Small business owners commit long hours, energy and valuable resources into their operations, but many fall into the trap of not eating well, gaining weight and adopting uneven sleep patterns.
Queensland-based wellbeing coach and author Nikki Fogden-Moore says small business owners are at high risk of neglecting their health — and that’s bad for business.
“We’re talking about the exodus of healthy and the incidence of obesity in small business because people are just not looking after themselves,” she told SmartCompany.
“When you are running your own business you have to have a new set of rules — people don’t rethink their health and wellbeing plans, they just talk about diets and fads and 12-week programs. It pays to reboot the mental hard drive and look at integrating your health and fitness as part of your week in a more sustainable manner — choosing healthy food you enjoy, regular amounts of fresh air and conscious active living.”
Fogden-Moore has created a successful business teaching entrepreneurs and business leaders how to care for themselves and coined the catchy term ‘fitpreneuer’.
“The fitpreneur is a new breed of leader,” she explains.
“These are the CEOs, founders and small business owners taking their health and wellbeing as equal order of importance — running their body like their business and their health as their wealth.”
Here, three health-conscious business leaders offer their advice on how to do it all — be a success and ensure your health is in tip-top shape.
Anthony Edmonds, managing director, InvestNow and Implemented Investment Solutions
Edmonds says committing to being physically fit while in his 40s has been a “complete game changer”, and the Wellington, NZ-based business leader now incorporates mountain biking, Crossfit and stand-up surfing in his weekly routine.
“It gives me the energy I need to run a fast-paced, growing businesses,” he told SmartCompany.
“High performing business people often talk about the link between fitness and mental wellbeing. That linkage became obvious to me as soon as I got really fit. Like a lot of business owners, I feel the need to throw myself into things at a million miles an hour and fitness is a constructive way to harness that energy. It’s also one of the best ways to de-stress.”
Edmonds’ top health and wellbeing tips:
- Find people to be active with — knowing they are waiting in the rain with their mountain bikes at 5.45am is a great motivator;
- Find what you love, then get out and do it; and
- Don’t be scared of the dark — exercising at night is fun as well as necessary for anyone with a big schedule.
Pip Spibey-Dodd, chief financial officer, Travelport Locomote
As a professional swimmer in her younger years, Pip Spibey-Dodd is used to sticking to a strict exercise regime. But it doesn’t have to be hard-core, either.
“I find that making time to exercise helps me focus and concentrate,” she says.
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“Even when you have those unavoidable late night or early morning calls, you can always squeeze in a workout — whether it’s a gym set while making dinner or squats while you’re loading the dishwasher.”
She also says eating well is imperative to good health — all it takes is a bit of planning.
“The key is to be prepared and organised,” she says.
“I work out my meals for the week and prepare food the night before. My diet mainly consists of chicken, veggies and hummus.
“I’m a true believer that a healthy body helps to create a healthy mind. The better you eat and the more you exercise, the more energy you have to direct into your work.
Spibey-Dodd’s top health and wellbeing tips:
- Get into an exercise habit;
- Don’t just add to your schedule — replace binge-watching a TV show with a gym session; and
- Take care of your mental health by spending time with family and friends and switching off from work.
Trent Innes, managing director, Xero Australia
A love of marathon running and long distance cycling helps to keep Trent Innes on top of his game mentally and physically — and helps him keep Xero on track, too.
“Whether I’m on the track or doing the day-to-day running of Xero, I’m applying the same mentality,” he says.
“The focus, drive and determination needed to keep pushing on over long distances is similar to what it takes to run a multi-million dollar business — knowing how to pace things, how to push through walls, when to slow down and how to keep momentum going.”
Innes starts his day at 5.30am with a head-clearing run so he can keep up his motivation and energy.
“It’s easy to let your physical health take a back seat when you’re running a business but it’s just as important to prioritise it,” he says.
“You can’t expect to be doing your best work if your health is failing.”
Innes says there’s an easy fix for the old ‘I’m too busy’ excuse for not keeping fit.
“The easiest excuse is to say you don’t have time when the reality is it comes down to prioritisation,” he says.
“Don’t just say you’ll do something at a certain time, block out time in your calendar for it, as you would for meetings or anything else — and commit to it.”
Innes’s top health and wellbeing tips:
- Exercise in groups — it’s great for networking!
- Schedule exercise into your calendar and make a commitment to it; and
- Find an exercise you like — you’re more likely to stick with it.