We are busy professionals. We have client meetings, staff meetings, projects, deadlines, commuting and much more. Our schedules determine how we manage our time. Most busy professionals fail at maintaining a level of health that will enable them to avoid sickness, disease, fatigue and, ultimately, work loss. This is because they do not have a plan and struggle with commitment.
We need to put our health on our calendars. Eating right and exercising should not take a back seat to our business growth. If we don’t invest in our health now we will pay for it later. We make business-related commitments every day. We commit to attend meetings, network to grow our businesses and meet deadlines. We are successful because it is on the calendar.
However, ask any busy professional what they are having for dinner or when they plan to exercise this week and, most likely, you will get a blank stare. Being healthy requires a consistent daily commitment. It all starts with proper nutrition. At least 70 percent of how you look and feel is based on what you eat. Making decisions to eat properly takes time and preparation. A proven strategy for a busy professional to enjoy a healthy way of living is through planning and preparation. You would not wing your next important presentation to a prospect. Use the same tactic when it comes to your own health.
Weekends are a great opportunity to food shop and cook for a few days at a time. At my house we bulk-cook our food on Sundays and that typically lasts until Wednesday night. Then we finish the cooking for the rest of the work week.
Food sources should include a balance of:
- Lean sources of protein
- Healthy fats (nuts and oils)
Regarding exercise, busy professionals spend too much time sitting at their desk or in a conference room throughout the day. This results in poor posture and tight muscles. The first goal of your exercise routine is to get your body into neutral alignment and address muscle imbalances. The right amount of mobility work and the use of a foam roller is a great place to start. You can find examples of both on YouTube.
Don’t neglect strength training, either. Society tends to put too much emphasis on aerobic exercise. Strength training is proven to address many issues affecting the busy professional, including obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and joint pain.
If you have a limited schedule, a circuit strength training program will be most efficient. Circuit training combines two-to-six exercises in an alternating, or circuit, style. This maximizes the effort in a shorter window of time. We recommend three full-body strength training sessions per week that include the larger muscles. The constant movement keeps the heart rate elevated, allowing you to get the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic-style training. Additional benefits of circuit strength training include: fat loss, lean muscle tissue, stronger bones and improved metabolism.
I recommend finishing with a higher-intensity exercise, which results in a prolonged calorie burn. This is a very efficient strategy for weight loss. This brief, higher-intensity exercise will slow the body’s ability to return to a rested state. The result is you burn more calories far beyond your exercise session. Some studies show that this delay could last up to 36 hours after you completed your exercise session.
For example, set a treadmill at a high incline then walk for one-to-two minutes (or until you are out of breath). Then lower the treadmill to the flat position and walk until you recover your breath and are ready to go again. Repeat this until 10 minutes are up.
Being healthy is a challenge. But if you make the commitment and treat it like all the other commitments on your calendar, you are one step closer to making it work.