Why Entrepreneurs Should Have A Personal Trainer

Everyone knows that working out is good for your mind., but not enough people have talked about why exercise is so essential to entrepreneurs and freelancers.

Anyone who is a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk (myself included) knows he made the plunge and hired a personal trainer (Mike Vacanti and then Jordan Syatt). He’s mentioned quite a few times on his #AskGaryVee show on YouTube that taking charge of his health was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

It’s not secret that starting your own venture is exhausting.

Even after working as a personal trainer for three years, when I finally finished school and jumped all-in on being a freelance copywriter, I worked so long and hard and completely forgot everything I learned about health.

I totally get it.

It’s easy to put in 17 hour days and barely sleep in order to “finish that one last project”, although spoilers: the to-do list never really ends when you’re doing your own thing.

Any time spent away from building your business seems to be completely selfish and you convince yourself that if you take any time off it will all crumble to the ground. 24/7 hustle seems to be the only way to make it happen.

However, I’m here to tell you that the times I stopped, took care of myself, and then went back into my business full force yielded better results than the times I skipped any self care.

Watching Gary Vaynerchuk’s journey to getting healthier reminded me how many entrepreneurs and freelancers need to hear that message.

Working out and taking care of yourself will add to your business instead of subtracting from it.

Being able to approach a business, client, or customer problem with a fresh, focused mind is a million times better than trying to force out a solution of an exhausted mind.

It starts slow at first.

You start skipping workouts. You don’t walk much any longer except to client meetings and your car.

You start to order delivery or get fast food instead of cooking anything.

You drink more coffee and energy drinks than ever before.

You never leave the slouched-over position of sitting and hammering away at your laptop.

Your eye starts to develop a twitch from so much computer screen time.

Eventually, it’s a year or years later and you get a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and wonder what the hell happened because that zombie-looking face staring back at you can’t be your face.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and preach about work-life balance because I still don’t quite know how to do that, but I’ve learned that caring about your health matters.

The more you exercise and eat right, the more energy you’ll have throughout the day to get things done.

Here are some things you can do to get your health back through the stressful period of starting your venture:

1. Know your business will survive for the 30 to 60 minutes you’re gone.

Yes, you can make the time to exercise and stretch. I know it’s hard to believe, but trust me. Even if you only work on your side-hustle in the early morning or the late nights, you can find the time to take care of yourself.

It wasn’t until I was years into my business that someone I admired in my industry told me, “If your business can’t survive without you being gone for a few hours, you’re building a business wrong.”

It was a great punch to the gut on what I was currently doing.

2. Drink enough water (start small).

This is at least the first step you should work on. Even if you haven’t started exercising or cleaning up your diet.

There have been a few studies done at the University of Connecticut on all the different ways dehydration can change strength, cortisol, and testosterone.

I’m a big fan of starting to implement baby steps over a long period instead of just changing your life in an instant. I mean, do what works for you, but starting a small habit like drinking enough water makes adding other healthier habits easier down the line.

3. Keep workouts short and focused.

There’s no need to work out for 2+ hours. 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week is enough. For me, that seems to be enough to shake off the anxiety that building a new venture brings.

Stay focused, stay moving in the gym, and focus on workouts that work multiple parts of your body at once. That will be the fastest way to get a great workout done in a shorter amount of time. Of course, it depends on your goals, but it’s a good place to start.

4. Look into personal trainers.

You don’t need to hire one at a gym, there are also a ton of coaches who do online coaching. Sometimes online coaching is the best option so you don’t have to be somewhere at a certain time, you can adjust depending on what you need to accomplish that day.

Online coaching is a better option than just relying on yourself to be accountable, because you need to report to someone with your effort.

Here are two great posts on what to look for in an online coach: here and here.

There are a lot of skeez-buckets out there who have abs and think they’re experts. There are also PhD’s who have real ego/attitude problems because they think they’re so above everyone who are as equally a nightmare to train with.

Any decent trainer should be able to answer any questions you have, have some kind of training and clients with results, and not be an ego-maniac.

Those are the best steps to start with, and I’m writing this mainly from my perspective of how many times I’ve burned my mind and body into the ground by being a workaholic.

It’s not worth it. It hurts not only you but your business results as well.

Can You Balance Fitness and A Fun Life?

Americans are obsessed with a “balanced” life.

Recently I was browsing through the new books section at my local bookstore and almost every single self-help title was along the lines of:

  • “Work-life balance for the busy professional”
  • “How to balance it all as a mom”
  • “Work hard and have fun”
  • “How to balance it all”

While work-life balance is a great goal, the problem is that most people feel incredibly guilty all the time for not balancing everything.

They feel bad they don’t have enough time to meditate in the morning, that they skip breakfast, that they missed a night out with their friends due to a project needing to be finished, or any other guilt that sits in the back of their minds.

Everyone is stressed out. Look at any single day time television show: it’s about balance and how stressed we all are.

Sure, it’s important to make time for what matters, but understand that we’re all simply doing the best we can at any given moment.

My 27th birthday was this past Friday and instead of feeling bad about not having some “exciting” night out, I decided to finally say: Fuck it.

For years I went out with friends, whether I was in the mood for it or not, because of some idealistic reality-TV-driven standard of go big or go home. Instead, I just read some books, watched some movies, and got in some quality family time. I ate an entire pizza and tub of ice cream because fuck. it.

I don’t have time to meditate right now (that can also be read as: It’s not a priority right now), and I’m going to stop feeling bad about that. I skip breakfast often and I’m not going to feel bad about that either.

I don’t have it all balanced, and I’m going to keep trying to instill better habits but the guilt has to go. I’m done with it.

I’ve decided to stop feeling bad about not being able to balance it all.

Life is a spectrum. Sometimes you’re 100% all-in and dedicated to a goal. Sometimes everything is thrown off balance. Sometimes you just need to put in 14+ hour days on a project to hit your deadline and you miss your workouts.

Fuck. It.

You’ll catch up later.

You’ll put in extra cardio next week.

To be honest, I don’t know anyone who has it all balanced.

Even celebrities with hired help still operate in different levels of the spectrum.

If you’re feeling guilt over not having everything perfectly balanced, please take a deep breath. Right now.

Keep trying to balance everything, but if you miss something, STOP FEELING BAD.

Sometimes I’ve forced myself into the idea of “balance” and hung out with friends but the whole time I’m thinking about the work I need to stay up all night to finish.

I’m in a period of my life where I need to work harder than I ever have before and I am simply not going to feel bad about it.

When I worked at my old gym, not balancing everything was the top guilt-inducing feeling.

When a client was clearly plagued with guilt about missing a workout, bingeing over the weekend, or thoughts about not spending enough time with their family: their workout suffered every single time.

They were slower, less enthusiastic, and wanted to be done way earlier than they should have.

People walk around with these feelings all the time.

Sometimes you don’t even realize how pervasive guilt is until you stop and realize how often you beat yourself up over it.

Take a deep breath, know you’re trying your best, decide on your top three priorities, and don’t feel guilty about anything outside of those priorities.

Also, I’m going to start posting more videos on YouTube, so come subscribe: Here.

2016 Fitness Goals

Not everyone is into goal setting, but it’s something I’ve always liked to do with the start of the year. I’m not as big on New Years Resolutions because I think it’s more important to look at the entire year instead of promising you’re going to change all of your habits overnight.

Also, just to note, these are more themes for the year than concrete goals. I don’t have any PR’s I want to hit, goal weights, or timed miles. I just want more of these things in my life overall.

If you want a deeper look into a goal setting and planning routine, Click here.

By setting yearly goals, I can see what I need to accomplish throughout each month to get there.

These are my fitness goals for the year (my business goals and personal goals are in a whole different category), but hopefully putting them in writing will force me to stay accountable. I’ll also be doing either quarterly or monthly updates to make sure I knock all of these out of the park.

1. Increased endurance.

Yes, I know this isn’t a specific goal, but I generally want to increase my cardiovascular endurance so when I’m hiking and swimming all summer I won’t feel like my lungs are dying.

All throughout high school I played lacrosse and after that ended I stopped doing a lot of cardio. I’m honestly not a fan of cardio, but if I want to hold my own all summer, it’s necessary.

2. Only two-hour computer periods.

One of the worst fitness mistakes I make is sitting at this damn computer for far too long. These giant chunks of metal rule so much of our lives now, and every time I do work binges I feel my body start to ache.

Sitting is not good, and I don’t like standing desks either. So, I’m simply going to combat this with walking away from this thing every two hours and doing something else for a few minutes; mainly stretching.

3. Fitness classes

I want to get involved in some kind of competitive environment again. Whether it’s boxing, martial arts, adult lacrosse leagues, or something else, I need to get in an environment where I’m challenged in a new way. I want to sign up for a few things this year and see what I enjoy.

It’s enjoyable to get roughed up as well. No, I don’t mean in a 50 Shades kind of way, I mean in a competitive way. Some of my favorite memories from high school involved pushing girls around in lacrosse.

(Note: Please do not suggest Crossfit. I hold nothing against Crossfit, I just want to do something that doesn’t involve weights because I already spend all kinds of time around weights and in a gym.)

4. Consistency.

If anything, I just want to stay consistent with my fitness this year. No months off, selective cheat meals, marching through all kinds of new programs, consistent content for this blog and my YouTube channel.

Nothing in the world beats being consistent. That’s how everything great in life happens. It’s not flashy, it’s not sexy, but it’s the one thing that separates the people who really want something from the ones who don’t, and I really fucking want it.

I have a huge calendar where I mark off the days I am consistent in all the areas that matter, and all I want is for it to be full of check marks.

5. Go on a vacation and focus on balance.

I just looked at my planners and realized I haven’t been on a vacation where I get to lay on a beach and not give any shits for a solid week in over 11 years. Yes, 11 years. All of my vacations since then have been busy vacations with no actual down time and constant movement.

I just need a break. Whether I schedule one mini vacation every three months or a huge vacation, I am not sure yet, but it will be happening.

Workaholism is a problem I constantly deal with, and I’m going to force myself to actually balance this year, or else I’m going to burn out.

This overall goal/theme includes stretching daily, actually doing physical rehabilitation to fix imbalances, and getting enough sleep.

Hustle is great and I know I can get more done without working 17 hours a day like I have for 5+ years now if I concentrate on the select few things that matter.

That’s it for the year. What are YOUR goals / themes for the year?

Why Stress Is Ruining Your Body and What to Do About it

Diet, workout plans, and sleep are all building blocks to an impressive body. However, there’s a sneaky little thing called stress that can ruin all your gains.

It’s not nearly as “sexy” to talk about as things like getting abs and cooking impressive meals, but your hormones and metabolism are extremely important to the overall function of your body.

Things like major stress, depriving your body of the needed calories, and constant binge drinking can damage your body for years. Thankfully, for the most part, with careful planning you can undo a lot of the damage. (One recommended resource for this is Jillian Michael’s book: Master Your Metabolism. P.S. that’s not an affiliate link. I just dig the book.)

From the book:

“According to Dr. Scott Isaacs, author of The Leptin Boost Diet and guru of all things hormonal, stress can cause

  • Leptin resistance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lower estrogen (estradiol) in women
  • Lower testosterone in men
  • Lower levels of growth hormone
  • Higher cortisol levels
  • Impaired conversion of thyroid hormone”

Basically, it can ruin everything.

All of those can cause serious health complications along with unexplained weight gain.

This is why I disagree fully with anyone who claims weight loss is as simple as calories in and calories out. It kind of is, but not always. Plus, I refuse to ride the weight-shaming bandwagon, but that’s another story.

When a study was done at the University of Chicago and they deprived sleep in young men for two nights, the hormone that regulates hunger levels increased.

Not to mention, stress and sleep are usually correlated. If you’re stressed, you don’t sleep well. If you don’t sleep well, it’s hard to deal with stress. It’s a constant yo-yo that can cause mental and physical hell. It’s also harder to eat well and maintain energy to exercise when you have too much stress in your body.

Dealing With Stress

Now, the problem that I understand far too well is that most advice about dealing with stress has to do with spending large amounts of money. Some of these horrible tips include: get a weekly massage! Go on vacation! Hire some help! All of them are great ideas, but I choose to also learn how to manage my stress without spending money (so I can kick my student loans in the face).

So, here are my tips to manage stress on the cheap:

1. The 10/10/10 Rule. I cannot remember where I heard this rule, but the basics are simple: you ask yourself if the thing stressing you out at the moment will matter in 10 days, 10 months, and 10 years. While something might matter in 10 days, it won’t matter in 10 years.

2. Focus on the things you do have. I’m not big into being “woo-woo”, but gratitude is serious business. There are always things to be grateful for, even if it’s the fact that you’re alive. List them all out.

3. Get your mind off stress with physical work. When my mind is completely bogged down with stress, it’s hard to have any perspective outside the moment I’m in. This is when I know it’s time to go exercise, clean the house, or do something else like garden. Physically exhaust yourself so you stop thinking for a bit.

4. Go do something for free in your city. Thankfully, I live in downtown Denver, so I have a long list of free things to do around here. When I lived in my smaller town in Michigan, there were still PLENTY of things to do that got me out of the house and my mind off what I was stressed about.

5. Do something that always gets your mind right. For me, it’s watching one of my favorite movies between Gladiator, 300, or something really heavy like Schindler’s List. All of those remind me what’s important and to not worry about the (usually) petty thing I can’t get off my mind.

Learn your body

Overall, it’s important to know what’s going on with your body. Fitness and nutrition are fun, but if your body is not functioning well at the most basic level, it will all come crashing down eventually.

Stay healthy, inside and out.

What are YOUR tips to staying healthy and managing stress?