By Reece Mennie, the CEO of HJ Collection
As a hardworking father and businessman who recently decided to prioritise my health and wellbeing, after many years of indulgent consumption, I want to share some great benefits you and your business can receive from just a few simple changes to your diet and daily routine.
As any CEO knows, running a successful business can be extremely rewarding but also very stressful. Whether securing new business, looking after existing clients, overseeing mundane administrative tasks or simply managing employees, a lot rests on your shoulders.
Office booze and cake culture
Such pressure can lead to poor lifestyle choices, as you constantly try to cover all bases. This can mean skipping lunch or breakfast because you feel you simply do not have the time to eat, or worse yet, indulging in sugary snacks for a quick energy and endorphin boost. In addition, there are the customary boozy client lunches, Friday drinks trolleys and employee birthday food, that add substantially to your calorie intake.
High-calorie foods and drinks can make you feel lethargic, so the thought of exercising after a long day at the office is likely to be the last thing on your mind. The end result is a mind and body that is not operating at its peak efficiency, or ready to deal with the stresses of business life. This is especially important, now more than ever for two reasons. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in some of the toughest business conditions that we have seen in decades, so CEOs especially, need to be quick thinking and energised to steer their businesses through its worst effects.
Secondly, it can be lonely at the top, and many of the business traits that make them successful are connected with addiction, depression and anxiety. Paracelsus Recovery, a leading psychiatric treatment centre in London has identified a 500% increase in referrals of CEOs in the last seven years, with bipolar increasingly common, and now nicknamed “CEO disease” by health experts.
Your body is your business- keep it healthy
So, what is the answer to ensuring you are performing at your best and keeping happy, relaxed and focused? It is, of course, exercise and nutrition. For example, a study by the University of Georgia found overwhelming evidence that regular exercise plays a significant role in increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue. While an analysis of over a quarter of a million people by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has found consistent evidence that people who are more active are less likely to develop depression. This evidence has been supported by multiple research studies
Naturally, if it were so easy to secure the benefits of exercise, everyone would be finding time in their busy day to schedule in a run and some burpees, followed by a lovely salad. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. Last-minute meetings, crisis situations that need dealing with immediately, or even having to pick-up your children from school can dictate your day and new health regime. If you are going to make it work, then you are going to have to redefine your notions of exercise, make some minor eating decisions and treat your body like an extension of your business.
It’s time to get started!
Everyone would like to strength and vitality of an Olympian, but given the amount of exercise and training they put into each day, it is better to have realistic goals regarding what you want to achieve and how you are going to do so. Therefore, I want to share with you some of my personal training tips that I have been using to improve my health, without disruption to my work schedule.
- Food and drink – The first thing to remember is that moderation is key. Start out by picking healthy options where possible, and avoid excessive portions sizes. If you do indulge in a sugary treat, do not beat yourself up about it but do make sure your next two meal options are healthy ones.
- Stand-up or take a walk – Try and avoid sitting at your desk all day. When taking calls, stand-up and walk around. It will not only get your blood circulating but also improve your focus and make you sound more engaged and confident. When on lunch, take a walk around the block and when going to your office, take the stairs rather than the lift.
- If your office has gym facilities – Use them! Each day try out the running machine and rowing machine or if you are bored of those, the stepper. Eight minutes is more than enough time to burn the calories and receive an endorphin boost.
- Bodyweight exercises – Your body is its own gym, so use your weight productively. Try press-ups, jumping jacks, planks, lunges and squats. If you feel stressed, do five press-ups. Have you won some new business? ~Jump for joy with some quick jumping jacks. These are small activities but add-up throughout the course of the day. Most importantly, they will keep you the mindset of someone who is seeking to improve their wellbeing.
- Start a company sports team – Going things alone can be tough, so why not get your whole office involved. Start a football or netball team made up of your colleagues who are willing to meet-up regularly and compete. Not only is it a great way to support your own personal health endeavours, but it will also boost company performance by boosting morale and encouraging teamwork.
Bear in mind that by making exercise part of your daily routine, you can reduce stress and feelings of low energy, which might be just what you need to get down to business. If your initial workouts do leave you feeling tired, then make them shorter or less intensive than usual. Remember, it is OK to take it easy once in a while but make sure you exercise consistently, so you adopt a healthy mindset. If need be, schedule time for your workouts and treat them as important appointments.