A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a few of my friends about being healthy and how to accomplish it when you have a loony schedule. We spoke about everything like how-to books, health magazines, and all the different training programs that supposedly ‘work’ from P90X to yoga to cross-fit.
Do what’s sustainable
The point that I brought up during our discussion was to do what’s sustainable.
For example, I think it’s much better to work out 3 times a week consistently, week in and week out, than trying to work out 5 days this week if you know you can’t sustain that sort of schedule long-term due to constraints you know you’ll have.
And I’ve found that failing to reach my workout goals, makes me feel bad, and makes it that much harder to get the drive to work out in the future.
As a founder of a web company, ooomf, there’s a tremendous amount of priority I put on my work because I love it. But, working out and being healthy has always been a major priority for me as well so I’ve continuously experimented with a sustainable health repertoire that I can wrap around my startup schedule. After about a year, here’s where I’m at with my formula for achieving health balance while working in a startup.
Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.
- Leo Babauta, Creator of Zen Habits Click to Tweet
Working out: Be efficient and do what make you feel the best
In High School and University, I used to be able to workout pretty much every day. I played soccer and went to the gym regularly, partly because the gym was right down the street and my schedule was much less intense than it is now.
I’ve realized that in order to keep working out as a regular part of my schedule, I needed to optimize my workouts for 3 things:
2. long-term health benefits
3. how good I feel after
I’ve identified cross-fit training and yoga as the two types of workouts that fit all three of my criteria.
I live about a 20-minute drive from any gym so it’s not optimal for me to make it to a cross-fit gym or yoga studio every day. So instead of getting a membership, I subscribe to the daily deal aggregator Yipit, and watch for yoga or cross-fit deals from gyms nearby or that are on my route to the office.
There’s usually 1 deal a week from a gym or studio that offers cross-fit or yoga and you can usually get a 1 month membership or a certain number of classes for under $30 a month, less than the rate of a YMCA membership.
Another reason I choose yoga and cross-fit is because you can practice both in your own home or outside and without equipment. Most cross-fit and yoga workouts range from 30 minutes to 1 hour so you don’t need to take 2 hours out of your schedule for a commute to a gym and a long workout that is not optimized for efficiency.
Cave Crossfit’s Twitter posts daily cross-fit workouts you can do at home.
Eating right: Prepare food for a week in less than an hour
Figuring out how to eat right while in a startup is one of the toughest challenges for me. Our office is downtown, so the temptation to eat out is always there, and my house is about a 40-minute commute so I can’t run home quick and make something healthy.
It’s also extremely tough to find time to prepare, eat, and clean up after a meal. I often don’t have an hour in the middle of the day to eat a good meal so I looked for ways I could optimize this process.
What I’ve been doing for the last week, is preparing all my meals for the week in bulk on Sundays. The problem with preparing meals in bulk is typically the prep time. Thus, my goal was to prepare 5 meals in less than an hour. I decided that chicken breast, steamed vegetables, and salad would be the best way to eat a healthy, repeatable meal, that wouldn’t take too long to prepare.
It’s only been a week but it’s a relieving feeling to know that when I get home, I don’t need to prepare any food for the day ahead. I end up coming into the office not feeling rushed and ready to start my day off with a clear mind.
I’m sure there are more techniques that I will inevitably come across and improve my current startup health routine. I’m constantly trying to improve because it allows me to enjoy more free time, focus, and clarity in my life.
I’d love to hear what techniques you use to balance your health while running a startup or working a full-time job. Please share in the comments or shoot me an email mikael(at)ooomf.com.
photo cred: jonclegg
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