Train like a CEO for ultimate fitness results

Image credit: .faramarz, flickr

Get to the top of your fitness game by adopting a CEO’s mindset about fitness.

Have you ever noticed that the CEO’s of many of the larger and more successful companies are relatively fit and healthy looking? Rarely will you see large bulging bellies protruding out of fancy suits. “At this level you just don’t see the guys with big guts” confirms one successful (and fit) entrepreneur who travels regularly and meets with the world’s business and political leaders. “Everyone is at the top of their game.”

Is there something that successful CEO’s know about fitness that the rest of the company doesn’t know? Having trained the odd CEO in my fitness career I assure you that they possess no secrets and no, you don’t have to have a fat paycheck to look good and feel great. Here is what I discovered about the CEO’s and their fitness.

For several years I trained clients in a very affluent setting and worked with many extremely successful people including high profile lawyers, leading politicians and successful business leaders. Let me tell you that CEO’s certainly do not know physiology and they are definitely not privy to ‘confidential’ training techniques. In fact many of the superfit CEO’s I got to know while managing this personal training studio actually worked with relatively entry level personal trainers.

After spending hundreds of hours with successful business leaders on the training floor,  I have identified several distinct attitudes toward health and fitness. This is what I have observed about what sets CEO’s apart from the rest of the company (or population for that matter).

CEO’s understand that there is a success formula for everything. CEO’s seek out the formula and follow it. This means schedule adherence. CEO’s rarely cancel their training appointments. If they do they reschedule for later in the day or at least within 24 hours. Anything less than strict adherence means failure.

For example, one CEO reported that he was going on an extended business trip that would see him gone for almost two weeks with stops in multiple countries. I asked him how he planned to maintain his fitness routine while away. His response shocked me. He proceeded to list every workout he would do over the next two weeks. He had every single workout scheduled into his itinerary and he knew what every workout consisted of. On days he had late meetings he planned morning workouts, on stays in hotels without fitness centers he mapped out running routes, on evenings when there were business dinners scheduled, workouts were always scheduled before dinner. Impressive!

The extra mile isn’t really extra, it is the bare minimum. CEO’s bust their butt and give everything they have. They can always find one more rep, they are always up for one more exercise. CEO’s will actually tell you that they have energy remaining and to bump up the intensity or extend the workout.

CEO’s believe that mediocrity in business is only good when the competition is committed to it. CEO’s don’t have mediocre workouts. They consistently work hard and never waste a moment. They are the only ones who will ever ask ‘what’s next?’ instead of asking for a break or taking an extended trip to the water fountain.

CEO’s have focus. Even knowing that a prying New York Times Journalist is waiting for them in their office, or when their client is on the front page of today’s newspaper in a media frenzy, or when their public office just got ransacked by protesters, I have seen CEO’s remain focussed and deliver 100%.

CEO’s put the “I” in their fitness. A CEO will never make excuses for their lack of fitness with a statement that doesn’t involve ‘I’. They hold themselves accountable for their current state of fitness and do not blame their jobs, families, genetics, the economy, etc…

Motivation is intrinsic. CEO’s don’t need rewards or a pat on the back to continue with their fitness program. The benefits of being fit and healthy, and looking great are the reward.


Are you a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) or a CEC (Chief Executive Complainer)? The examples below will help you get into the mindset of a CEO and apply it to your own fitness.

On reaching 12 reps
CEO: “I’ve got nothing left, but I’ll dig deep and find enough strength to blast out 1 more rep”
CEC: “Thank god that is over”
On hydration
CEO: “I carry a water bottle with me everywhere”
CEC: “I just need to go to the water fountain to fill my water bottle” (for the 10th time)
On travel
CEO: “I am going away for two weeks. Can you create 3 workouts for me. One that I can do without equipment on a sailboat, one I can do in a tatami hut, and one I can do at a high elevation”
CEC:“I am going away for two weeks. See ya”
On pain
CEO: “Wow what a great burn, I really killed that muscle”
CEC: -cries-
On optimizing nutrition
CEO: “Which high density green superfood do you recommend that I add to my smoothies so I can maximize my daily intake of life-giving nutrients?”
CEC: “Which is less fattening: beer, wine or the hard stuff?”
On education
CEO: “Aha, so because the tendon of the biceps inserts on the radial tuberosity, that explains why my overhand pull ups are so much more difficult than underhand”
CEC: “I pay you to know the physiology, just tell me what machine to do next”
On kids
CEO: “It is important for me to be fit and active to set a good example for my kids”
CEC: “I am fat and out of shape because I have kids’
On alcohol
CEO: “I know very well that If I cut out my daily glass of wine with dinner, I’d lose those last 5 pounds, but I love my wine”
CEC: “I drink a glass of wine everyday because I am so depressed about gaining 50 pounds”

I hope these examples help bring out your inner CEO!

Happy Training,

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