A 2012 Gallup poll showed that entrepreneurs are on top of their physical well-being when compared to other professions. Only 19% of us tend to be obese when compared to 25% of our counterparts in other professions. We also eat better and are more likely to stay on top of potential health issues. It makes sense. We're driven people. We're proactive about most things in life with health being no exception. Kudos to us.
At the same time, we're constantly bombarded by so many things, that health is often a second priority. We eat on the go. We eat easiest thing to consume at the moment. We don't come close to getting enough sleep. And it's a miracle that we can even squeeze in a workout.
The number one culprit: time. 63% of small business owners work more than 40 hours per week and 10% work more than 70 hours. There's never enough time in a day, and naturally our health suffers. If you're like most business owners, you have likely had difficulties squeezing in a workout on many occasions. I consider myself to be very healthy compared to most, and even I have my own personal "off season" where I don't work out at all for about a month. It usually hits in January where I just have too much to do.
Last year, I decided to be more proactive about it, and developed a plan for being consistent. It kept me healthy through almost all of the entire year (there was that week or two of vacation that I'm not completely proud of) but it didn't require a major health overhaul. Here are 3 of my key takeaways:
1. Keep track of what you eat: I go through phases where I monitor calories, then I get a good idea of them so I stop doing it. You would be surprised by all of the little things that have changed since the last time you tracked your food intake. First, measure the calories you're taking in through a calorie tracker like MyFitnessPal at least 1 day out of every month. Also, measure the precise serving sizes of the things you eat on a regular basis. I'm talking measuring spoons and food scales. Bowls of cereal and helpings of chili often get bigger without you even noticing, espcially when you're eating on the go.
2. Make a habit out of a quick work out: I have my days where I can spend 1-2 hours at the gym. Then I have my days where I either don't have the time or motivation to carve out that much time to work out. I've started taking a lot of my workouts in my own bedroom and getting them done in less than 20 minutes. It's enough time to get my heartrate going, stimulate muscles, and motivate me to stay active. Best of all, I'm much more consistent in allocating such a reasonable amount of time to working out.
3. Do something you enjoy: My saving grace are dance classes at Hubbard Street Dance. For over an hour, I can pretend to be Janet Jackson's background dancer and I love every moment of it. In the summer, there's always a drop-in tennis class to keep me happy. A lot of guys I know love to play on football and soccer leagues. These activities are also vital to us as stressed-out business owners because they give us a great outlet. What can be better for your time than something that makes you healthy and happy at the same time?
Until we come up with a way to have more than 24 hours in a day, we'll continue the war against weight gain and bad health habits. I've found these 3 small changes to lead to great results and to make me much more consistent.
I would love to hear other small changes you have made that have made a big difference to your health.