup founder, I have found running is the best way to stay physically, mentally fit. I run at least two miles at 6am every morning and often more on the weekends. For me, running provides a digital detox. Running enables me to open my mind to big picture strategy and new opportunities that I often overlook in the hectic every day hustle.”

Carrie Seibert: Meal Prep

Have you ever wondered why Meal Prep Sunday is such a popular thing for fitness, health, and wellness buffs? Besides having a better handle on what you eat throughout the week, it also means you get healthier options than eating out all the time.

“My best tip for staying healthy is to plan ahead for food (including meals and snacks) so that I don't get caught reaching for junk food.  If possible, it's helpful to do as much food advance food prep as possible on the weekend, as well as making healthy desserts and snacks.  Planning out what you want to eat each day also helps keep you body nourished, fueled, and satisfied,” said Carrie Seibert, owner and founder of Soap Commander.

Rob Farrow: ‘Board’ Meetings

Board meetings? More like surfboard meetings.

“For the new year (and as part of our new offices), my CTO and I have instigated a mandatory board meeting during lunch everyday, basically a 45-1.5 hour surf session out front of our offices,” said Rob Farrow, cofounder and CEO of Aisle Planner . “It’s a great way for us to get the team outside, think freely and brainstorm while getting the some exercise… Not everyone has gotten on board just yet, but the ones who have love it and everyone else is taking up their own personal excursive plan during lunch…makes for a happy team.”

Don Joos: Start Your Day Early

We’re not all morning people, but for ShorTel CEO Don Joos, he starts the day with a bit of ass kicking.

“I have a regular 5:00am workout consisting of Insanity, Asylum and a five-mile run regardless of where I am in the world and the time zone. Since so much of my job is unpredictable, the workout helps keep my mind and body fresh and at least have a predictable start to my day.”

Jamie Johnson: Workout Before You Hunt For Your Food

You need to get out and move. Period. If you spend your entire day in front of a computer, find a way to get out of your seat today!

“By default of being a millennial, I found myself working those 16 hour days in front of a computer, we all know this is not healthy and in the long run it is the recipe for burnout. In talking with one of my investors, we discussed keeping fit and healthy. I said ‘I prefer to go to the gym at night' and he said ‘I go to the gym every morning, before I go out to hunt for my food. Once I have caught my food I go home to rest.' It suddenly dawned on me, maybe I am doing it all backwards. What sense is it in going out to hunt all day for my food and then going prepare my body after the deed was done. In other words, my investor was telling me to go to the gym in the mornings as it would set me straight to succeed in the day while I at work.”

– Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment

Caleb Parker: C-C-C-Combo Breaker

If you think eating right is the way to go when it comes to wellness, think again. Bold CEO Caleb Parker discusses finding the perfect combination.

“The winning combination is eating right, exercise, and sleep. It's a struggle to manage all three, but you don't have to be perfect. I avoid white bread and regular sodas, exercise at least 3 times a week (Gym preferred, but even push-ups and pull-ups at home for 5 min is better than nothing), and I aim to get 7 hours of sleep at night.”

Bilal Kaiser: Express Gratitude

Being thankful is about creating a positive mindset in hopes of promoting good among others. And it's the best way to stay mentally healthy.

“Express gratitude and take time to breath. Seriously! I say out loud what I'm thankful for while driving on the beautiful LA freeways, and I do a series of breathing exercises when I'm feeling anxious or stressed. These two habits have dramatically cut down on my stress levels and impacted my emotional health more than any gym time.”

– Bilal Kaiser, principal at Agency Guacamole

David Laloum: Focus on Now

Living the present isn't just a saying you find on fortune cookies. It's one of the keys to living a health life.

“It took me years to realize the importance of focusing on what you're doing at the moment, no matter if it's work, physical exercise or being at home with your family on a Saturday afternoon. Multitasking is inevitable nowadays, and sometimes desirable. But try as much as you can to focus on what you're doing now. While working, see if you have those multiple tabs opened in your browser. If you do, save those links somewhere, and just open them again when you're ready to focus on them.”

– David Laloum, founder and CEO of Carts Guru

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Written by:
Elliot is an award winning journalist deeply ingrained in the startup world and is often digging into emerging technology and data. When not writing, he's likely either running or training for a triathlon. You can contact him by email at elliot(@)elliotvolkman.com or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.
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