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.
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.