As a founder, I’ve always found it impossible to exercise.
You’re working twelve hours a day. There’s a family waiting for you at home. How do you possibly find the time to workout?
Lately, I’ve found that the only way I exercise is by following a plan. It’s what I do all day every day at my startup. Extending that strategy to exercise works well.
My primary method of exercise is on a bike. I have a set number of miles I ride four times a week. I ride, put the miles I rode on paper, and it holds me accountable. Makes me feel great, and is a great release for when I’m depressed about startup life / being a founder.
I’m curious about how other startup founders find the time to exercise. So, I used Terkel to ask them. Here’s what they had to say.
How Do Startup Founders Exercise?
From working out any way you can to walking outside for ideas, here are 12 answers to the question, "How do you exercise as a startup founder who works insane hours?"
- Get It in Where You Can
- Make Exercise a Top Priority
- Use Exercise as a Creative Outlet to Destress
- Take Online Fitness Classes
- Chat and Walk
- MMA Keeps Me Mentally Fit
- Create and Follow a Consistent Routine
- Walk Around the Building and Do Chair-Crunches
- Make Working Out a Critical Task
- Go for a Run Early in the Morning
- Use a Stationary Desk-Bike
- Hike To Get Business Ideas
Get It in Where You Can
Get every step that you can! Always take the stairs and skip every elevator. If you can walk or bike to work, do so. Stand rather than sit when working, especially during phone calls. Take a walk at lunchtime and stretch in between long bouts at your desk. Your body will thank you.
Chief Marketing Officer, Dymapak
Make Exercise a Top Priority
As a startup founder with a demanding schedule, I make exercising a top concern to create time for it no matter how busy I get. Making exercise a top priority ensures you're taking care of your physical and mental well-being.
To do this, you can carve out dedicated time in your day for exercise, treat it as a critical part of your daily routine, or set it as an essential task in your calendar. Finding a workout routine that works for you and fits your schedule is key.
Whether it's a morning yoga class, a mid-day run, or an evening weightlifting session, stick to it and commit to making exercise a part of your daily life.
By doing so, you'll benefit from reduced stress, improved mental clarity, and increased productivity, which can ultimately help you excel in your startup journey.
Use Exercise as a Creative Outlet to Destress
Exercising as a startup founder can be pretty difficult, especially with working insane amounts of hours to build up a business. I use exercise as a creative outlet to release stress and make time for it, anyway. This can be useful for businesses to use as a creative outlet since it releases endorphins, which can make you feel good and reduce stress.
Exercise might help you think of creative solutions because working long hours on projects can cause a downturn in creativity. Overall, it amazes me how many original ideas have struck me when out on these lengthy runs alone with my thoughts. It not only increases your physical stamina, so you can work 18 to 20 hours a day and tour the world, but it also stimulates your intellect and your thinking.
Take Online Fitness Classes
Online fitness classes offer a practical solution for startup founders who want to maintain their fitness. The ability to join from home eliminates the need to travel or carve out time for a gym. Plus, these classes allow for customization based on lifestyle, affordability, and personal goals, regardless of fitness level.
Whether the goal is to build muscle or simply stay active, online fitness classes are a cost-effective way for busy startup founders to maintain fitness without compromising much time or money.
Chat and Walk
Walk around the office or house while you work. As a startup founder, much of your day involves making and returning phone calls. If it isn't, it should be, as you make connections over the phone! Emails are easier to ignore.
While you chat on your cell, take a stroll, and do so often. Your circulation and energy levels will improve when you get moving!
MMA Keeps Me Mentally Fit
As an AI startup founder with insane work hours, I prioritize exercise by going to the gym three times a week. However, it wasn't really enough for me. I recently found that MMA training helps me stay mentally fit and focused better than the gym.
With three MMA training per week and two days at the gym, I can push for long hours without feeling burnout anymore.
Create and Follow a Consistent Routine
As a startup founder who works insane hours, I had to create a routine to make sure I could get some physical activity and exercise during the day. Many successful business people have the practice of developing a routine, besides getting up early to work out.
Start simple while creating your own routine and progressively incorporate new healthy habits. Exercise shouldn't be difficult to fit into your schedule, according to Travis Johnson, co-founder of Food Junky, in his essay "An Entrepreneur's Fight to Stay Healthy."
Making minor changes every day will help you become more active. These changes are simple to make and add up significantly. Exercise studies have shown that it takes approximately 66 days to get accustomed to your routine. You can build a healthy habit that can do wonders for the well-being of yourself and your company in a little over two months. What's holding you back? Start right now.
Walk Around the Building and Do Chair-Crunches
I know this sounds silly, but the building we have for our SaaS is HUGE. I've timed it with my pedometer, and it's about 1,500 steps round trip.
I have a to-do list to complete at least 4-8 cycles of the building daily, followed up by 50-100 crunches/planks in my office chair and about 10 full stretches. They say sitting is the new smoking—stamp it out with this routine!
Make Working Out a Critical Task
As a startup founder, I often work very long hours, sometimes wrapping up work at 10 PM or even at midnight. My approach to exercising consistently is looking at exercise as a non-negotiable task.
When you're overwhelmed with work, you always start looking for different tasks or activities you can cancel to get more rest or downtime. And often enough, you end up canceling your workout.
To avoid this, I like to look at exercise as a critical task. Working out regularly is as important for my business as, for example, not missing sales calls.
If I slack and miss workouts, it will eventually affect my health, which will affect my productivity. So, I try to go to the gym about 5-6 days a week every morning or late after work.
Go for a Run Early in the Morning
As a founder and CEO, it's important for me to prioritize my health and wellness, and one way I do that is by incorporating exercise into my daily routine. Starting my day with a run is a great way to set a positive tone for the rest of the day! Running proves to reduce stress and improve mood. In addition, it helps me to feel more focused and energized throughout the challenging day.
Another benefit is that I get to take my Border Collie with me! This allows me to get in some exercise while spending quality time with my furry friend and helps me to stay motivated to continue with my running routine.
Use a Stationary Desk-Bike
We human beings are not meant to live a sedentary lifestyle. Without regular exercise, our bodies atrophy, resulting in myriad physical and mental health problems. However, as a company founder, time for exercise is in precious little supply, with work eating up almost every spare hour of the day.
A stationary desk bike allows me to continue working while simultaneously performing much-needed cardiovascular exercise. I simply place my laptop onto the stand and pedal away while I continue working. When training at a moderate intensity, my productivity barely drops at all, and I can even take calls without interference.
Most health agencies recommend at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise, and a desk bike allows me to get more than double that without harming my workload. Investing in a desk bike is a smart decision, as it improves your time, health, and productivity all at once.
Hike to Get Business Ideas
I hike, which is not only great exercise, but it's also meditative. It's also when I get all the best ideas for my business—to where I can't afford to hike. When I'm hiking, a solution to a problem that I haven't been able to solve all week will magically come to me. Hiking as exercise has been the key to my success, so I make it a priority.
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