Becoming A Healthy Leader
With everything on a leader’s plate, staying healthy as a leader sometimes falls by the wayside. Thoughts of “How do I fit exercise into my daily routine” to “I can’t do a lot of exercises because I’m not in shape” fill your mind. You’re lost on where to start and where to go when you’re looking to become healthy.
The physical strength needed to get started exercising can seem overwhelming. The time it takes to maintain your physical health. And the repetition… These can all get to you as you begin your healthy leader journey.
Yet you can do it. I know you can because I’ve done it. I want to share with you a few of the things I do to stay healthy as a leader.
If you begin to implement and adapt my healthy strategies, you will find yourself becoming healthier and better able to take on the day.
Getting And Staying Healthy As A Leader
Find exercises you enjoy:
This is probably the most important thing you can do as you seek to become healthier. You have to find an exercise or exercise regimen you enjoy.
If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you won’t stick with it.
A couple of exercises/exercise programs I’d suggest you try are:
Try out multiple exercises and see which ones resonate with you. When you’ve found a couple that work, begin working them into your schedule. Find ways to make them a habit and get healthy!
Change your eating habits:
Oh boy, I think I’m going to touch on a hot-button issue here. Our eating habits can make or break our attempts at getting and staying healthy. The choices you make in your food consumption determines the direction you will go.
Eating healthy has been a struggle for me. I love food. And food loves me.
This doesn’t mean I have to give into my desires. No, I can choose what I eat, how much I eat, and when I eat. You can too.
Eating an extra large fully loaded deluxe pizza from your favorite pizza joint (mine is Mr. Scribbs) and then following it up with 3 cans of Pepsi at 1 AM in the morning doesn’t help you in your goal to get healthy. Instead, it hinders your journey. You set yourself back by the choices you make.
Instead of continuing your unhealthy eating habits, change the way you eat. Cut back on the amount of food you consume. Change the kinds of foods you eat (especially if your typical choice of food is extremely unhealthy). Stop eating after 7 or 8 PM. Make wise choices with what you do eat.
Creating guidelines around your food will help you lose weight and become healthier. Choose wisely and you will see results.
Schedule your exercise:
Staying a healthy leader is difficult because your schedule is packed. From meetings (gosh, I hate those meetings) to family obligations to volunteer commitments, your days are booked full.
Getting healthy requires a commitment, though. You have to be willing to schedule in time for exercise. When you begin to see exercise as an investment in yourself, you begin to see why you need to schedule your time to exercise.
Sticking to an exercise schedule can be difficult, even when you have it on the calendar. An unknown meeting will pop up or a family emergency will take the place of your scheduled time to exercise. Don’t beat yourself up over this. Rather, accept the fact you missed your time to exercise and then choose one of two things:
Skip the exercise until the next time it is scheduled
Find an open space on your calendar and make up for the missed exercise time
Doing these two things will help you alleviate the guilt of missing your scheduled time and still keep you on track. I know, I’ve done this multiple times and it helps.
Very few people have run a full marathon (26.2 miles) without training. They begin to train by running a quarter mile. Then they move up to a half mile. Eventually working up to their first 5K, 10K, 25K, and finally marathon distance.
Don’t think you have to deadlift 300lbs as you start. Or run that marathon distance. Or swim 5 miles…
You have to start small to get and stay healthy. Start with a lap around your block, a 50lb deadlift, or a 5-minute paddle in the lake.
Start small so you can become healthy.
Don’t give up:
A mistake many people make on their journey to healthiness is to give up when things get tough. Yeah, running a 5K will suck the wind out of you. You’re going to hurt after running or lifting weights.
That’s part of the path to becoming healthy. You hurt because your body and muscles aren’t used to being used.
The more you use your muscles, the more you exercise, the easier the exercises will become. Don’t give up because it’s difficult. Keep pushing forward and watch your health improve and the exercises become easier.
Do what you can, when you can:
We all know people are busy. That’s one of the reasons people don’t exercise and fail to become healthy. The truth is, you can do things that will benefit your health without taking up a lot of time.
A couple of things I’ve done to help me as I’ve sought to become healthier is:
Whenever I go to the bathroom, I will do 10-20 jumping jacks in the bathroom.
If I can’t run a 5K distance, I’ll run one mile or two. Whatever I can get in.
On the doorframe of our kitchen is an Iron Gym pull-up bar. It’s there to remind me to take 30 seconds and do a few pull-ups.
Doing small things when you can will go a long way to improving your health. You’ll soon discover you can move from 5 pull-ups in 30 seconds to 7 then to 10. Small, incremental actions will drastically improve your life. Find ways to implement quick bursts of exercise into your routine!
Find a support person:
Leadership is lonely. So is exercise, if you try to go at it alone. Find a partner to exercise with.
Ask your friends if anyone is looking for a workout buddy. Recruit people from to run a half marathon and train together. Invite your spouse to be a partner in your fitness journey (Bonus: you get to spend extra time with your spouse).
I’ve done a couple of these. When I ran my half marathon, I partnered with friends from church. We ran on the weekends together and ran the half marathon as a team. I’ve also found a running partner with my Vizsla, Lok.
My dog loves hitting the trails and running. He knows the days we’re supposed to go running and he reminds me of it. Not only that, he encourages me by being so excited to get outside and move.
Find someone or something to support you in your exercise routine. Getting people to rally around you will help you keep up with the routine and stay healthy.
Make time for rest:
With all the talk of exercising, you have to remember your body also needs time to rest. You will burn yourself out mentally and physically if you fail to listen to your body and rest.
Resting will allow your body to recover from the physical abuse it takes as your feet hit the pavement, your muscles tear as you lift heavier weights, or the fatigue you feel from over-exercising.
Make time to rest and heal. Your body will thank you for the rest and so will your mind.