Forbes Mentions Fitdigits: 5 Reasons Why Good Fitness Makes for Better Entrepreneurial Leadership

by Brent Gleeson, Contributor
Forbes

Fitness has always been a part of my life. From swimming in high school, playing rugby in college, to the relentless focus on fitness as a Navy SEAL, I have always prioritized health and wellness in order to stay competitive in everything I do. I passionately believe being healthy and physically fit has a direct correlation to happiness and success, whatever your personal definition of that may be.

Before my SEAL training began, I kept hearing that BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) is mostly mental. I understand why people said that because generally guys quit early on because of the extreme mental and emotional stress placed on the students, not to mention being constantly cold and wet. So, my philosophy in preparing for the toughest special operations training in the world was to let my fitness level be the last thing I had to worry about. I knew there would be plenty of other challenges to face. After quitting my finance job in Dallas, I moved to Crested Butte, CO. for three months to train at an altitude of 10,000 feet. The extreme training paid off. Fitness was never an issue for me during BUD/s.

The Officers in any SEAL training class are expected to lead from the front, literally. Officers need to motivate their classmates by being in even greater physical condition that the enlisted students. This is not always the case, of course, but I found it generally to be true. Fitness is part of the SEAL culture and an essential ingredient for mission success. Similarly, in a fast paced entrepreneurial organization, I believe a good leader must maintain mental and physical wellness in order to effectively drive the business forward and inspire the team.

I strongly believe that a fit leader is a better leader, and here are the five reasons why:

  1. Energy and Productivity: Maintaining a regular exercise routine will give you more energy throughout the day. Leading a growing company is tough enough. Make sure you have the energy to do so effectively. As a leader when you have more energy, you are more likely to face the challenges of the day aggressively and confidently.
  2. Confidence and Creativity: A fit leader will have more confidence and solve problems more creatively. Studies show that our cognitive ability to be creative increases with even moderate levels of exercise. Whenever I have a speaking engagement or important presentation, I make sure to exercise that day prior to the event.
  3. Facing Challenges: In SEAL training you are constantly pushed beyond your pain threshold, so much so that your “comfort zone” takes on a whole new definition. I follow the same theory when training by always pushing myself beyond my existing comfort zone. Doing so increases your stamina and mental ability to endure physical and mental suffering. As a business leader, you have to be able to face tough challenges every day while maintaining mental focus on priorities.
  4. Mental Wellness: Exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress because it boosts your brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters called endorphins. Also, by solely focusing on your body’s motions for a period of time, you focus less on the day’s stresses, at least for a while. According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, exercise also reduces symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, while also improving sleeping patterns.
  5. Influence: If all this is true for the leader of an organization, it must be true for the whole team, right? It is widely believed that healthy employees are happier and more productive. A fit workforce is also less likely to get sick; thereby, improving attendance and reducing healthcare costs. In this article, Fitdigits provides some great reasons why a healthy workforce will improve the bottom line. This, of course, takes us back to leading by example. You can’t expect to foster a culture of fitness unless you, as the leader, are physically fit and promote overall wellness. For example, I occaisionally run boot camps for team members and IMI’s Culture Club holds recess every Thursday afternoon. My business partner and I specifically chose our new office building because it has a great gym right downstairs. Our team has even held several “Biggest Loser” contests. Fitness permeates our culture.

My favorite quote from the Navy SEAL Creed is about always being physically and mentally prepared and never quitting. This paragraph is what drove me in combat and what pushes me forward every day in the chaotic environment of a growing business:

“I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.”

As a business leader what are you currently doing to ensure a happy, healthy, and productive workforce? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Click to comment.

The 10-Minute Workout, Times Three by Gretchen Reynolds

There is plenty of research that proves exercise is good for lowering blood pressure but for some people, exercising the full 30 minutes consecutively is not so easy. If you have little time to exercise, try this alternative.

The New York Times is reporting that new research shows three 10 minute sessions at 75% of your maxHR is actually more effective at lowering your blood pressure and keeping you healthy than one 30 minute session per day. It’s not only more effective physiologically, exercisers seem more willing to stick to 3 sessions per day vs 1.

Does it Really Work?
Recently, between work schedules and the hectic summer camp schedule (moms, you know exactly what I’m talking about!), it’s become harder than ever to exercise. So, each morning before camps and work, I take a quick run/walk around my block. It takes me about 10 minutes to complete the loop. When I finish, I’m warmed up but not sweaty. I feel great, too. I do the same at lunch and one more time around 3pm. When the kids are back in school, I look forward to having more time for exercise. Until then, breaking it up into multiple sessions per day has been a great back-up and motivates me to keep it going. And my blood pressure is a healthy 109/67. Try it. Let us know if it works for you.

Don’t forget to track your heart rate with Fitdigits. iPhone | Android

Fitdigits Takes Personalized Cardio Fitness to a High-Tech Level by Alex Kacik, Noozhawk

By Alex Kacik, Noozhawk Business Writer | @NoozhawkBiz | Published on 06.16.2012 | Full Article

At one time, Michael Williams was a fit marathon runner. Over the course of several years, however, he grew to be about 50 pounds overweight while relying on an array of medications to treat high cholesterol, asthma, acid reflux and high blood pressure.

But a CBS series on obesity flipped a switch for him. The last segment concluded that the disease is socially contagious and sometimes, he said, there’s not a lot a person can do about it.

“That infuriated me,” he said. “I got up from the couch, ran to the bathroom and threw my inhaler in the trash. I got a heart-rate monitor, blood-pressure cuff and a weight scale. I’m a recovering CPA so I tracked all this stuff in Excel and figured out what caloric burn rate I needed to maintain to stay on my plan to lose 50 pounds in seven months.”

The hardest part wasn’t the exercise, it was tracking it, he said. So Williams started to implement a system that eventually turned into Fitdigits, a cloud-based data aggregation service that customizes workouts.

“It occurred to me that I had a running watch, the elliptical computer at the gym, a bike computer, a blood-pressure cuff, a weight scale and a heart monitor, and they were all these disparate computing devices,” he said. “If I bring all of that to one place and track all that automatically for people, then I could provide people a dashboard for healthy living.”

Read the full article at: http://www.noozhawk.com/article/061612_fitdigits_cardio_fitness/

Fitdigits president and CEO Dean Hovey discusses the company’s cloud-based fitness data aggregation service at a Santa Barbara Mobile Meetup at the Synergy Business & Technology Center.

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

We love this video and the message behind it. Thank you, Dr. Mike Evans, for creating a wonderfully informational and entertaining video that communicates the message that exercise and walking is not only necessary, it’s good for you!